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Stars Dance (album)

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I want to do different things for this album. I want to work with different types of music.

– Selena on the album

Stars Dance
Stars Dnce cover art
Information
Released

July 23, 2013

Recorded

2012-2013

Genre

Electronic, pop, dance-pop

Length

38:59

Label

Hollywood Records

Format

CD & digital download

Singles from Stars Dance (album)
Come & Get It (released April 8, 2013)
Slow Down (released August 13, 2013)

Stars Dance[1] is the fourth studio album by American singer and actress Selena Gomez. The album serves as her solo debut, with Gomez having previously released material as part of Selena Gomez & the Scene. Stars Dance was released through Hollywood Records on July 23, 2013. The album was influenced by artists such as Britney Spears, and features elements of pop and dance music. Lyrically, the album features songs that focus on love and relationships, namely Gomez's highly publicized relationship with pop singer Justin Bieber. Gomez has stated that she will take a musical hiatus following the release of the album, opting to focus on her acting career.[2]

The album has thus far spawned two singles. "Come & Get It" was released as the album's lead single in April 2013. The single debuted at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, before rising to it's peak of number 6 on the chart. "Come & Get It" became her first Top 10 hit on the chart. "Slow Down", a dubstep influenced song, was released as the album's second single on June 3. Gomez has promoted the album through various high profile performances, including the Billboard Music Awards and the MTV Movie Awards.[3]

Background

Following the success of her acting career through Disney Channel, Gomez signed a record deal with Hollywood Records on July 22, 2008, her sixteenth birthday. This followed the minor success of her promotional singles for various film soundtracks. Gomez initially formed her own band, known as The Scene, though a dispute with her record label led to the band being known as Selena Gomez & the Scene. Their debut album, Kiss & Tell, was released in 2009 to commercial success. The album's second single, "Naturally", was certified Platinum in both the United States and Canada. Their second album, A Year Without Rain, was released in 2010 to a similar success. It spawned two singles, both of which entered the Top 40 on the Hot 100 chart in the United States, with the latter receiving a Gold certification in Australia. In 2011, the group released their third studio album When the Sun Goes Down. The album spawned the single "Love You Like a Love Song", which was later certified 4x Platinum in the United States.

Following their success, Gomez announced that the band was on hiatus and that they would not release a new album in 2012.[4] This was later reaffirmed as Gomez announced on her Facebook page that she was taking a break from music in order to focus on her acting career, writing "My band and I are going our separate ways for a while. This year is all about films and acting and I want my band to play music wherever with whoever. We will be back, but it will be a good while." After spending the majority of the year working on film projects, Selena began recording for the album in October 2012. She later confirmed the new album during an interview on Radio Disney that same month. Ryan Seacrest later reported that Gomez was working on her band's fourth studio album, though Gomez later revealed that she was working on her solo debut. In March 2013, Gomez confirmed that the album's lead single would be released the following month, and that the album would follow that summer. On April 15, 2013 Gomez confirmed that she would be embarking on her first world tour, known as the Stars Dance Tour.[5] Gomez officially confirmed on June 3 that the album would be titled Stars Dance, and also revealed the album's track listing and cover art.[6] On July 18, 2013, Gomez said that the title of the album was Stars Dance because the album was very "fun."

Development

On her return to music, Gomez stated "I miss it. I want to be able to write about things I’ve never talked about before and tell a story with this album, because I’ve never actually had time to go in and do that." For the album, Gomez worked with production team The Cataracs, as well as Norwegian production team StarGate. Gomez also worked with Rock Mafia on numerous tracks on the album, having previously worked with them on previous singles with The Scene. For Stars Dance, Gomez attempted to have more creative control over her music, stating "It’s definitely the hardest I have ever worked on a record, that’s for sure. I wanted to have more creative control over the album’s direction." Jason Evigan, who worked with Gomez on the album, said "She's not a little girl anymore. She wants to be like that and be respected like the great pop artists out there [...] And I think she is. I think this album is really gonna blossom her into a new realm of electronic pop dance artist." Prior to the album's release, Gomez announced she would be taking a musical hiatus after Stars Dance, commenting "I've been saying that I worked really hard on this record and I feel like it might be my last one for a while [...] I definitely love acting and I love film and I don't feel like I've done enough of that."[7]

