Selena Gomez & the Scene – Love You Like a Love Song
If there is one truth that is universal, it is this: everyone wants to be a Disney princess. Blessed with radiant beauty, unmatched power, a spectacular wardrobe and adoring suitors and fans, who wouldn’t want to be Jasmine, Elsa or Cinderella? And it isn’t just animated heroines: the Magic Kingdom has also created real-life flesh and blood princesses, ones that command high salaries, date teen idols, take leaves of absence for “exhaustion” and star in their own network tv shows. What’s not to like and covet?
Three of these real-life princesses – all blessed with mystical and magical names – have also proven to be remarkably successful and durable pop singers. There’s Demi Lovato, she of the royally-streaked hair, confident stature, and smokey-voiced pop anthems like Cool for the Summer and Give Your Heart a Break. Then there’s her majesty Miley Cyrus, Disney’s own Princess Stephanie, with her rebellious attitude, sassy demeanor, and far-reaching kingdom of hits like Wrecking Ball and The Climb. And finally there’s the most alluring and mysterious Disney pop princess of all: HRH Selena Gomez.
Gomez first entered the public consciousness and the Disney empire via television, winning a recurring role on the Disney Channel and Cyrus’ smash hit series Hannah Montana in 2007. But it was her role as Alex Russo in The Wizards of Waverly Place that made her a star. In the series, she played a teenage daughter in a family of wizards that ran a restaurant in Greenwich Village in New York City. The series ran for four seasons and was one of the biggest hits in the history of the Disney Channel. The success of the show also prompted rumors that Gomez and Cyrus, the two biggest stars on the network, were engaged in an ongoing feud. Naturally, both denied this – the Disney kingdom was big enough for more than one princess. In this case, of course, both princesses also wanted to be pop music stars. A recording career for Gomez was inevitable.
Gomez’s first foray into the music world came through her recording of the theme song for Wizards of Waverly Place, a perky ditty titled Everything is Not What it Seems. She then recorded a series of Disney-related tunes (a cover of Cruella de Vil, the song Fly to Your Heart from the animated film Tinker Bell) which led to her signing to Hollywood Records, the pop-music wing of the Disney family. Through this deal, Gomez put together her band – the Scene – and the group released their first album in August 2009. While the first single from the album – Falling Down – was a bomb, the second – Naturally – was a US top 40 and a UK top 10. Her second album followed in the same pure pop vein, and produced a couple of mid-charting US hits, Round and Round and A Year Without Rain.
For her next album, When the Sun Goes Down, Gomez wanted her songs to have a more “adult” vibe. Disney/Hollywood, however, understandably did not want to alienate her young audience, and so the first single from the album – Who Says – stayed in the pure pop lane. The album’s second single, Love You Like a Love Song was, on the other hand, a revelation.
A slinky, sexy, fever-pitched techno dance-pop anthem, Love You Like a Love Song is sonically and lyrically worlds away from Gomez’s previous teeny-bop hits. With a mature theme of musical devotion, an incredibly catchy beat and instantaneously memorable hooks, the song cruises and bops along for three minutes and forty seconds like a sleek pop convertible (albeit one driving on re-peat-peat-peat, as the lyrics remind us). The song was Gomez’s first true-blue radio hit in the US and established her “adult” musical persona, which then led to even more risqué hits like Come and Get It and her escape from the Disney musical castle for her current musical home, Interscope (home of Eminem and Lady Gaga, among other more “mature” artists).
In the UK, however, Love You Like a Love Song sputtered to a dreary no.58. In fact, her current solo album – which has generated an arguable imperial US run of three US top 10s and radio no.1s (Good For You, Same Old Love, Hands to Myself) – has yet to produce a single UK top 10. It could be that unlike the US, the UK already has its own princesses, but frankly, I think Selena would beat Beatrice and Eugenie in any battle for pop culture supremacy.
Entered chart: 30/7/2011
Chart peak: 58
Weeks on chart: 5
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Only another Disney princess, please. Miley or Demi, this one requires your royal touch (*cough* Cher Lloyd *cough* – Ed).