Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Selena Gomez and the Scene – Naturally

The screengrab is rather less impressive when it’s not part of the video, isn’t it?…


Michaelangelo Matos: Favorite piece of criticism of the year to date comes from my four-and-a-half-year-old niece Veronica. When I asked her in mid-January if she’d seen Fantastic Mr. Fox, she said with evident exasperation, “Michael, it’s not a movie for kids“. Veronica loves pre-teenpop, including Selena Gomez (her favorite, according to her mom), but this is not a song for adults.

Anthony Easton: The video is pretty cool, and I love the necklace she wears in it, plus who did her hair?

Chuck Eddy: Her album came within spitting distance of my Top Ten last year, and this marginally danceable and emotive run-of-the-mill electrobubble-rocker sure didn’t get in the way. But no way is it up there with “Kiss & Tell” or “As a Blonde” or “Stop & Erase.” Fairly positive “Falling Down” and “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” have it beat, as well.

Matt Cibula: The beauty of a well-done Paulina Rubio single is nothing at which to sneeze. Neither is her canny song choice on the album (Fefe Dobson!), so she’s maybe a genius or maybe has some very good advisors.

Doug Robertson: More pop from the Disney stable that normally churns out workhorses but occasionally gifts the world a thoroughbred. I’m not averse to a bit of Duff, and this is a bit of a halfway house between Hilary’s more electronic Dignity album and her previous work. It’s not as lightweight as the fluff churned out by the Jonas Brothers et al, and has the hard-to-capture feel of something which hasn’t just been put together in a factory by some marketing execs specifically to target certain demographics. The fact that that’s clearly exactly what has happened and hiding that fact was a vital part of the creative process is something I am choosing to ignore.

Alex Ostroff: One of these days I will learn to not underestimate the Disney roster — this will make the third or fourth awesome pop album I’ve irrationally slept on in the past five years. The elastic rockabilly guitar from Miley’s “See You Again” is married to a throbbing bassline and panning, clattering percussion. And while I go in expecting anodyne factory-pop, I leave wondering how all of Disney’s actress-turnt-singers manage to be so intuitively good at it. Selena’s tone is the closest teenpop’s come to Lindsay’s throatiness since A Little More Personal, and her production has a swing and a kick that’s been missing since Hilary’s “Come Clean” remix. Now, excuse me; I have some catching up to do.

Martin Skidmore: Selena has a strong and warm voice, and this is classy electro pop, with a bouncy tempo and a strong chorus, if nothing terribly original to say.

Al Shipley: Is that…an AutoTuned Gorilla Zoe that shows up to sing a line of backup in the last chorus? That’s what it sounds like, anyway.

Frank Kogan: Little Miss Heartface is surprisingly warm where I’d been expecting her to land somewhere between a chirp and a screech, though writer-producers Antonina Armato & Tim James have a history of warmth with Hoku and Aly & AJ. This rolls along so unobtrusively you don’t consciously pick up how crowded and emotive it gets with all its vocal embellishments, building to loudness that still feels soft.

Martin Kavka: I’m not a fan of Gomez’s voice — the way she says “energy” and even “baby” just rankles — but I’m pleasantly surprised by the US chart success of something so blatantly in the dance genre. The most similar song of recent vintage is Agnes’s “Release Me,” but even if “Naturally” is less exhilarating musically, its lyrics are far more fascinating. For while Selena notes that “your energy comes naturally,” this doesn’t actually seem to be the case. The “force of nature” only expresses itself “when you’re with me,” and so Selena becomes the direct cause of her beloved’s appeal. At one point she sings “you are the thunder and I am the lightning”. Lightning, of course, precedes thunder.

Iain Mew: Selena offers up an unusual two-in-one here: go for the ridiculous, overpowering Euro bosh (“You are the thunder! I AM THE LIGHTNING!”) and she’ll throw in shuddering bass bits that hint at something a lot more complex. Not a bad deal, though the two don’t exactly sit together naturally.

8 Responses to “Selena Gomez and the Scene – Naturally”

  1. Don’t understand Matos’s objection here — I don’t think this sounds categorically different from non-Disney mainstream pop. In fact I can easily imagine Cascada singing this (I mean, you could say that Cascada “isn’t for adults,” I guess, but that seems like a pretty wide net to cast).

  2. I think Matos just wanted to mirror his niece’s review (which is indeed totally classic.) But right, obviously, it’s silly to suggest adults couldn’t or shouldn’t like this.

  3. I suppose I can withdraw my objection considering it was the only way to get the other review published.

  4. TS: Selena Gomez “Kiss & Tell” vs. Ke$ha “Ki$$ N Tell” (both among their best tracks, as far as I can tell.)

  5. Martin, “naturally” and “caused by something” aren’t mutually exclusive. Thunder is caused by lightning, but the process by which that happens natural.

  6. I wish I’d found time to blurb this one – I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it when I stumbled onto the video on TV. It’s holding up well.

  7. Heard this on the radio, outside of the context of her album as a whole, for the first time yesterday. Definitely underrated it above, by at least a point, maybe even two points. Generic, sure — but reallygood generic.

  8. When I first heard this song on the radio, I didn’t like it. At all. Then again, I didn’t even listen to more than 30 seconds of it before changing stations. I think it might of been the lyrics that I didn’t like. The second time I heard it, I loved it. I don’t know what caused the change, but it happened. As I began to research, I found that Selena Gomez is in a band. I think this is quite clever and different of her, really. It caught my attention, anyway. So, props to Selena & The Scene for doing something different (other than being in a band) and putting out an actually good “Disney” song. It is truly a guilty pleasure.