Following the album's announcement, numerous sources began claiming that the majority of the album was written about Gomez's relationship with Justin Bieber. These rumors continued to rise in popularity following the release of "Come & Get It". These rumors prompted Gomez to confirm that the song was not about Bieber. She later confirmed, however, that the song "Love Will Remember" was about her relationship with Bieber. She later stated the song was "the most personal track on the record", and later added "I think it’s a sweet way of releasing it. It’s not an aggressive approach to what people are probably expecting. I’m sure he’ll love it too." The song "Birthday" was the first song recorded for the album. Gomez has listed "Forget Forever" as one of her favorite songs on the album, and said "It’s a really beautiful song. It has meaning behind it and it was a really special time in the studio. I got to be with the writers and just enjoy being in that moment. That was a really fun emotional song for me to sing but then I just kind of wanted to dance after I released it because it felt like I got to release this feeling that I had and it’s a beautiful song." She later spoke of "Forget Forever" by stating "It’s forgetting all the troubles, about the past, just enjoying everything else." Recording artist Jennifer Lopez wanted to record the song "Save the Day" for her 2013 album, however, failed to get it from Gomez. "Come & Get It" was initially recorded by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna for her sixth studio album, however, she decided against using the song.

Composition

Jason Evigan said of the album's musical style, "She's got some really cool like ethnic influence, kind of tribally dance drums and stuff like that." Gomez has listed pop singer Britney Spears as one of the album's biggest influences, and later cited both Spears and Janet Jackson as influences. She later listed dubstep producer Skrillex as an influence to the album, with him having previously worked on the soundtrack for Gomez's film Spring Breakers. She later stated "Doing Spring Breakers was really fun, because Skrillex and Cliff Martinez did the soundtrack, and [Skrillex] kind of inspired me with a baby dubstep, because I have a few songs that have that." Gomez has since also listed Taylor Swift as an influence on the album. Evigan said of the album's musical style, "She's got some really cool like ethnic influence, kind of tribally dance drums and stuff like that." The album's title track was described by Gomez as being "kind of sensual", while "Like a Champion" is said to feature Spanish and reggae influences. When talking about the song "Save the Day", Gomez stated "Do you ever have moments where you don’t ever want them to end? I’ve had those moments. It’s about saving those moments and never wanting it to go away." The song "Write Your Name" is about the feeling of falling in love. Gomez described "BEAT." by saying "The song is cool and the lyrics are great, but it was more, 'I can't wait to perform this song onstage because I love the way I feel when I hear this song.' It's just dope." Gomez later stated that "Undercover" was her favorite song on the album, commenting "I've never had the confidence to do different licks and melody changes. I messed up a lot [while recording] that one." The album's lead single, "Come & Get It", has been described as featuring "Bollywood" influences, as well as reggae music. On-air personality Peter Dee noted that the song featured various electro-pop elements. "Slow Down" is noted as featuring various dubstep influences, while the song's lyrics speak of taking a relationship slowly rather than rushing into things.

Critical reception

Upon its release, Stars Dance received mixed reviews from music critics. Positive remarks went toward the overall production of the album, as well as its lyrics. Mixed-to-unfavorable reviews went towards Gomez's vocals and her inability to create her own musical identity; she was compared to singer Rihanna on several occasions. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 58, which indicates "mixed or average reviews". Tina Roumeliotis from Infectious Magazine gave the album a positive review, calling it "better than ever", praising her dance ready productions. She concluded with "Stars Dance exceeded my expectations greatly and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!". Tim Sendra from Allmusic awarded the album three-and-a-half stars out of five. As he highlighted "Slow Down", "Save the Day" and "Undercover" as highlights, he said "Selena's reliably string vocals and the variety of sounds, it adds up to be another fine entry in her catalog and just another example of why Selena Gomez is one of the best pop stars making music in 2013." Stephen Unwin from Express.co.uk compared the new effort to Vanessa Hudgens and said "Both [Gomez and Hudgens] have now turned their attention to themes of a more adult nature, this new album of Selena's being one of them and she's just about pulled it off." First Stop News reacted positively to the album, calling it "inventive" and praising Gomez for her transition to a "unique and mature sound" that would attract new listeners and was "musically relevant", however stated that Gomez's vocals were generally unimpressive.

