Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Selena Gomez – Back to You

Back to 2013…


Alex Clifton: If “It Ain’t Me” and the folk-pop moment of 2013 had a musical child, it would be “Back to You.” Selena gives us her most delicate vocal here for a  song tinged with regret and hurt. I hate to call it “mature” because that word usually implies “sexy and/or equipped to handle taxes,” and this song doesn’t evoke either mood. But it’s an emotional look at a broken relationship and the willingness to try again, to make those same mistakes in a way that feels true to young adulthood. It’s not as good as “Bad Liar” (although, really, what is) but is also a sight better than “Wolves,” so I’ll take this and wait impatiently until we get that double album we’ve been promised.

Dorian Sinclair: The first verse of ‘Back to You’ is an incredibly strong opener — I love the spare accompaniment and quiet, half-dropped delivery Gomez uses in laying out the beginnings of the story she’s telling. It feels like the listener is being invited to lean in closer to hear what happens next. Unfortunately, that ends up being a chorus with production that feels…pretty uninspired. The second verse does its best to recapture the spark, but can’t quite bring it back to me.

Alfred Soto: The melodies in this Latin-electronic hybrid sound familiar, but Selena Gomez slows down, almost standing apart from the song until the chorus’ stop-start dynamic. 

Abdullah Siddiqui: Recently, there was a slight but palpable shift in Selena Gomez’s musical sensibilities. 2015’s Revival appeared on a few year-end lists, and it signaled artistic growth. Then, last year, came “Bad Liar,” a track that had an unexpectedly less-than-glossy mix, minimalistic production, a Talking Heads interpolation and lyrics that contained a historical reference and a few ten-dollar words. Soon after, her next single (“Fetish”) came with a music video that bordered on avant-garde. For a very brief, glimmering moment in time, Selena Gomez seemed discontent with the clichés of popular music, and there was hope for an equally adventurous full-length release. But with “Back to You,” that moment may have just come to a tragic end. The song does have some things going for it: the crowd-pleasing electronic textures, the nuanced vocal performance, the pumping rhythmicity. But it does not dare to tread an inch of the unexplored. In other words, it is a capable effort, but indistinguishable, bland and ultimately forgettable.

Stephen Eisermann: Selena Gomez was releasing some pretty interesting material last year with “Bad Liar” and “Fetish,” so it’s supremely disappointing to see her revert back to boring guitar heavy dance-pop like this song. I get that the former material didn’t garner the same success, but when you’re an artist as successful as Selena, sometimes suffering on the charts is worth the risk; otherwise, you end up with a catalog full of MOR stuff like, well, this.

Josh Love: The occasional aberration like last year’s great post-punk rip “Bad Liar” or the wine-dark striptease “Good for You” aside, it seems like Gomez’s wheelhouse at least for now is politely melancholic EDM, which hasn’t proven too musically robust but does seem like a strong complement to her equally sultry and sad-eyed vocal persona. Much like “It Ain’t Me,” “Back to You” is underwhelmingly constructed yet still manages to be memorable. Plenty of songs released this year with more impressive tricks won’t stick with me as long as Gomez declaring “I want to hold you when I’m not supposed to.”

Juan F. Carruyo: Finest mall music single of the year. A steady, rolling beat anchors Selena’s fine voice, deep in the captivating verses as it rises to a middling chorus. She should go yacht next time. 

Scott Mildenhall: The market leader in intermittent wonky melodies succeeds once more with her unpredictable undulations, successfully distracting from the thought that this is a bit of a “Save Tonight”/”Wake Me Up” knock-off. In a way, it’s as if the contemporary predilection for funny noises and wobbly drops that has perhaps diminished the role of choruses has now spread into the pre-choruses that serve as a substitute. The next Selena Gomez single will feature no vocal, only the sound of her waving her hands around as if to suggest words in a sort-of Skrillex charades, and still her sadness will be engaging.

Nicholas Donohoue: 13 Reasons Why is a difficult show to parse out praise and criticism to, so Selena Gomez was kind enough to make the lead single for the album accompanying the second season not be about any of the show’s main themes or specific plot. This is an EDM Selena Gomez song more than anything, a more mellow “Wolves” or “It Ain’t Me” with one less credited artist. However, if you take out the contentious elements that is the framing of the song and then make it in the form of prior hits from the same artist, what much do you have? Apparently another song where people speculate how this song is about Selena’s prior relationships, a fate both her and the world deserve better than.

Katherine St Asaph: Everything about this song — the canned acoustica, the uncanny-valley filtering on a supposedly conversational vocal, even the structure, continually late to the beat — is just so leaden and sagging. “Song of the summer” isn’t supposed to mean “lethargic like 90-degree heat.”

Will Rivitz: I mean, “Wake Me Up” wasn’t good in 2013 either.

Reader average: [4.33] (3 votes)

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

3 Responses to “Selena Gomez – Back to You”

  1. baffled at being the low score on this

  2. excuse me! “wake me up” was *extremely* good in 2013. however this song would have been disappointing even then, and i agree with katherine (both blurb and comment).

  3. honestly this song kind of sucks but the opening lines of ‘took you like a shot thought i could chase you with a cold evening let a couple of years water down how i’m feeling about you’ is some wild sad girl shit that deserves a [7] on its own