Selena Gomez, STARS DANCE (Target Version)
"Birthday," the opening song on Stars Dance, is a mix of youngish elements (a sing-song delivery combined with hand claps) and some very sexual moaning -- and that's the balance Selena goes for through the whole album. Unlike her last album, When the Stars Go Down, the singer wants to shed her G-rated Disney persona -- but she doesn't want to scare off the parents of her young fans (or cause enough controversy to get booted from the radio). So there are some risque lyrics ("'cause we fit/perfectly/when you lay/over me") and talk of staying together all night and into the day -- but nothing too overtly sexual.
The feel of the music is much simpler: party! The songs all have a upbeat tempo (even the breakup songs "Forget Forever" and "Love Will Remember"), and there's plenty of remixing and synthesizers going on here (which explains why her former band is effectively gone). There are touches of different styles of music scattered through the album -- Middle Eastern on "Come & Get It," dubstep on "Slow Down," even a little Jamaican for "Like a Champion" -- but this is radio-friendly music for listeners who want to party with friends at a club while feeling older for staying up late.
Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch