Selena Gomez’ Solo Debut Stars Dance Is A Jarring Reminder How Big Eurodance Was In 2012

camjameson
Written by camjameson
/ 8 mins read

With how far Selena Gomez has come as an actress & musician in the last five or so years, it’s quite easy to forget how incredibly turbulent the earlier portions of her melodic career was, both now & at the time of her mainstream inception, as the lens of time distorts things to epic proportions when it comes to her whole schtick – As I went into on my Narrative about her follow-up record Revival, she was very much a product of the Pop machine when she first broke free of Selena Gomez & The Scene to start her solo career with Stars Dance. Before this, she fit in somewhere along Demi Lovato’s more Rock-heavy style with a band that was solely focused on fun, quirky Teen Pop with a slight Punky edge, her compositions typically aligning with the then-popular trend of adolescent heartbreak borne of the Myspace generation’s Emo days, never quite capturing the attention of radio listeners in the way a former Disney star would probably have hoped. Suddenly, with Stars Dance, we saw her diving straight into the rising trend of popular artists releasing Dance Pop albums, particularly of the Eurodance variety, what with their driving electronic soundscapes packed full of abrasive Club Hit-style synth melodies & repetitive vocal patterns meant to express a lust for the dancefloor, something everyone can somewhat vibe with without having to sit through highly-specified narratives about personal experiences or the like – As far as Gomez’ music is concerned, I can genuinely say I was not a fan of her entries whatsoever, finding them to be cheap knockoffs of much more talented artists & completely underdeveloped for someone with the amount of funding she had on hand, but in retrospect I’m realizing she was actually doing a much better job than I’d initially determined; Only problem is, she’s so clearly chained to the whims of her studio producers that you never feel like you’re actually receiving an artistic expression of who she is as a performer, rather it’s a checklist of required elements the label knew would appeal to younger, less-engaged audiences.

Another Child Star Desperate To Be Taken Seriously

It’s undoubtedly difficult to grow as an individual when your entire childhood was robbed from you by your stardom, especially when everyone with a pair of functional eyes can watch your maturation happen on-screen every day on a platform notorious for being squeaky clean with an emphasis on childlike innocence; Every move you make from there on out is a fight to be seen as a real adult, since every step you take towards adulthood will be seen as you losing the purity viewers have associated you with for years – We saw this with Spring Breakers & we definitely see it in Stars Dance, with Selena Gomez adopting the sort of reckless-party-girl aesthetic that’d taken the world by storm in acts like Kesha, Lady Sovereign & M.I.A. around the late-noughties. At first, this worked brilliantly for Gomez as songs like “Birthday” hit your ear drums with a whiny yet spunky vocal timbre & abrasive Hip Hop-adjacent electronic beats which encouraged listeners to let loose & get wild in their free time, evoking the very brash personalities & anti-establishment sensibilities of the UK Rap & Electropop scenes of the age; I actually get a pretty distinct Charli XCX vibe from this & several other tracks on the album, seeing as they turn overwhelmingly blunt sexuality into a tool for melodic engagement, enticing listeners to be on their baddest behaviour as the dance to the surprisingly catchy beats & lackadaisical lyrical flows within – This gets punched up a couple notches with the tune “B.E.A.T.,” wherein Gomez turns her open sexuality into a scaffolding upon which she layers tons & tons of soothing ethereal elements with more of a delicate party-down vibe, utilizing floaty synth instrumentation & angelic vocal harmonies that’re absolutely dreamy in conjunction with the sassier femininity of a group like scene-kid idols Millionaires; That said, this very same song brings you crashing back down to earth in its latter half when she transitions into the embarrassingly cringeworthy breakdown, a moment that’s so terribly out of character for her with its drop-tuned streetwise vocal patterns & painfully underproduced percussion sequences that you’re reminded once again she’s merely a vessel through which the record producers speak.

Batting For A Younger Audience & It Shows

At the time Stars Dance hit the airwaves, Selena Gomez was barely 20 years of age, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that her first foray into solo Pop music wasn’t exactly the most well-developed production we’d ever seen, but boy was I shocked at just how banal & generic the vast majority of the album’s tracks were, coming off like one of those joke records Patrice Wilson haphazardly produce to let tween girls feel like they were Popstars for a day, a la Rebecca Black or Lexi St. George – Songs like “Slow Down” felt like a piss-poor recreation of Britney Spears songs like “Hold It Against Me” or “Till The World Ends” with their boring melodic structures, lazy lyrical patterns & absolutely horrendous sound mixing despite being associated with the radio’s hottest electronic duo The Cataracs; These issues were then compounded by the ill-advised decision to weave EDM & Dubstep themes into songs like crowd-favourite “Come & Get It” & the titular “Stars Dance,” failing to research just what it was that made these subgenres so compelling to begin with & instead just slapping them over some lifeless melodies with predictable lyrics any high school hopeful could’ve written on the back of their math homework for the day – Seeing as I’d been frequenting read: sneaking in to underground House & Techno shows for years before this record came out going all the way back to when I was 13, I’d originally thought my criticisms were simply founded on elitism & the notion that nobody of mainstream status could ever properly recreate the music scene I held so near & dear to my heart, but age has shown me this album was always doomed to fail from the start, as Gomez does incredibly well on some of the more Trance or Progressive House focused songs but struggles to keep up with the cheap production values of the more generic radio-facing tunes. It just goes to show, if you’re not fully-engrossed in the culture or lifestyle of a certain subgenre with at least the bare minimum passion for generating a compelling song that would impress its audiences, you really shouldn’t throw yourself into styles you know nothing about.

