A Year Without Rain is Selena Gomez & The Scene's second studio album which was released on September 21, 2010 by Hollywood Records.
- Round & Round 3:06
- A Year Without Rain 3:54
- Rock God 3:09
- Off The Chain 4:04
- Summer's Not Hot 3:06
- Intuition 2:59
- Spotlight 3:31
- Ghost Of You 3:23
- Sick Of You 3:24
- Live Like There's No Tomorrow 4:08
In February 2010 during an interview with MTV about her upcoming second album, Selena Gomez said, "It's kind of different — older — and it's kind of got, like, a reggae sound. She also stated she was unsure of taking on the responsibility of the album's main songwriter, unwanting the added pressure.
She also talked about producers for the album, expressing interest to work with "Naturally" producers, Antonina Armato, Tim James, and Dr. Luke.
Gomez pointed out main goals for the record, which were making sure that she could relate to it, and that the fans could also, stating, "all of those songs are things that I went through, and that's why I put that all together."
Later in an interview with Digital Spy, Gomez gave hints about the album, stating that instead of pulling another single from 2009's "Kiss & Tell" that she looked forward to moving into the next album, which would be completely different.
Gomez stated that the album was named after the titular single because it was the first song recorded for it and she wanted to base the rest of the work on the song.
She went into further explanation, stating: "I mean, even down from putting the track listing and numbering it, I wanted to make sure I envisioned [fans] putting it in their car or putting it on their iPod and how I wanted them to listen to the record."
According to Gomez, most songs on the album were inspired by the band's dedicated fans, as she stated, "I wish I could give to them, because they mean so much to me."
Calling the album "a feel-good record", Gomez said it has a more dance/techno vibe. She also said that she wanted something with more "meaning and melody, and more empowering lyrics."
About the new techno-leaning, Gomez said that it was inspired by the success of their breakout hit, "Naturally." She explained, "There’s a feeling when I perform that song that I love, so when I was going back in the studio, I had a better understanding of where I wanted to be musically."
In July 2010, Gomez confirmed that an unreleased track co-penned by Katy Perry was given to her, and that Perry also contributed background vocals. She also confirmed the titles of songs "A Year Without Rain" and "Intuition".
On August 17, 2010, she revealed the album's track listing.
"A Year Without Rain" features predominant dance-pop & synthpop characteristics while incorporating Eurodance dancehall and disco influences.
On most tracks, Gomez's vocals contain the Auto-Tune effect. Lyrical content deals with themes of love, freedom, and the joy of living in the moment.
Tim Sendra of Allmusic noted while "Kiss and Tell" was more lighthearted and fun, this album is "more serious lyrically and musically."
Sendra also said where the previous album had a "retro feel" and "plenty of guitars", this work was "totally of the moment", accompanied by Auto-Tune and guest raps.
The album opener "Round & Round" (an upbeat synth-driven song) features a "riding electro groove", while "Summer's Not Hot" has a Eurodance chorus, courtesy of RedOne.
"Spotlight" seems to derive from dancehall; according to Mikael Wood of Billboard, the song does not feature a hook.
The title track, "A Year Without Rain" is a dance ballad that also shows disco music elements, described as "emo".
Eric Bellinger makes an appearance in rap interludes in "Intuition", while Katy Perry sing backing vocals on "Rock God".
"Ghost of You" is another ballad about breakup. The ending track, "Live Like There's No Tomorrow" has been called a power ballad.
"A Year Without Rain" debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 66,154. It was certified gold by the RIAA for shipments of 500,000.
"A Year Without Rain" received generally positive reviews from critics.
Mikael Wood of Billboard stated while the lyrics contain "standard issue tween-pop topics", the effort was an improvement over 2009's "Kiss & Tell", commenting that the production outweighed the lyrical content.
Although noting most songs on the album as "over-produced" dance-pop songs ballads and that Gomez spends most of the record trying to "dig herself out" of vocal effects, Allison Stewart of The Washington Post said at its worst, the album was a marked improvement over the "attitude-heavy", "Kiss & Tell".
Calling Gomez a young version of Katy Perry, Stewart commented, "Disney princesses seem to come along every 15 minutes, but few of them charm like Selena Gomez."
Bill Lamb of About.com reviewed the album saying: "Clearly Selena Gomez and the Scene have evolved musically in the short year that has elapsed since their first album Kiss and Tell... This time around they are immersed in a more polished dance-pop style that moves easily from the glossy midtempo title cut to perky uptempo club tunes. If you have dismissed Selena Gomez as merely a cookie cutter Disney pop princess, it is high time to listen to more of her music and [the music] is likely to change your mind. While not deep, A Year Without Rain is a solid, pleasing pop album.
The Wairarapa Times-Age said in their review of the album, "A Year Without Rain, Selena Gomez & The Scene's second album, is full of dance floor-friendly synth pop, probably more suited to a slightly older set than her teen-targeted TV show, and with less of a rock edge than fellow Disney Stars Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato."
At the end of the review, they listed "Live Like There's No Tomorrow", and the title track "A Year Without Rain" as the two highlights from the album.
MusicOMH gave the album 3 out of 5 stars, stating: "It would be the easiest thing in the world to dismiss A Year Without Rain as a cynical implementation of fan base exploitation; Gomez is, with regards to a certain demographic, a licence to print money. She also, however, boasts an embarrassment of talents, and those talents are more often than not afforded the space to breathe on a solid pop offering."
PortraitMagazine also praised the album, commenting: "Though Selena does seem intent on holding fast to the dance-pop style, with a bit of techno thrown in here and there for good measure, just like she did on her first album, the tracks she's got here are a definite improvement over her previous effort. She's trying out new things and experimenting a little with her sound. I was actually able to listen to this album all the way through without getting a migraine, which, I'm sorry to say, I couldn't do on her first. Because I think that she is such a talented person, I can't be happier with this album. Yes, there are a few tracks that, now that I've heard them, I don't really care to listen to again, but overall, this is a great album."
Allmusic praised the album as well, stating: "A Year Without Rain is similar in many ways but also very different in some important ways. Where Kiss was lighthearted and fun, Year is less fun and more serious both lyrically and musically. It feels like someone in her camp decided that it was time to position Gomez as more grown up, time to leave behind the sunny, good-time appeal and get a little more 'real'."