Friday, January 22nd, 2021

Selena Gomez – De Una Vez

Only one of us mentions her namesake…


Al Varela: So soon after my middling score for “Boyfriend”, Selena Gomez finally gives me a really good song to latch on to! Spanish is evidently not her first language, but her sultry voice over Tainy’s phenomenal production makes her music so much more engaging while taking advantage of her softer voice and not making any drastic changes. She could have done a bit more to really make this song click, but it’s still an excellent song.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Prettier than Princesa Alba’s best tracks, and more tender than anything Gomez has done her entire career. As she sings about getting over an ex, every guitar melody and rim click drips with an underlying sense of longing. She’s over it, but she’s ready for the future, for the past to stop coloring her present. “De Una Vez” is short but feels the perfect length: Gomez expresses a deep melancholy, but doesn’t want it to linger for much longer.

Katherine St Asaph: Somewhere between Latin dreampop and Latin Disney, but eludes either genre like gas does your grasp. Might just be the language barrier, too, but it’s nice to hear a Gomez single that doesn’t rely on the alluring-vulnerability act.

Alfred Soto: She doesn’t sound “better” in Spanish so much as more elegantly moody, and she floats over this piece of shiny silk like Lana Del Rey with inferior song titles. Tougher material suits her.

Juana Giaimo: I have two memories of English-speaking artists singing in Spanish before reggaeton took over the world. At the end of the ’90s, many pop artists did Spanish versions of their hit singles. I guess record labels realized it was an easy way to win the Latin American market (and I actually enjoy some of these versions more than the original ones). I also remember that in 2009, Nelly Furtado released Mi plan, an album in Spanish where she explored different genres just because she loves Latin pop music, releasing a few singles that did well in the continent. It was a risky move considering it would have been expected she’d make Loose 2. When I listen to Selena Gomez’s “De una vez”, I’m conflicted. On one hand, I hear that genuine interest of Nelly Furtado to connect to the Latin American public. The song almost seems like an interlude but it doesn’t need to be longer, because it’s like the introduction to a new era. I like how delicate it is (the reggaeton beat isn’t invasive and the guitar is warm), but also how her voice is stronger than ever, finally getting rid of that whispery tone. I don’t want to question her connection to her roots, but at the same time I wonder why she is doing it now and not before and I can’t avoid thinking, “Oh, another pop star wanting to jump on the trend.”

Aaron Bergstrom: It’s always a fool’s errand to act like we really know anything about an artist’s motives, but on the heels of a rash of bloodless, transparent attempts to chase that sweet, sweet Latinx crossover cash, it’s refreshing to see an artist who honestly seems more interested in exploring her cultural heritage than opening up a new market segment. “De Una Vez” might not elevate Gomez to the status of her namesake just yet, but it has a pleasantly organic quality to it, a warm and inviting meditation on healing that seems to shed emotional baggage as it goes.

Rachel Saywitz: Elegiac and graceful, the brush of synths in “De Una Vez”‘ first few seconds lead to a slow reggaeton groove that continues to build upon itself with echoing guitars and a slight crescendo. A soft whisper of a track that complements Gomez’ voice more than any song she’s put out in recent years. It’s a beauty to listen to. 

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