Close But No Cigar – More Like A Black & Mild

Perhaps what grinds my gears most about Stars Dance is how many tracks teased us with the potential for some truly phenomenal electronic compositions in the future that were left to simply die out in the margins, overshadowed by the Club-centric tracks the label pushed that were of far less quality. Way before Karmin bore her way into our skulls with the energetic “Brokenhearted” & years prior to the days Bonnie McKee would gently stroke our fancies with her bombastic Synth Pop banger “American Girl,” Selena Gomez gave us numbers like “Music Feels Better” that embodied everything wonderful about Progressive Vocal House music, its spectacular fission-synth grooves, soaring diva vocals & radiant chord progressions bringing out the very best in her abilities as a musician, an avenue of music that would’ve put her on the bleeding-edge of the second-wave Electro Pop music we’d see only a few short years later in the mainstream industry; Why she didn’t pursue this vein more aggressively will always be a mystery to me, but it’s far & away the biggest detriment to the success of this album in not just my eyes but the world at large seeing as this album tanked harder than the Exxon Valdez back in 1989 – At the end of the day, I feel validated in my criticisms of Stars Dance as it can barely hold up to today’s standards, let alone those of the early-teens, but at least it paved the way for her follow-up outing Revival to actually live up to its name, positioning Gomez as someone who had nowhere but up to go if she just put in the effort necessary to differentiate herself from the rest of the crowd. Just six years later, I’m able to honestly say I’m a fan of the musician she’s become & am genuinely excited for the next leg of her career, just so long as she strays wide of the Eurodance image that nearly ruined her image altogether.

Selena Gomez’ Solo Debut Stars Dance Is A Jarring Reminder How Big Eurodance Was In 2012

camjameson
Written by camjameson
/ 8 mins read

With how far Selena Gomez has come as an actress & musician in the last five or so years, it’s quite easy to forget how incredibly turbulent the earlier portions of her melodic career was, both now & at the time of her mainstream inception, as the lens of time distorts things to epic proportions when it comes to her whole schtick – As I went into on my Narrative about her follow-up record Revival, she was very much a product of the Pop machine when she first broke free of Selena Gomez & The Scene to start her solo career with Stars Dance. Before this, she fit in somewhere along Demi Lovato’s more Rock-heavy style with a band that was solely focused on fun, quirky Teen Pop with a slight Punky edge, her compositions typically aligning with the then-popular trend of adolescent heartbreak borne of the Myspace generation’s Emo days, never quite capturing the attention of radio listeners in the way a former Disney star would probably have hoped. Suddenly, with Stars Dance, we saw her diving straight into the rising trend of popular artists releasing Dance Pop albums, particularly of the Eurodance variety, what with their driving electronic soundscapes packed full of abrasive Club Hit-style synth melodies & repetitive vocal patterns meant to express a lust for the dancefloor, something everyone can somewhat vibe with without having to sit through highly-specified narratives about personal experiences or the like – As far as Gomez’ music is concerned, I can genuinely say I was not a fan of her entries whatsoever, finding them to be cheap knockoffs of much more talented artists & completely underdeveloped for someone with the amount of funding she had on hand, but in retrospect I’m realizing she was actually doing a much better job than I’d initially determined; Only problem is, she’s so clearly chained to the whims of her studio producers that you never feel like you’re actually receiving an artistic expression of who she is as a performer, rather it’s a checklist of required elements the label knew would appeal to younger, less-engaged audiences.