Two Guardian reviews were issued. The first, observed by Kitty Empire, awarded the album three stars out of five. Conversely, the second Guardian review, observed by Hermione Hoby, was mixed and awarded it two stars out of five. She clarified that "if she really wants to be considered a grown-up pop star, Selena Gomez is going to have to find some better hit-makers." She compared the work, including "Like a Champion", towards Rihanna. August Brown from the LA Times found out that the album was "the kind of album one makes in 2013 if you want to keep the pop sugar of the Disney tween cabal but mix in some broken glass and a club bathroom nosebleed. Its productions are rooted in today's pop-EDM default mode [...]" Natalie Palmer from Entertainmentwise took perspective of other critics and commentators, saying the album should have been praised for "trying something new." She discussed "Stars Dance isn’t what you would expect from a girl who was once a Disney princess. Many often go for the bubblegum pop or the angry rock chick but the 21-year-old has opted for an edgier genre and a unique sound." Matthew Horton from Virgin Media awarded the album two stars. He criticized her lack of personality in most songs and felt her vocal abilities on this particular "doesn't help." He concluded saying "It's all too identikit, could be anyone with a grasp of average dance-pop". Simon Price from The Independent awarded one star out of the five, criticizing the lack of effort saying that "Even given these facts, it's a pop record, which means one killer track would redeem everything. Predictably enough, it never comes." Ron Harris from The Huffington Post felt the album didn't live up to expectations, citing her as an "vibrant young woman of Disney pedigree simply punched the clock and worked through an already cooked musical plot foisted upon her. Gomez might be an incredibly talented and interesting person with much to offer artistically, but we'll never find out at this rate." He also pointed out that the album had less personality than her previous records with The Scene.

Singles

The album's lead single, "Come & Get It", was released on April 8, 2013. The single went on to become Gomez's most successful single to date, peaking inside the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian Hot 100. The music video premiered on MTV on May 7, and was directed by Anthony Mandler. "Slow Down", the album's second single, was released on August 13.

Track listing

Title Writers Length
"Birthday" Crista Russo, Mike Del Rio, Jacob Kasher Hindlin 3:20
"Slow Down" Lindy Robbins, Julia Michaels, Niles Hollowell-Dhar, David Kuncio, Freddy Wexler 3:30
"Stars Dance" Antonina Armato, Tim James, Adam Schmalholz 3:37
"Like a Champion" Daniel James, Leah Haywood, Peter Thomas, Bebe Rexha, Mark Myrie, Leroy Sibbles 2:55
"Come & Get It" Ester Dean, M.S. Eriksen, T.E. Hermansen 3:51
"Forget Forever" Jason Evigan, Clarence Coffee, Alexander Izquierdo, Jordan Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax 4:11
"Save the Day" Mitch Allan, Evigan, Livvi Franc 3:55
"B.E.A.T." Wexler, Jai Marlon, Heather Jeanette Miley 3:04
"Write Your Name" D. James, Haywood, Arnthor Birgisson 3:16
"Undercover" Hollowell-Dhar, Robbins, Michaels, Rome Ramirez 3:53
"Love Will Remember" Armato, Desmond Child, David Jost, T. James 3:30

Bonus tracks

Title Writer Length
"Nobody Does It Like You" Selena Gomez, Toby Gad, Robbins 3:56
"Music Feels Better" Haywood, D. James, Jeremy Coleman, Gomez 3:10
"Lover in Me" D. James, Haywood, Brian Lee, Gomez, Stuart Crichton 3:27
"I Like It That Way" Joshua Coleman, Hindlin, Rickard Göransson, Fransisca Hall, Alexander Castillo Vasquez 4:11

Trivia

  • It has been reported that Justin Bieber has written a song for Selena for this album.[8]
  • Selena has noted Taylor Swift for one of the album's influences.[9]
  • Selena said that her album finished production and is ready to hit shelves.[10]
  • People speculated Selena working on a music video for the albums' first single.[11] but Selena told her fans that she was not working to make a music video, it was just a photoshoot she was working on.[12]
  • Selena described the album as a "fun pop record".[13]
  • Selena Gomez announced that she is not working with her band The Scene with this album.[14]
  • Selena said that this album has a "little bit more melody" than her past albums.
  • Selena asked her fans if them wanted to hear album details about this album, hinting that she is going to announce the release date and track listing.[15]

References

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