At just 18 years old, Selena Gomez is a showbiz vet, with a decade-plus in the game. (Before she was a Disney princess, she did dinosaur duets on Barney & Friends.) So it’s no surprise that Gomez’s third album is a very professional affair. The production credits are full of top flight songwriter-producers, and even a couple of starlets. (Britney Spears and Katy Perry get songwriting credits here). The songs are swathed up-to-minute Top 40 sounds — perky electro-pop, tuneful balladry — and they hit the expected notes. There are mildly swaggering kiss-offs (“Bang Bang Bang”), declarations of puppy love (“Love You Like A Love Song”), and self-help pep talks (“Who Says”). Gomez has a hint of raspiness in her singing voice that recalls her beau, Justin Bieber, but she brings nothing in the way of personality to her songs; the swaggering “sex” song “Whiplash” would be comical if it wasn’t so tedious. Gomez may be the most boring teen-pop star of her generation. She makes Ashley Tisdale seem like Lady Gaga.
Listen to “Love You Like A Love Song”: