Unless you’re a diehard Selena Gomez fan, there’s really no reason why you should listen to her new album, “Stars Dance.” In a summer with some serious female pop starpower (see: Icona Pop, Marina and the Diamonds), this subpar album is an especially resounding dud. From top to bottom, it lacks the most basic ingredients for a summer pop hit.

 

The album is distressingly deficient of a single hit. Forget a true club banger—there isn't one memorable track worthy of the Top 40. The only thing close—and the album's only really decent track—is “Birthday,” a sleek, fun little bit of dance hall ambition that should get some play in the next few months. Unfortunately, it’s where the fun begins and ends on a dour album that takes itself far too seriously.

 

Gomez’s past work has often relied on more heavily electronic elements, but the EDM motif du jour—unrelenting dubstep womps and wobbles—feels wrong here. Songs are weighed down fatally by their overwrought production, coming up particularly short when compared to smart and appealingly arranged songs like Icona Pop’s “I Love It” is.

 

Album misfires are numerous, too. “Like A Champion” features Gomez attempting to emulate the Caribbean sensibilities of Rihanna, which appears to be a recurring theme for the younger star. The title track is a sleepy number with too many trippy bells and whistles. Finally, “Love Will Remember” is a cringe-inducing clunker, about as bad as a lost-love ballad can get.

 

Gomez’s past successes, like the thoroughly enjoyable “Love You Like a Love Song,” have relied on the strength of the production more than anything else. When the production falls flat, we’re left with a generic pop album by a rather generic pop star; in other words, "Stars Dance." Fortunately, you probably won’t be subjected to it on the radio or during a night out anytime soon.

 

Grade: C-


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