Friday, July 17th, 2015

Selena Gomez ft. A$AP Rocky – Good For You

At least some of us think so.


Katherine St Asaph: More sad-girl sulk from Selena Gomez. A$AP Rocky’s verse captures a starlet at the exact moment of tabloid corruption and does a good job, if you think that job is good; Gomez is plaintive, less pretty more hurts; it’s like a teenage “Mascara,” or perhaps Jojo’s “Marvin’s Room.” This is not a universal opinion. Gomez herself claims this song reps women in a good way,” and pop culture agrees; meanwhile, all the music writers I know call this the loneliest song they’ve ever heard. Listening myself — particularly watching the video, which I assume is supposed to be sexy but triangulates Natalie Imbruglia’s “Want,” Britney’s “Everytime” and a couch-bound crampy hangover — I’ve gotta side with the writers. (Someone’s got to.) At first I thought it had to be the chord progression, but pop is trending that way, and the first comparable song I thought of was Kevin Rudolf et al’s “I Made It,” which has a grim undertone but certainly isn’t sad. Then I thought maybe it was Selena’s little-kitten-lost delivery, more pronounced in the original mix, and that a belter — The Fame-era Gaga, maybe — would sass up the song; but this is 2015 and YouTube is quite replete with vocal hopers providing just that, and it doesn’t work. There are little off hints in the songwriting, in how “I’m on my 14-carat — I’m 14-carat” ruefully sinks from slang to objectification or how repeating “trust me” so often so pleadingly can’t be happy, but I think that’s an accident and it’s just poorly written. “Syncopate” is clearly supposed to be “synchronize,” like the songwriters grasped that the former sounded better but not that it had an actual meaning; “doing it up like Midas” is not a brag but a curse out of an Oglaf strip. So it’s culture, then, and of course it is. Men run women through an ever-more-multivariate equation of fuckability functions (variable 119: the last guy I was with complimented me on the texture of the skin on my arms, a trait where his last girlfriend was apparently unsatisfactory), and the HotOrNot decimal results are only getting more visible; then society blames girls and their self-esteem for running the math for themselves. Even the guys who espouse feminism, look at whom they date: thin, curvy, shockingly young, with some allowances toward preppy or alt but otherwise blonde clones. Gomez, who once sung “Who Says” and who’s since careened in a Spring Breakers car into the sex dystopia of celebrity life, has to have internalized all this long ago; we all have. If you’ve not grown up routinely discarded for your looks these will all be just words; if you have, you understand how this is so deeply heartbreaking, and how it works.

Nina Lea Oishi: I can’t help but listen to this and think of Selena as the freshman girl trying to prove she’s grown, but in reality she’s only acting how she thinks adults act when they’re being sexy because she thinks it’s what she’s supposed to do. This analogy, of course, making A$AP Rocky the creepy older guy who refers to his man-parts as his “minature.” (Run, girl, run!) The problem is the delivery. Selena’s vocals are listless rather than seductive, unconvincing rather than confident. Sure, the transition from Disney channel teenage wizard to full-fledged pop star is difficult. But Selena’s demonstrated before that she has at least some semblance of a personality, even within the highly defined borders of whatever plan her managers and label have probably laid out. C’mon girl, look good for yourself. (And if you still really want to hear a song about impressing your man with a skintight outfit, go listen to “Freakum Dress” or something — it’s a hell of a lot more fun.)

Micha Cavaseno: Selena Gomez continues her strange career of churning out songs that nobody enjoys based on the merits of “well, she’s famous.” This time she attempts post-Del Rey sleaze/glamour, with whom else but fashionable misogynist Rakim Meyers, showing up to enforce the ugly shell of cubic zirconium around this crusty-ass song.

Alfred Soto: Descending on a perfumed purple cloud of swag, A$AP reassures Gomez about her looks. The electronic swirl fits Tinashe or Jhene Aiko. Gomez doesn’t have it in her to suggest doubt or insecurity, so her hesitations sound like voices in her head confirming what she knows. 

Leela Grace: Summertime sadness like a flash flood, like you would submit to being made of gold if it meant you would never fall apart, the feeling that the hands touching you are the only thing keeping you together.  “Just” is the operative word because it means you’ve been whittled down to nothing but a body, and maybe not even that.

Thomas Inskeep: This slow-burner of a record could use a little urgency, particularly in Gomez’s vocal, which is all coquettishness and no actual sexiness. The beat plods, as if being played at the wrong speed, and A$AP Rocky’s verse sounds entirely phoned-in. “Good for You” is like a G-rated version of Red Shoe Diaries, where it clearly wants to be at least PG-13.

Will Adams: While I’m happy that someone else shares my vision for a universe in which Born to Die was a huge success, Selena Gomez does not have the voice to pull off this level of gloom. Aiming for numb but landing on lobotomized, she barely emotes until the heartbreaking “trust me” bridge, only to have A$AP Rocky interrupt. The risk of playing the scenario dead serious doesn’t pan out, and it’s hard to care about much of anything here.

