Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Selena Gomez – The Heart Wants What It Wants

and, pray, what DOES it want?


Anthony Easton: I wonder if this works, (and it does work) not because the meta/paratextual hints (read: knowing that this is about Bieber does not make the song any more interesting) but because it sounds like pop music should sound in 2014. The height of fashion, and the slightly anonymous quality of the vocals, reward a production that is fast fashion milled into perfection. (It looks good, but will fall apart after a season). Extra points for the finger snaps. 

Alfred Soto: A smart writer alluded to Woody Allen’s (in)famous defense of his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, and if the arrangement and Gomez had sung it with half his defensiveness it would’ve been tougher and more fraught. Tepid Ariana Grande won’t do.

Scott Mildenhall: Should you choose to squint your ears, it does sound like she’s saying “what the fart wants” in the distorted introductory parts. Nothing could be further from what the song wants, of course, not least with how much it seems to be relying on the emotional resonance of the titular line, laid bare. The slow down and strip back as Selena releases it are indeed the pinnacle of a pleasantly dejected four minutes, but if the connection to it isn’t there, much is missing.

Sonia Yang: The contrast between her candid confession at the beginning and reserved singing throughout is jarring, but it almost works. The sparse music gives off that cold, isolated feeling of resignation – it’s the hollowness after intense pain, the kind where one has no choice but to move through life mechanically until they gradually heal. While I appreciate a more serious song from her, it’s not as compelling as it could be.

Will Adams: What do you do when your tell-all single is less interesting than the already uninteresting biography that prompted it? Selena Gomez doesn’t know, and despite giving one of her best vocal performances here, “The Heart Wants What It Wants” is about as frivolous as a mini-blurb on a gossip site.

Crystal Leww: Selena Gomez as an Actual Big Thing would be exciting, especially given the predominantly white landscape of her pop peers, but I’m almost wondering if we’re willing to shrug off actual quality because we want Gomez to be a Thing. This chorus is pretty awful from the stutter on “wants” to the weird chirping and “ey ey ey”s in the background. The verses just exist, not committing to a narrative or any amount of specificity. There is no release; this is just plodding and dry.

Brad Shoup: You know you’re an adult when a songwriter passes you a cup. Gomez’s clear-eyed though, on alert over a track that opens as glamorous downtempo and gets progressively more fidgety. She tries to hang the text from a suitable hook, and the twinkles and voices keep turning the lights off.

Mallory O’Donnell: Attractively-draped Ibiza sunset tune with a confident delivery. I question the need for any more songs in the world about dangerous love and how it’s like various kinds of drugs, but the world wants etc.

Reader average: [7.1] (10 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

6 Responses to “Selena Gomez – The Heart Wants What It Wants”

  1. 0.44? is that a record?
    (what has actually been the lowest controversy on this site I’m curious)

  2. “Blowin’ Smoke” by Kacey Musgraves was a .42, but I think we’ve gone lower.

  3. Jennifer Hudson and T.I.’s “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)” scored a whopping 0.29.

  4. Last year I made a Spotify playlist of all songs with under 1.0 controversy and over 6.0 overall rating, which I assumed would be a genteel playlist for the workplace etc. Most of those were in the .8-1.0 range. But under 1.0 was unheard of in the first iteration of TSJ and is rarer now with the new crop of writers.

  5. O’Donnell made me lol.

  6. I do think this song deserves a higher rating. The dippy, stuttery chorus leavens the sugariness of the rest. The bridge is some truly bad infrastructure, and the lyrics are typical of lyrics nowadays – nursery rhymes without narrative. But Gomez is so cute with a country lilt.