Selena Gomez may only be 22 but she’s packed more into those young years than many people manage in a lifetime. Starting off her career as an actress at 10 years old alongside Demi Lovato in Barney & Friends, Gomez established herself as a popular TV actress before making a transition to music. In 2009, Gomez launched her band Selena Gomez & The Scene who went on to release 3 studio albums before going on hiatus in 2012 so Gomez could concentrate on her acting career and record a solo album. In 2013 Gomez released her debut solo album Stars Dance, which sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
Recently Gomez released For You, her first hits collection that features the singles released as a solo artist along with her work as Selena Gomez & The Scene. For You also includes two new recordings including current single The Heart Wants What It Wants, which opens the album.
The highlights on the album include the electro-pop gem Love You Like A Love Song and the self-empowerment anthem Who Says. Both recorded with The Scene, the tracks showcase Gomez at her best as a musician. She doesn’t have the strongest voice but when given a strong melody she really shines. The standout moment comes on her debut solo single Come & Get It which is a song we’re sure J.Lo would have killed to record. Mixing Bollywood beats with pop rhythms the song certainly made people take notice of Gomez and gave her the biggest hit of her career to date.
A lot of the material on For You falls into the middling category. Many of the tracks could have been recorded by many a pop starlet and Gomez hasn’t really identified a strong identity for herself as a musician. The closest she’s got is on The Heart Wants What It Wants, which is a rare moment of emotional honesty with an affecting vocal to back it up. Songs such as Tell Me Something I Don’t Know and Round and Round are adequate enough pop songs but they don’t leave a lasting impression.
The moments where Gomez pays homage to her Hispanic heritage (Mas and Bidi Bidi Bom Bom – a virtual duet with the late Selena) suggest that she could try her hand at a full Spanish-language album somewhere down the line. The softness of her voice suits the gentle Spanish rhythms well.
Do It, the second of the album’s new tracks, closes the album and whilst it’s a sweet enough song it doesn’t have the impact that The Heart Wants What It Wants has.
For You is a mixed bag of an album. Gomez is still very young and she’s yet to find a musical identity she can call her own. For You feels like an attempt to try out everything and see what fits best. There’s nothing wrong with that but in the years to come we hope Gomez carves out her own sound so she can truly come into her own as an artist.