Ramzi Awn: It’s not hard to hear that “Good For You” is the better Lana Del Rey — with a hook like gold. Gomez has returned, for a brief moment, to the mold that made her.

Mo Kim: The build on those first two verses is diamond-sharp, want cutting through the synthy haze like ship through fog. The rap grinds it down to dust.

Brad Shoup: Gomez gets performative at being performative, an amazing thing. Rocky’s melody strikes harder than hers; I know the Lana comparisons are flying, but apparently this is the summer of tears that could be joy, could be grief, depending on how the moonlight hits you.

Cédric Le Merrer: This is the most memorable Selena Gomez single to date, which may not be saying much, but it’s all thanks to her performance too. Both sultry and a bit creepy, she brings out several potential meanings in the song’s title, which may either have been written by a songwriter too coy or oblivious to stress them. Or maybe they were oddly confident in the unexpected qualities of Selena? Whichever it is, we’re better off listening to the video version without that bland A$AP ROCKY verse.

Reader average: [7.7] (24 votes)

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

24 Responses to “Selena Gomez ft. A$AP Rocky – Good For You”

  1. dang, katherine. that’s one hell of a blurb.

  2. shoulda given this a 8+

  3. thanks — clearly I have a lot of thoughts on this

  4. The syncopate line is actually syncopated (the rhythm shifting unexpectedly), and the song is littered with syncopation. Her body is stuttering to his even breath and heart.

  5. that’s the opposite of how the metaphor usually goes, though.

  6. variable 120: apparently you are now supposed to be able to put some amount of quarters behind your collarbone to be considered attractive. one wonders who comes up with these things, all these gonzo new ways of looking wrong; they should use their skills for good or at least less cruel and awful, like making the next Sharknado or Double Down.

    and the cruelest twist of all is that it sends women micromanaging and assessing feature after feature on their body like they’re a fucking game of Civilization, or one of its more explicitly time-wasting online variants, when the only ones that ever matter for men are “be thin and white and blonde and have boobs” (but they’ll happily make fun of women for the other 120 if the opportunity presents itself [to them, it always presents itself]). it’d be bad enough if so many life experiences weren’t gated behind passing the test.

  7. where I am going with this is that when Gomez sings “trust me, I can take you there,” this is exactly what she’s fighting against, and why it sounds so plaintive. I don’t want to say it’s “desperate” as that has been fully colonized by men as a pejorative (telling, and fucked-up: the worst insult men can think of for a woman is despair) but it comes off as the product of a lot of failed persuading.

  8. I don’t know when it was done but how can someone to say “Selena Gomez continues her strange career of churning out songs that nobody enjoys” when this song is in iTunes top 10 since its release. Clearly some people enjoy it and the review is just passional.

  9. This site IS called “The SINGLES Jukebox” yet they invest much on…Videos. To The Jukebox team. The great majority of “writers” and “critics” come from the normal folk masses out there, and most of them ARE infested with prejudice and bias when they reach their profession, and Latinos, specially those of such Obvious [Mexican] background, are targeted with such “hate.” One must know everyone takes sides, and the overwhelming majority take sides with EveryOne else (J Bieber, M Cyrus, D Lovato, A Grande, ETC) BUT Selena. Gomez is what most don’t like. This IS why her music is not played on HAC and Lite Rock radio. We reach this point in “hate”, and by this time, many of Obvious Latino background also jump on the Hate-Selena-Bandwagon because its easy. More so, all this points at that Obvious Latinos will always be belittled and degraded no matter what they do, which is why there have NEVER been an lead actor/tress in a huge movie, and since the explosion of “social” networks/media, no #1 songs by one (Pitbull does have many big hits and that’s because he FEATURES Whites and Blacks in his music). Most can pick Selena’s songs apart sand-grain by sand-grain and will HIDE under being a “critic” or “writer” but will for the Great part miss Logic and sound thinking, and will always find ways to bash her and her Everything she does, unless she’s not competing against most “writers” and “critics” favorites–which unfortunately, will hardly happen. Selena GOMEZ IS the selective target of hate, and it shows on many “professionals” attempt at logic. Syncopate FITS the song as its supposed to. The “critics” on this website who obviously don’t like song, also obviously don’t like Selena, and we get their views tho lacking much soundness and logic. Empirical logic. This song overall is an 8 at least, and “Good For You” is so far the best Summer song of 2015. Had I been a Pop music fan years ago, I would have said in these forums Selenas “Round & Round” and “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” are poor and bad songs, giving evidence to that I am not “just saying.” Again: HATE IS why the great majority of “critics” and “writers” try to unplug everything Selena GOMEZ does, but I am glad some Latinos have taking notice and are doing what they can to help Selena and others of Obvious Latino background. “Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me”, in todays bitter world, refers to leaving others be who they are unless their bias hate shows, which is why I have said what I have.

