Stars Dance is Selena Gomez's debut solo studio album that was released on July 19, 2013 by Hollywood Records.
- Birthday 3:20
- Slow Down 3:30
- Stars Dance 3:37
- Like A Champion 2:55
- Come & Get It 3:51
- Forget Forever 4:11
- Save The Day 3:52
- B.E.A.T. 3:04
- Write Your Name 3:16
- Undercover 3:53
- Love Will Remember 3:30
In January 2012, Selena Gomez announced that she would put her music career on hold in order to focus on her acting career, and that the band would be taking a hiatus.
According to Gomez: "My band and I are going our separate ways for a while. This year is all about films and acting and I want my band to play music wherever with whoever. We will be back but, it will be a good while."
Despite her earlier statements, Gomez first confirmed in October 2012 that work had begun on an upcoming album, and later said it would be her solo debut album, rather than her band's fourth album.
Gomez announced in March that the album's lead single would be released the following month, and that the album would follow that summer.
On April 15th, she revealed plans of her first world tour known as the Stars Dance Tour. She officially confirmed on June 3rd that the album would be titled "Stars Dance" and also revealed the album's track listing and cover art.
On her return to music, Gomez stated: "I miss it. I want to be able to write about things I've never talked about before and tell a story with this album, because I've never actually had time to go in and do that."
For the album, she made it with production team The Cataracs as well as Stargate. She also worked with Rock Mafia on numerous tracks on the album, having previously worked with them on previous singles with The Scene.
For the album, Gomez attempted to have more creative control over her music, stating "It's definitely the hardest I have ever worked on a record, that's for sure. I wanted to have more creative control over the album's direction."
Jason Evigan, who worked with Gomez on the album, said: "She's not a little girl anymore. She wants to be like that and be respected like the great pop artists out there [...] And I think she is. I think this album is really gonna blossom her into a new realm of electronic pop dance artist."
Prior to the album's release, Gomez announced she would be taking a musical hiatus after "Stars Dance", commenting: "I've been saying that I worked really hard on this record and I feel like it might be my last one for a while [...] I definitely love acting and I love film and I don't feel like I've done enough of that."
Following the album's announcement, numerous sources began claiming that the majority of the album was written about Gomez's relationship with Bieber.
These rumors continued to rise in popularity following the release of "Come & Get It" and prompted Gomez to confirm that the song was not about Bieber. However, Gomez later said that the song "Love Will Remember" is about her relationship with Bieber.
She revealed the song was "the most personal track on the record", and added, "I think it's a sweet way of releasing it. It's not an aggressive approach to what people are probably expecting. I'm sure he'll love it too."
The song "Birthday" was the first song recorded for the album.
Gomez has listed "Forget Forever" as one of her favorite tracks on the album saying, "It's a really beautiful song. It has meaning behind it and it was a really special time in the studio. I got to be with the writers and just enjoy being in that moment. That was a really fun emotional song for me to sing but then I just kind of wanted to dance after I released it because it felt like I got to release this feeling that I had and it's a beautiful song."
She later spoke of "Forget Forever" by stating "It's forgetting all the troubles, about the past, just enjoying everything else."
Jennifer Lopez wanted to record the song "Save the Day" for her 2013 album, but failed to get it from Gomez.
"Come & Get It" was initially recorded by Rihanna for her sixth studio album; however, she decided against using the song.
The album opens with "Birthday", a electropunk song which contains sparse drums, trap snares and vocal chants.
It has been described by Julia Rubin of Headlines and Global News as a "candy-coated, clap-happy club anthem with plenty of girl power and sex appeal, much like a bubblegum version of Rihanna's 'Cockiness (Love It)'."
"Slow Down" is a high-octane, uptempo dance-pop and EDM song that has been described as "wobbly club thumper" by Robert Copsey of Digital Spy. It features a dubstep chorus, funk guitars, a four on the floor beat, and a spoken word outro.
Lyrically, the song speaks of "slowing down the song" so the party doesn't end.
"Stars Dance" is a "breathy and sultry" dubstep song which contains an orchestral-dubstep beat.
According to Rubin, "Gomez's soft voice takes center stage over sexy synth-beats, icy choruses and wallowing melodies." It has also received comparisons to the works of Britney Spears.
