Sunday, October 2, 2016

For You Illustrates The Inconsistent Musical Career Of Selena Gomez!

The Good: A couple fun songs, Hints of vocal prowess
The Bad: Short, Unremarkable remixes, Lame dance tracks, Overproduced
The Basics: For You is a surprisingly unremarkable compilation album for Selena Gomez & The Scene!

It has been a long time since I chose an Artist Of The Month and managed to get through the entire library of that artist's works in the month. I chose Selena Gomez as my September Artist Of The Month and immersed myself in her works - both as a solo artist and with her earlier works with her band The Scene. I am capping off my musical exploration of the works of Selena Gomez with her compilation For You and putting in that album made me realize that before the month of study began, I had only heard two singles from Selena Gomez. The second song I (apparently) knew coming into the month was the track produced explicitly for For You, the single "The Heart Wants What It Wants." If my previous experience is any indication, by the third track of For You the average listener who heard the works of Selena Gomez on the radio will have their familiarity with the works on the compilation album exhausted.

For You follows a fairly new trend in compilation albums - especially when those conglamorated albums are released early in the career of the musical artist - in that it does not simply include the standard studio releases for all of the songs. Instead, several of the songs are remixes and there is at least one Spanish language version of a previously-released track. As well, For You is a blend of songs from Selena Gomez's solo work and her work as the lead singer for Selena Gomez & The Scene.

With fifteen songs clocking out at 51:52, For You is actually longer than many of Selena Gomez's other albums. Selena Gomez is the lead singer on all of the tracks, but she had limited creative control over For You. Gomez co-wrote only two of the songs, she does not play any instruments on the album and was not credited as producing any of the songs. As a result, For You mostly showcases Selena Gomez's talents as a performer.

Most of the songs on For You are culled from Selena Gomez's dance hits, despite opening with the ballad "The Heart Wants What It Wants" and including the more inspirational anthem "Who Says." The bulk of the musical accompaniment for Selena Gomez on For You is fairly generic dance-pop and some of the songs are catchy, like "Love You Like A Love Song," but others are entirely forgettable like "Round & Round."

Vocally, For You manages to pick some decent songs that showcase some of Selena Gomez's singing talents. Gomez has decent range and can sing pretty fast and articulately on some of her song. But there are very few songs that allow Selena Gomez to explore her range and are produced to have a natural quality that plays well to the earnest quality of the lyrics she sings. "The Heart Wants What It Wants" is an excellent example of a song where the vocals have minimal production elements infused to obscure or alter Selena Gomez's voice; "My Dilemma 2.0" is an excellent example of how a song can be produced to make the instrumental accompaniment compete with the vocals.

Lyrically, most of the songs are about relationships, including "The Heart Wants What It Wants." To be fair, For You illustrates well how unfortunate it is that Selena Gomez is not more involved in the creative side of her own works. When Gomez sings the lines "The bed's getting cold and you're not here / The future that we hold is so unclear / But I'm not alive until you call / And I'll bet the odds against it all / Save your advice 'cause I won't hear / You might be right but I don't care / There's a million reasons why I should give you up / But the heart wants what it wants" ("The Heart Wants What It Wants"), which she co-wrote, it illustrates a real lyrical talent.

Usually, with a compilation album, I come to a point where I either recommend it as a substitute for the albums that it compiles from (there is a Fleetwood Mac compilation album, for example, that makes Tango In The Night irrelevant by including all of its great tracks without any of its filler!) or point out that it is just a cashgrab that unimaginatively puts together most of the material that other albums already possessed. With For You, I find myself at the odd position of feeling neither. Indeed, at least until the point where For You was produced, the entire musical career of Selena Gomez has seemed like a cashgrab lacking in creativity. The compilation came far too early in the career of Selena Gomez to be only her essential works and while "The Heart Wants What It Wants" is a decent song, it is not enough to justify paying for the filler and familiar tracks that follow it.

The best songs are "The Heart Wants What It Wants" and "Who Says;" "Forget Forever" (Remix) is probably the low point of For You.

For other works with Selena Gomez, please visit my reviews of:
The Fundamentals Of Caring
Revival (Deluxe Edition)
The Big Short
Hotel Transylvania 2
Behaving Badly
Stars Dance
Hotel Transylvania
When The Sun Goes Down - Selena Gomez & The Scene
A Year Without Rain - Selena Gomez & The Scene
Kiss & Tell - Selena Gomez & The Scene
Horton Hears A Who!


For a comrehensive listing of all of my music reviews, please check out my Music Review Index Page where the artists and their albums are easily organized!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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