  10. I gave it a 9.

  11. I don’t understand why this has anything to do with race? I don’t know if I missed a blurb being racist but I absolutely hate when people pull the card race with no reason.

    Oh you don’t like this Selena Gomez? It’s surely because she’s latina, you’re racist.

  12. Also, Ulysses might be new around here if he thinks Bieber, Cyrus, Lovato or Grande get a pass in here. The reviewers in here are biased towards certain artists but those four are definitely not the case.

  13. I’d point out Javiera Mena as an artist that TSJ unashamedly loves and overrates and she’s latina.

  14. this assertion of blind favoritism towards certain artists on this website really doesn’t sit well with me as it paints the ~editorial taste~ as calculated and therefore, disingenuous, which is not only untrue but also entirely nonexistent. for example, none of us would have expected for a jason derulo song to almost break into the top 10 highest-scoring songs of the year so far, and there have been songs from continously high-scoring artists like javiera that have received middling scores. there isn’t an agenda here; it would be incredibly pompous of the jukebox to operate in that way.

  15. Of course I know there isn’t an agenda in here. I think Ulysses comment is better left ignored and we should move on.

  16. I do think there’s a certain favoritism towards certain artists (particularly in R&B) but you’re right, when an artist releases a bad single it doesn’t get a free pass… unless you’re Taylor Swift then certain reviewers (cough Jonathan Bradley ) will give you a 9 or 10 every time :).

  17. That’s not true. One time, his praise for “Bad Blood” was weaker than usual and he said the T-Swift-only version was better.

  18. lol also I gave “Everything Has Changed” a [6] or something.

  19. how many more [9]s do I have to give to Lana Del Rey for people to start noticing?

  20. Stick to 6’s, everyone, and you’ll sleep easier.

  21. the sleep of the just-OK

  22. @MOKA and everyone. You don’t get how fame and glory deals with Bigotry? STUDY world history and social studies related and ANYONE will see it. IF 90+% OF BILLBOARDS HOT100 ARE WHITE AND BLACK, THAT GIVES EVIDENCE, YOU KNOW, SCIENCE, that Bigotry MUST be a reason why Obvious Latinos don’t do WELL in the business. I explained everything on my above post so that a 6 year old would understand and see that what I say IS fact, evidence, of prejudice / bias. While Jews were [somewhat] forced to act weirdly the first 50 years of film, they surely are not by any means hurting now. Going back to that period, *** Rita Hayworth was forced to change her Margarita Carmen Cansino name to appeal the WHITE masses of movie goers. In MMA, Anthony Pettis’ (Anglo name) parents had his name, and the families, changed from Perez to Pettis (Anglo name), to avoid…PREJUDICE. When Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears came out, people took sides and AGUILERA WAS TARGETED with “hate”, but hardly Britney. Avril Levigne and Pink both jumped on that wagon. Peter Hernandez changed his stage/professional name to Bruno Mars KNOWING with the Hernandez name or brand he would NOT have made it. THIS. IS. CALLED. EVIDENCE. EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.*** And IF you READ what others post, you may understand what’s being said. I never said those stars get a free pass HERE, but they sure as hell get it on the charts, WHERE IT MATTERS. Katherines destruction of Selena GOMEZ’ Good For You, is so obvious a 5 year old would see the bias and worse. The evidence is just about everywhere. A “critic” from US Weekly, bashed “Come & Get It” but manged to praise Mileys “We Can’t Stop.” More so, MOKA, IGNORING INTELLECT IS WHAT’S RUINING THE WORLD, AND POP CULTURE BIAS IS BECOMING MOST PEOPLES SOURCE OF EDUCATION. Most ignore the facts and its science because such facts don’t suit your lifestyle and way of thinking, and it doesn’t benefit you (and them) so they continue to…Ignore it. As I said, everything has been explained in simple terms but to the very point. Since the beginning of history, Bullying and Harassing has been freely dealt to others with less power, and Obvious Latinos are now the selected target of mass “hate” tho no one will say it openly but WILL SHOW IT BY EVERYONE SEEING THE ASTRONOMICAL LACK OF HUGE (#1) HITS BY OBVIOUS LATINOS IN MUSIC AND MOVIES. And politics. This is science, not pop culture stupidity.

  23. Lol

  24. is there a parallel world where everyone else hears this song as, like, “Everything Is Awesome”?

    “A good example is “Good for You,” which I wrote for Selena. My boyfriend was like, “Julia, you never write any happy songs for me. It’s kind of sad.” I was like, “Fine, I’ll write a good song about you, shut up!” So I wrote the lyrics to “Good for You.”A good example is “Good for You,” which I wrote for Selena. My boyfriend was like, “Julia, you never write any happy songs for me. It’s kind of sad.” I was like, “Fine, I’ll write a good song about you, shut up!” So I wrote the lyrics to “Good for You.”” –