Another Child Star Desperate To Be Taken Seriously

It’s undoubtedly difficult to grow as an individual when your entire childhood was robbed from you by your stardom, especially when everyone with a pair of functional eyes can watch your maturation happen on-screen every day on a platform notorious for being squeaky clean with an emphasis on childlike innocence; Every move you make from there on out is a fight to be seen as a real adult, since every step you take towards adulthood will be seen as you losing the purity viewers have associated you with for years – We saw this with Spring Breakers & we definitely see it in Stars Dance, with Selena Gomez adopting the sort of reckless-party-girl aesthetic that’d taken the world by storm in acts like Kesha, Lady Sovereign & M.I.A. around the late-noughties. At first, this worked brilliantly for Gomez as songs like “Birthday” hit your ear drums with a whiny yet spunky vocal timbre & abrasive Hip Hop-adjacent electronic beats which encouraged listeners to let loose & get wild in their free time, evoking the very brash personalities & anti-establishment sensibilities of the UK Rap & Electropop scenes of the age; I actually get a pretty distinct Charli XCX vibe from this & several other tracks on the album, seeing as they turn overwhelmingly blunt sexuality into a tool for melodic engagement, enticing listeners to be on their baddest behaviour as the dance to the surprisingly catchy beats & lackadaisical lyrical flows within – This gets punched up a couple notches with the tune “B.E.A.T.,” wherein Gomez turns her open sexuality into a scaffolding upon which she layers tons & tons of soothing ethereal elements with more of a delicate party-down vibe, utilizing floaty synth instrumentation & angelic vocal harmonies that’re absolutely dreamy in conjunction with the sassier femininity of a group like scene-kid idols Millionaires; That said, this very same song brings you crashing back down to earth in its latter half when she transitions into the embarrassingly cringeworthy breakdown, a moment that’s so terribly out of character for her with its drop-tuned streetwise vocal patterns & painfully underproduced percussion sequences that you’re reminded once again she’s merely a vessel through which the record producers speak.

Batting For A Younger Audience & It Shows

At the time Stars Dance hit the airwaves, Selena Gomez was barely 20 years of age, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that her first foray into solo Pop music wasn’t exactly the most well-developed production we’d ever seen, but boy was I shocked at just how banal & generic the vast majority of the album’s tracks were, coming off like one of those joke records Patrice Wilson haphazardly produce to let tween girls feel like they were Popstars for a day, a la Rebecca Black or Lexi St. George – Songs like “Slow Down” felt like a piss-poor recreation of Britney Spears songs like “Hold It Against Me” or “Till The World Ends” with their boring melodic structures, lazy lyrical patterns & absolutely horrendous sound mixing despite being associated with the radio’s hottest electronic duo The Cataracs; These issues were then compounded by the ill-advised decision to weave EDM & Dubstep themes into songs like crowd-favourite “Come & Get It” & the titular “Stars Dance,” failing to research just what it was that made these subgenres so compelling to begin with & instead just slapping them over some lifeless melodies with predictable lyrics any high school hopeful could’ve written on the back of their math homework for the day – Seeing as I’d been frequenting read: sneaking in to underground House & Techno shows for years before this record came out going all the way back to when I was 13, I’d originally thought my criticisms were simply founded on elitism & the notion that nobody of mainstream status could ever properly recreate the music scene I held so near & dear to my heart, but age has shown me this album was always doomed to fail from the start, as Gomez does incredibly well on some of the more Trance or Progressive House focused songs but struggles to keep up with the cheap production values of the more generic radio-facing tunes. It just goes to show, if you’re not fully-engrossed in the culture or lifestyle of a certain subgenre with at least the bare minimum passion for generating a compelling song that would impress its audiences, you really shouldn’t throw yourself into styles you know nothing about.

Close But No Cigar – More Like A Black & Mild

Perhaps what grinds my gears most about Stars Dance is how many tracks teased us with the potential for some truly phenomenal electronic compositions in the future that were left to simply die out in the margins, overshadowed by the Club-centric tracks the label pushed that were of far less quality. Way before Karmin bore her way into our skulls with the energetic “Brokenhearted” & years prior to the days Bonnie McKee would gently stroke our fancies with her bombastic Synth Pop banger “American Girl,” Selena Gomez gave us numbers like “Music Feels Better” that embodied everything wonderful about Progressive Vocal House music, its spectacular fission-synth grooves, soaring diva vocals & radiant chord progressions bringing out the very best in her abilities as a musician, an avenue of music that would’ve put her on the bleeding-edge of the second-wave Electro Pop music we’d see only a few short years later in the mainstream industry; Why she didn’t pursue this vein more aggressively will always be a mystery to me, but it’s far & away the biggest detriment to the success of this album in not just my eyes but the world at large seeing as this album tanked harder than the Exxon Valdez back in 1989 – At the end of the day, I feel validated in my criticisms of Stars Dance as it can barely hold up to today’s standards, let alone those of the early-teens, but at least it paved the way for her follow-up outing Revival to actually live up to its name, positioning Gomez as someone who had nowhere but up to go if she just put in the effort necessary to differentiate herself from the rest of the crowd. Just six years later, I’m able to honestly say I’m a fan of the musician she’s become & am genuinely excited for the next leg of her career, just so long as she strays wide of the Eurodance image that nearly ruined her image altogether.

2. Track List (11)

3. Official (3)

4. Live (9)

5. Featuring Remixes (11)

7. Similar Albums

No Items.

8. Similar Artists (19)

9. Album Info

Songwriter

  • Selena Gomez