Love You like a Love Song is a song by American recording group, Selena Gomez & the Scene recorded for their third studio album, When the Sun Goes Down (2011). It was released as the second single from the album internationally. The song was released for digital download on June 17, 2011 and serviced to mainstream radios on August 17, 2011 in the United States, through Hollywood Records.
It was written by Antonina Armato and Tim James while both receive production credits under the stage-name Rock Mafia, together with Paul Palmer. The song, according to Gomez, was meant to sound different from her previous material, achieving a "high fashion" sound. "Love You Like a Love Song" is a midtempo electropop song with a eurodisco rhythm. The lyrics deal with a relationship in its primary stage.
"Love You Like a Love Song" was a success in the North American territories, peaking at number twenty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on the Canadian Hot 100. It stands as the band's most successful single in the United States, lasting the longest on the chart, selling more than two million copies and earning a double-platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song failed to mimic that success in international territories, peaking inside the lower end of the top fifty on several singles charts. It however peaked at number fourteen in Belgium and earned gold certifications in Australia and Sweden.
The music video for "Love You Like a Love Song" was directed by Geremy Jasper and Georgie Greville. It features Gomez performing the song at a Japanese karaoke bar while scenes of the band performing in different settings are intercut through the video. The video received controversy for the use of paint, later proven to be non-toxic, on the horse, pointed out by American singer Pink. Despite the use of non-toxic paint and supervision by the Humane Society, the scenes with the horses were removed in the final edit. As of 2012, the song has sold over 2 million copies in the United States.
Background, release and composition
"Love You Like a Love Song" was written and produced by Antonina Armato and Tim James, while they are credited under the stage-name Rock Mafia for the production. Armato and James have collaborated on The Scene's previous songs including "Naturally" and "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" (Kiss & Tell, 2009). A month after the release of "Who Says", there was already talk of a release of a new single, to be called "Love You Like a Song", a rumor that arose when the provisional name of the third studio album was still Otherside. In April 30, 2011, the production/songwriting duo, through Twitter, 'confirmed' that "Love You Like a Song" was not correct and that the correct name of the song is "Love You Like a Love Song" or "Lovesong". In May, the official name of the song, "Love You Like a Love Song", was confirmed. Armato and James collaborated with Paul Palmer on the song's mix, which was orchestrated at Rock Mafia Studios in Santa Monica, California, while Steve Hammons serves as the mix engineer. Hammons and Ross Hogarth were signed as the song's engineers, while Adam Comstock serves as the second engineer. Brooke Adams performed background vocals with Armato and James. Tim Pierce contributed guitars. The song was then digitally edited by James and Nigel Lundemo.
In an interview with Billboard, Gomez described as a "one of those tracks that's addictive because it's kind of repetitive in the best way. It's one of those songs that you can't get out of your head." In an interview with another publication, Gomez explained what she expected from the record: "This song is fun and I wanted it to be really high fashion and different and I think we have accomplished that. It's basically talking about how crazy you are about someone whenever it's the beginning. It's the honeymoon stage if you will." "Love You Like a Love Song" was released as the second single from When the Sun Goes Down (2011), after the international success of "Who Says", on June 17, 2011 through digital distribution. The song was serviced to contemporary hit radio airplay on August 16, 2011 in the United States. The song was also featured on Just Dance 4. "Love You like a Love Song" is a midtempo electropop song that incorporates a euro disco rhythm and pulsing beats, According to the digital music sheet published at Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Group, the song is written in the key of C ♯ minor. The song is set in common time and moves through a moderate tempo, having a time signature of 117 beats per minute. Gomez's vocals range from a low register of E3 to a high register of C#5. It has a basic sequence of C#m-F#m-B-E-A-D#dim-G# as its chord progression. According to Bill Lamb of About.com, the song begins with Gomez's vocals, which he describes as an "an engaging warmth edged with just a bit of sultry that draws listeners into the record instantly." Lyrically, "Love You like a Love Song" is about a relationship in its honeymoon phase
The song received generally positive reviews from music critics. Bill Lamb of About.com gave "Love You like a Love Song" a four and a half-star rating, citing Gomez's "deeper, rich vocals", the "insistent electropop beat", and the "right touch of strings in the mix" as the song's highlights. Lamb continually praises the song, claiming it to be "arguably the best concoction" by Rock Mafia since Aly & AJ's "Potential Breakup Song" (Insomniatic, 2007). He further writes that it "moves well outside of being dismissable teen pop. It is a terrifically engaging mainstream pop record." He concludes his review, writing "If you are in the first flush of love, this just may be your theme. If not, the song will make you wish you were." John Bergstrom of PopMatters expressed a mixed opinion about the song, writing that it "benefits from a great title, and the squishy Eurodisco rhythm is credible, catchy and even sultry. But it’s all undone by a stuttering, Max Headroom non-chorus." Amy Sciaretto of PopCrush wrote in favor of the song, commenting that "Her voice isn’t nearly as thin as many of her peers and the album opener allows her to cycle through a few ranges."
Victoria Meng of TheCelebrityCafe, in her review of the single, found faults with the lyrics and the production. Calling the production "sub-par", Meng criticized it for sounding "mechanical" due to the electronic nature, writing that "a love song shouldn’t sound mechanical unless it’s deliberately meant to be subversive and to highlight dark, pathological obsessions like in many of Lady Gaga’s songs." Meng also criticized it for the use of monotone vocals and auto-tune, in regards to a love song which she claims should be "passionate". Meng found the lyrics to be "mediocre", writing that "to surround them with a beautiful tune" would help them stand out. Blair Kelly of musicOMH expressed similar feelings towards the song; she deemed it "forgettable" and stated that it and "Bang Bang Bang" were both "wannabe electro-pop songs which lack both lyrical.