"Like a Champion" is a dancehall song with influences of funk, reggae, and soca music and features Gomez singing the song in a Bajan accent. The song has received heavy comparisons to the works of Rihanna, with critics noting the song's breezy and carefree vocal delivery.
"Come & Get It" is a tribal electropop and popstep song, which contains a Bhangra beat, sonic drops, and influences of Indian music. Lyrically, the song is about female lover's attempts to rekindle a previously ended romance.
"Forget Forever" is a dance-pop and synthpop song which contains an EDM beat and house music breakdowns. Lyrically, the song is about a breakup.
Sam Lansky of Idolator said the song is an "electrifying dance-pop banger with a monolithically great chorus and a storming, anthemic beat, plus a big house break."
Nate Jones of Popdust called the song "bright and expansive", going onto say that Gomez's vocals "fly over an EDM beat that can't help getting us ready for summer."
"Save the Day" is a "thumping" Latin pop and house music song.
"B.E.A.T." is a "sexy" urban hip hop song who samples the chorus of Dev' song, "Bass Down Low." It is described by Jon O'Brien of Yahoo! Music as "minimal spoken word electro."
Christina Drill of Popdust said the song was "infectious and definitely racier than usual for Selena (the chorus: 'It's a big bad world but I'm not ashamed / I like the lights in my hand and the beat in my face')".
"Write Your Name" has been described as an "exotic" sounding electronic dance and house music song. The song contains elements of dubstep.
O'Brien of Yahoo! Music said that: "Forget Forever' and 'Write Your Name' both manage to tiptoe into 'hands in the air' territory without succumbing to the usual Guetta-style bombast."
"Stars Dance" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling 97,000 copies during its first week of release.
"Stars Dance" received mixed reviews from music critics.
Positive remarks went toward the overall production of the album, as well as its lyrics and Gomez's vocals. Mixed reviews went towards her inability to create her own musical identity; she was also compared to singer Rihanna on several occasions.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 59, which indicates "mixed or average reviews"
Tim Sendra from Allmusic awarded the album three-and-a-half stars out of five. As he pointed out "Slow Down", "Save the Day" and "Undercover" as highlights, he said "Selena's reliably strong vocals and the variety of sounds, it adds up to be another fine entry in her catalog and just another example of why Selena Gomez is one of the best pop stars making music in 2013."
Stephen Unwin from Express.co.uk compared the new effort to Vanessa Hudgens and said "Both [Gomez and Hudgens] have now turned their attention to themes of a more adult nature, this new album of Selena's being one of them and she's just about pulled it off."
Two Guardian reviews were issued. The first, observed by Kitty Empire, awarded the album three stars out of five. Conversely, the second Guardian review, observed by Hermione Hoby, was mixed and awarded it two stars out of five.
She clarified that "if she really wants to be considered a grown-up pop star, Selena Gomez is going to have to find some better hit-makers." She compared the work, including "Like a Champion", to Rihanna.
August Brown from the Los Angeles Times found that the album was "the kind of album one makes in 2013 if you want to keep the pop sugar of the Disney tween cabal but mix in some broken glass and a club bathroom nosebleed. Its productions are rooted in today's pop-EDM default mode [...]"
Natalie Palmer from Entertainmentwise took perspective of other critics and commentators, saying the album should have been praised for "trying something new."
She discussed "'Stars Dance' isn't what you would expect from a girl who was once a Disney princess. Many often go for the bubblegum pop or the angry rock chick but the 21-year-old has opted for an edgier genre and a unique sound."
Matthew Horton from Virgin Media awarded the album two stars. He criticized her "lack of personality" in most songs and felt her vocal abilities on the album "doesn't help". He concluded saying "It's all too identikit, [and] could be anyone with a grasp of average dance-pop".
Simon Price from The Independent awarded one star out of the five, criticizing the lack of effort saying that "Even given these facts, it's a pop record, which means one killer track would redeem everything. Predictably enough, it never comes."
Ron Harris from The Huffington Post felt the album did not live up to expectations, citing Gomez as a "vibrant young woman of Disney pedigree [who] simply punched the clock and worked through an already cooked musical plot foisted upon her. Gomez might be an incredibly talented and interesting person with much to offer artistically, but we'll never find out at this rate."
He also found the album to have less personality than her previous records with The Scene.