Selena Gomez, STARS DANCE (Target Version)

Selena Gomez returns to the music scene (but without her band, The Scene) with her latest album, Stars Dance.

"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.
Stars Dance is fluff -- but it's fun fluff.  The writing is trite (all about romance and partying (and the two together)) but Selena has a pleasant voice (even if it gets a lot of remixing here) and the songs are enjoyable and forgettable.  Also, the Target version (disclaimer: I work for Target -- but I play for keeps!) has two bonus songs and two exclusive songs.  Stars Dance is a nice little pop album.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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