"Love You Like a Love Song" was released as the follow up single to "Who Says", which was achieving moderate chart success during the time of the single's release. In the United States, it debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending July 9, 2011 at number 72. In the two weeks following the release of When the Sun Goes Down, the song rose to number 66 and number 35. It continued to descend the chart for months, falling outside the top fifty. By August 20, 2011, the song had achieved sales of over 500,000 digital units, earning a gold certification by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
"Love You like a Love Song" got its second wind after November 26, 2011, as it continued rising from the fiftieth position up until March 3, 2012, when it reached a peak of number 22, surpassing the peak made in July 2011. At the end of that month, the song surpassed sales of two million units, becoming her first single to achieve this sales and her highest selling single in the United States. The song also earned the band their second highest charting single, behind "Who Says", and the longest running single on the Hot 100 at 38 weeks. The song also earned the band the first album to spawn two top thirty hits. On April 20, 2012, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the single double platinum.
In Canada, "Love You Like a Love Song" entered the Canadian Hot 100 at number 64 on July 9, 2011. The song rose to number 21 in the following week. It ascended and descended inside the top 30 for eighteen weeks until it peaked at number 10 on November 19, 2011. The song lasted another fifteen weeks inside the top 30 and exited the charts after forty-two weeks.
"Love You Like a Love Song" did not replicate its North American success in Western Europe, though in Belgium, the song was a success, peaking at number 15 and charted for thirteen weeks. In New Zealand, the song entered the singles chart at number 34 and peaked at number 21 two weeks later. In Australia, it peaked at number 48 and, despite lasting two weeks on the chart, was certified gold for shipments of 35,000 units by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). In Sweden, the song peaked at number 41 on the singles chart and earned a gold certification by the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF) for shipments of 10,000 units. The song showed similar success across Europe, peaking in the lower end of the top fifty in several other countries, though it went to #1 in Russia and Top 3 in several other Eastern European countries. It also made #1 in both Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.
The music video was directed by Geremy Jasper and Georgie Greville, who previously worked with Goldfrapp and Florence & The Machine. Gomez considered the video as "the craziest video I've ever done", and commented, "[s]ometimes when you're in love, there are things you can't really explain and it doesn't make sense. That's how I feel when I'm in love." Released on June 23, 2011 on VEVO, the music video begins with the singer at a futuristic Japanese karaoke bar, watching a man sing the band's previous single "Naturally" off-key before he wanders off stage, a scene criticized for being nearly identical to the opening scene of Maroon 5's video for their 2004 single "Sunday Morning". Gomez, who wears an outfit inspired on 1984 film Amadeus, is called to the stage, where she starts to sing the song. As the first line begins, the karaoke machine begins projecting various images of the band in different settings. The first set features Gomez wearing a long black dress with poker-straight hair on a violet-sanded beach. She walks the beach with a long-haired blond male hippie, and lays in the sand while he plays sitar and time-lapsed clouds speed away overhead. In the chorus, many TV screens show images of Gomez in drag looking similar to 1980s Icon Max Headroom.
During the second verse of the song, Gomez and the pianist are in a heavenly cloud-scape, both dressed in Marie Antoinette-era clothing and pale makeup. She sings atop the triangular piano while he plays. She then glances at a TV screen displaying the next scene. Donning 1950s dress, Gomez rides in the passenger seat of a convertible car driven by a greaser, played by actor Charan Andreas on a Tron-esque computer grid in outer space. The song's breakdown takes place in a large field of fuchsia wheat. Gomez sports a bejeweled bustier, black tutu, and black thigh-high boots while playing piñata with a pink lightsaber. She is surrounded by a Mariachi band consisting of The Scene and others playing Roland AX-7 synth keytars and a Yamaha WX5 wind controller. In the video's conclusion, The Scene comes into the bar to watch their lead singer finish her song, as the men from the fantasy sequences are shown to be in the audience as well. Gomez then bows to applause from the small audience. The beach was filmed in Malibu, California.
PETA controversy and reception
Before the official release of the music video, a leaked photo from the set of Gomez, the hippie, and two pink-colored horses drew controversy during production. Although the horses were actually colored using a nontoxic water-soluble vegetable powder, when singer and PETA supporter Pink saw the photo, she assumed the horses had been colored traditionally using toxic paints or dyes. Pink criticized the video, which had not even been released, as "stupid". On her arrival to the video's set, Gomez was reportedly surprised to see that the horses were physically colorized, having assumed their color would be added in post-production. According to Gomez, she "was not so comfortable with the whole concept" of having horses in the video, being later announced that the animals would not appear in the final cut of the video, despite on-set supervision from an official of the Humane Society and the horses not having been harmed or endangered in any way. James Dihn of MTV Newsroom commented that Gomez was not the first celebrity to be criticized by PETA, naming Britney Spears and her music video for "Circus" (2008), as well as 50 Cent and Lady Gaga, as examples. Following the release on VEVO, Becky Bain of Idolator noted "most of these scenes have absolutely nothing to do with one another", but considered it "pretty entertaining even without pink horses", joking about the PETA controversy. Jocelyn Vena of MTV summarized her review of the music video saying, "Selena Gomez may have been born in 1992, but that doesn't mean that the teen queen can't get a little nostalgic for the '80s."
Gomez performed the song on Good Morning America on June 17, 2011. The song has also been performed on the UK program Daybreak on July 8, 2011. She also performed it at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday, August 7, 2011. Gomez performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on September 19, 2011. The song was also performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on November 17, 2011. Gomez and her band performed the song at their first headlining tour We Own the Night Tour.
Selena Gomez and her band won a Teen Choice Award for Best Love Song and they also won Teen Choice Award for Best Group after they performed their song at the show.
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