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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

News: Selena Gomez - When The Sun Goes Down (Alex Kazemi Review)

This is the review by Alex Kazemi for the album, When The Sun Goes Down to be release June 28.

Selena Gomez erupted onto The Scene with bratty synth-pop  and a spawn of Lizzie Mcguire-esque punk attitude on 2009′s Kiss & Tell. The bubble gum pop-tart, whose lyrics once gave off the impression that she bought jelly  bracelets and chokers from Claire’s in hope to be looked at as “bad-ass,” and attempted to further the image on a duet with scene-punk act Forever The Sickest Kids, ultimately without success. Selena & The Scene released their followup, A Year Without Rain in 2010. The album displayed a universal sound, finally, garnished with euro-dancehall influence and glorious lyrics about love, bad days, and how the devil is roaming around in today’s music.
When The Sun Goes Down is a musical succession showcasing Gomez’s progression and how she has grown into a mature, respectable pop artist who can still manage to have the youngster candy-floss sass of an ex-Disney princess.
“Love You Like A Love Song” accelerates into full speed with icy Rock Mafia dubstep wobbles that spotlight during a a swift chorus claiming of being so in love with a lover, that you want to replay the highlights of the love, like clicking play on a CD player. Gomez’s metamorphosis comes to form in the middle 8 where her lush vocals ride the wave of a dreamy faux-trance moment. “No one compares, you stand alone to every record I own.”
Toby Gad’s 80s video-game synths are lavish with confident retro tunage. A constant brag about Selena’s new boy between verses is both silly and cute: “My new boy he’s got more swagger than you.. My new boy used to be a model,” holding over unborn R&B inspired verses/vocals. Writer Pixie Lott’s delicate touch on a bundle of crystal-clear “Woah-oh-ohs” in “Bang Bang Bang”‘s chorus is both necessary and charismatic.
“Who Says” is acoustic and polished, but yet another “I <3  ME” anthem. It’s a track to listen to when you’re facing a breezy summer day filled with troubled looks or self-esteem issues. “Who says you can’t be in movies, listen to, listen to me, who says you can’t past the test” is a cry of hope to troubled youth, on top of a sparkly chime as the end approaches makes it less sappy and more empowering and, well, believable.
“We Own The Night” is paired with Toby G’s composition of simplified guitar, modified piano, and a singing drum that reminisces of 2001′s Top 40. The track is a calming celebration of spending good times with good friends, putting our day-to-day problems aside, and becoming an A.I. addition of ourselves as the night starts to appear. “Do whatever, be whoever we like, We sleep when we die! Don’t worry about nothing, we own the night!” It’s a husky serenade glimmering over the starry main moment. The cryptic robots spewing words back and forth during the last chorus before the song climbs to its apex turns things around last minute and rubs off an electronic certainty.
From start to finish, you can easily tell that Dr. Luke both produced and wrote “Hit The Lights”. A drum that is being forced to move in the same direction and that same ol’ flashing-fire synth with lyrics that are surprisingly witty. The song presumes that we have a second chance at something we’ve missed out on by converting the energy and losing our regrets on the dance-floor.. “It’s a mad mad world, got to make an escape..” The oblivious shouting in the chorus is tasteless, though, and the lack of ear-striking production puts the lyrics to waste.
Mega pop connoisseur Greg Kurstin’s odyssey “Whiplash” is rancid, hypnotic, and mysterious in the sense that the sounds are playing a game of hide-and-go-seek on a back lit dance floor. With its provoking ambiance, Gomez could’ve possibly recorded it above the pit of a volcano. At times, the song emulates the actual voyeuristic feeling of someone watching you. The pre-chorus is completely berserk, rapidly spoken with British accents, and purrs transitions into a chorus that sincerely bleeds pop: “I’m so in love I think I’m going to crash again! Whiplash-lash-lash,” chants of vocal repetition, space-house “la la la la’s” and cheerleader chants of “Whiplash” makes this track the albums keeper.
The catch to all of this? “Whiplash” was co-written by Britney Spears, the original sex-kitten school girl who clearly cut the song before Gomez, as there is no way Selena could do such a spot-on signature Britney vocal impersonation, with whispers, croons, and audible lip smacks, unless SGo spent her childhood singing along to In The Zone with a brush as the microphone.
Max Martin and Dr. Luke join forces –a rarity, for pop music’s Jesus and Moses– in “When The Sun Goes Down”. Co-penned by vixen Bonnie Mckee with a so-effing-hip ode to Steve Jobs, (“I checked my iphone.. Let me see whats going on!”) Selena preludes to the party-starter chorus where her vocals are nothing but comfortable as she excitingly speed-sings, “The party doesn’t start till the sung goes down!” The track reprises the familiar effects of robots chatting in-verse, as well as cheerleader chants.
“My Dilemma” is a straight 80s-inspired disco dilemma where Gomez complains about being attached to someone who is nothing but bad for her. The fizzle of a bubbly pop-punk rasp in unison with The Knack’s immortal rhythm invention “M-m-m-m-y”. “Dilemma” is a listenable, but ultimately open-and-shut pop track, filler for the album.
Selena is Katy Perry’s dress-up doll on “That’s More Like It”, an oddly out of place feminist song that could be a perspective on gender roles in a relationship. “Make me dinner, bring it to me, that’s more like it!,” she thwacks with an invisible wink on top of the laid back Billy Steinberg jitterbug.
Penultimately, “Outlaw” is a hazy motion upon airy rave characteristics that squander over Gomez’s dark howl disclosing a modern day Casanova who’s dying inside — “The next girl who leaves gets smaller in your rear view mirror.”
The finale is “The Middle Of No Where” a techno love confessional matched with a 80s arena-ready chorus that could be drifted away due to an unlevelled bass line that can’t decide if it’s going to shut up and let Selena own the final track, or not, on When The Sun Goes Down.


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