The year is 2017. The republic is being held together by popsicle sticks and glue. But there’s still one thing on the horizon to provide us with breathy hope in bleak times: the return of the artist known as Selena Marie Gomez, born Selegendary Gomezmerizing.
Selenita, former frontwoman of experimental nu-metal troupe Selena Gomez & The Scene, went away for much of the second half of 2016 to deal with a whole host of personal issues brought on by her lupus diagnosis.
“It Ain’t Me” with Kygo — her first release of 2017, and her first since last May’s “Kill ‘Em with Kindness” (apart from a feature on Cashmere Cat‘s “Trust Nobody” in November) — is a welcome return.
Led by a dreamy guitar, the Spanish And A Baby pop princess nostalgically reflects on a relationship gone awry once her former flame became too lost in the sauce. (Relatable.)
Be the the influence of her new boyfriend The Weeknd or simply a sign of SelGo getting older and ‘going there’ with her maturing audience, the lyrics are a bit darker than, say, “Sick Of You.”
“I had a dream / We were sipping whisky neat / Highest floor, the bowery / And I was high enough…”
Before Selena can start feeling too “Sorry” (eh heh…) for herself, the defiant pre-drop provides some bite — and some singalong-friendly chanting: “Who’s gonna walk you through the dark side of the morning? / Who’s gonna rock you when the sun won’t let you sleep? / Who’s waking up to drive you home when you’re drunk and all alone?”
Answer? “It ain’t me.” And…beat drop.
Is “It Ain’t Me” the most forward-thinking production? No! Not at all. In fact, Selena’s hopping on a long overdone trend of big verses, pre-drops and stuttering “trop-pop” beat-driven choruses — stretching all the way back to Avicii‘s “Wake Me Up” to some of the Norwegian DJ’s own earlier stuff all the up to that of the GRAMMY®-Award winning duo, The Chainsmokers.
It’s been long established that Selena isn’t the vocal powerhouse of the new generation of ex-Disney pop princesses, but she emotes in a way that is undeniably compelling — especially when there’s a bit of agony involved. (See also: “The Heart Wants What It Wants.”) These verses are, similarly, captivating.
We’ll give Selena Gomez a pass for not being particularly sonically innovative this time around because 1.) the song is marketed in the press release as “the new single from Kygo with Selena Gomez” and “a stand-alone track” — so not her own lead single 2.) Revival inspired Glory (Britney’s own words!) 3.) the beat drop is primarily made up of the words “Bowery” and “whiskey neat,” which is neat and 4.) it’s still really good after an hour on steady rotation, so whatever.
Just don’t expect Selena to come pick you up the next time you get obliterated. Call a Lyft and get it together already, you mess.
“It Ain’t Me” was released on February 16. (iTunes)