The lead single from Selena Gomez's second album, For You, smartly follows the lead of stars like Beyoncé and her friend Taylor Swift by employing what I call the escándalo method of pop PR: play into anything that has been or can be remotely promoted without effort (or money) by tabloids, gossip blogs, and/or Ryan Seacrest, the most powerful man in the world.
Gomez, knowing full well that the entirety of America has thoughts and opinions on her love life with former flame/boy Justin Bieber, begins new single "The Heart Wants What It Wants" with what sounds like an emotionally imperiled voicemail outtake. "I'd be feeling so confident and so great about myself," she says, "and it'd be just completely shattered by one thing—by something so stupid. But then you make me feel crazy, and you make me feel like it's my fault." BEEN THERE, GOMEZ, thank you for encapsulating the bulk of my (and probably all of your) relationship in my late teens/early 20s.
Aside from sounding wrought, exhausted, and teary, Gomez also sounds slightly high, which, also can relate. She then launches into a midtempo ballad about being in a shitty relationship but staying in it, despite the "million reasons that I should give you up, because the heart wants what it wah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ants." Good god, I'm glad I'm not 22 anymore. Word up, though, Selena.
Of course, it's a song so many of us can relate to, but also of course, we're gonna be imagining all the "so stupid" things Biebz did to her to inspire this song, because, as she admitted to most powerful man in the world Ryan Seacrest, the song was indeed inspired by Bieboncé. And even the uncreative can imagine a plethora of dumb shit Biebz probably did to Gomez, up to and including: driving recklessly while she was in the vehicle, smoking too much weed, trying too hard in all the wrong ways, and generally being a well-paid, talented chode-baby. She combats this by making out with a goateed-and-sideburned man who looks nothing like Biebz in the video, and crying on-cam.
Without this sordid backstory, the song is all right—a little too reminiscent of Rihanna in its general estilo. This makes me think For You might suffer the same fate of Stars Dance, a truly great album that sounded like an assortment of other artists, yet somehow didn't get bogged down by the mimicry. Unfortunately, Stars Dance was bogged down by her dumb decision to wear a bindi and do "Bollywood" dance moves for "Come & Get It," the first single yet worst song on the album. (Ugh god and that interview where she described its bhangra-inspired beat as having a "Hindu, tribal feel," which aside from being offensive also makes no goddamn sense.)
Despite all this, and my lukewarm feelings towards "The Heart Wants What It Wants," I am freaking psyched for For You because Stars Dance ruled and I mean, did you even HEAR "Birthday"? JAZZ IT UP!