Stars Dance[1] is the first solo studio album by American recording artist Selena Gomez. It was released on July 19, 2013, being it her last album released through Hollywood Records. The album serves as her debut, after having previously released material as part of Selena Gomez & the Scene. Stars Dance was influenced by artists such as Britney Spears, Taylor Swift and Skrillex, and it features elements of pop and EDM.[2][3] Additionally, it includes songs about partying and love, including her relationship with pop singer Justin Bieber.

"Come & Get It" was released as the album's lead single in April 7, 2013. The single debuted at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, before rising to its peak of number 6 on the chart. Come & Get It became her first Top 10 hit on the chart. "Slow Down" was released as the album's second and final single on July 23, 2013, and it peaked inside the Top 30 of the chart. Gomez went on to promote the album through a series of high-profile live performances, including the 2013 Billboard Music Awards and the MTV Movie Awards.

Background

After the success of her acting career through Disney Channel, Gomez signed a record deal with Hollywood Records in 2008, which lead to the release of a number of singles for film soundtracks. Later that year, Selena Gomez formed the band Selena Gomez & the Scene. Their debut album, Kiss & Tell (album), was released in 2009, placing in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. 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 greater commercial success. It spawned two singles, "Round & Round" and "A Year Without Rain (song)", both of which entered the Top 40 on the Hot 100 chart in the United States. In 2011, the group released their third and final studio album When the Sun Goes Down (album), which spawned the hit singles "Who Says", "Love You Like A Love Song" and "Hit The Lights", all of which received Platinum or Multi-Platinum certifications in the United States.

Following their success, in 2012, Gomez announced that the band was on hiatus and that they would not release a new album that year.[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 new material in October 2012. She later confirmed the new album during an interview for Radio Disney that same month. Ryan Seacrest later reported that Gomez was working on her band's fourth studio album, although 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, 2013, that the album would be titled Stars Dance, and also revealed the album's track listing and cover art.[6] Regarding the meaning behind the name of the album, on July 18, 2013, Gomez stated that the she chose Stars Dance because the album was very "fun".

Development

On her return to music, Gomez said: "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 Selena Gomez & the Scene.

For Stars Dance, Gomez attempted to have more creative control over her music, stating that "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."

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."

As a matter of fact, the song "Birthday" was the first song recorded for the album. Furthermore, Gomez has listed "Forget Forever" as one of her favorite songs on the album, and she said that "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 that it is about "forgetting all the troubles, about the past, just enjoying everything else."

Prior to the album's release, Gomez announced she would be taking a musical hiatus after the release ofStars 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]

Composition

Jason Evigan said, about the album's musical style, that "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 has later cited both Spears and Janet Jackson as influences. She also listed dubstep producer Skrillex as another influence, with him having previously worked on the soundtrack for Gomez's film Spring Breakers. About their participation in the film, she has 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.

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 "B.E.A.T.." 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.

Commercial Performance

Stars Dance hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 selling 97,000 copies in it's first week. As of 2016 the album had sold over 410,000 copes in the U.S. making it her 4th highest selling album in the country. The album was also certified gold in the U.S. for units of over 500,000.

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.

Photoshoot

see: Gallery: Stars Dance (album)

Tracklist

Standard Edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Birthday" Crista Russo, Mike Del Rio, Jacob Kasher Hindlin, Selena Gomez Mike Del Rio 3:20
2. "Slow Down" Lindy Robbins, Julia Michaeles, Niles Hollowell-Dhar, David Kuncio, Freddy Wexler The Cataracs, David Kuncio 3:30
3. "Stars Dance" Antonina Armato, Tim James, Adam Schmalholz, Selena Gomez Rock Mafia
4. "Like a Champion" Daniel James, Leah Haywood, Peter Thomas, Bebe Rexha, Mark Myrie, Leroy Sibbles Dreamlab, Peter Thomas 2:55
5. "Come & Get It" Ester Dean, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen Stargate 3:51
6. "Forget Forever" Jason Evigan, Clarence Coffee Jr., Alexander Izquierdo, Jordan Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Selena Gomez The Monsters & Strangerz, Jason Evigan 4:11
7. "Save the Day" Mitch Allan, Jason Evigan, Livvi Franc The Suspex 3:53
8. "B.E.A.T." Uahitov Alexander Uahitov Alexander 3:04
9. "Write Your Name" D. James, Haywood, Arnthor Birgisson Dreamlab 3:16
10. "Undercover" Hollowell-Dhar, Robbins, Michaels, Rome Ramirez The Cataracs 3:53
11. "Love Will Remember" David Jost, T. James, Selena Gomez Rock Mafia 3:30
Deluxe Edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
12. "Nobody Does It Like You" Selena Gomez, Toby Gad, Robbins Toby Gad 3:56
13. "Music Feels Better" Selena Gomez, Haywood, D. James, Jeremy Coleman Dreamlab, JMIKE 3:10
Target Deluxe Edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
12. "Nobody Does It Like You" Selena Gomez, Toby Gad, Robbins Toby Gad 3:56
13. "Music Feels Better" Selena Gomez, Haywood, D. James, Jeremy Coleman Dreamlab, JMIKE 3:10
14. "Lover In Me" Selena Gomez, D. James, Haywood, Brian Lee Stuart Crichton Dreamlab 3:27
15. "I Like It That Way" Joshua Coleman, Rickard Göransson, Fransisca Hall, Kasher Hindlin Ammo 4:11

Trivia

  • Selena's favourite song from the album is Undercover.
  • Selena's most personal song on the album is Love Will Remember. It talks about her relationship with Justin Bieber.
  • When Love Will Remember got leaked, there was a voicemail message which is believed to be Justin Bieber's voice. The message said: "Hey , it's me. I just wanted l to tell you that I love you so much. Just wanted to let you know that you are my love. You are happy of all the love in the world, you are the love of my life."
  • It has been reported that Justin Bieber wrote a song for Selena for this album.[8]
  • Originally, Jennifer Lopez wanted to record the song "Save the Day" for her 2014 album A.K.A.. However, she failed to get it from Gomez.[9]
  • "Come & Get It" was initially recorded by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna for her sixth studio album, Talk That Talk, but she later decided against including the song.[10]
  • Selena has noted Taylor Swift as of the album influences.[11]
  • Selena described the album as "a fun pop record".[12]
  • Selena Gomez didn't work with Selena Gomez & the Scene for the album.[13]
  • Selena asked her fans if they wanted to hear album details about the album, hinting that she is going to announce the release date and track listing.[14]

Videos

References

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