Apparently Selena Gomez wasn't quite ready to leave the neon-splattered emotional hellscape of "Spring Breakers" just yet. The first sounds one hears on her sassy new album are an oxygen-sucking sub-bass, trap snares and a note to her fellow party nihilists that she only parties this hard on her birthday (and every day is her birthday). It's almost as good as having shorts in every color.
"Stars Dance" is exactly the kind of album one makes in 2013 if you want to keep the pop sugar of the Disney tween cabal but mix in some broken glass and a club bathroom nosebleed. Its productions are rooted in today's pop-EDM default mode, but as that stuff goes, "Slow Down" is pretty capable, and the bhangra-appropriating "Come & Get It" is guilelessly silly enough to work.
Gomez is a resolutely average vocalist, but "Stars Dance" is like getting a piña colada the size of a basketball chucked at your head from a St. Petersburg hotel balcony. To be honest, that's kind of hitting the spot this summer.
Two and a half stars