Selena Gomez makes the Stars Dance

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The stars are aligning…and dancing…for 21 year old Selena Gomez’s fourth and possibly final studio album release, Stars Dance. Allow me to begin by saying that this is a dance album, with electronic pop, dance, dubstep inspired tracks. If you are expecting something different or groundbreaking, you won’t find it here. But if you were generally pleased with Selena’s previous musical efforts, (her sophomore dance track filled album A Year Without Rain especially) than Stars Dance will do it for you. Before you pick up your copy on July 23, check out this track by track review of the album brought to you by a girl who has had Selena Gomez herself touch her right arm in one of those awkward side hug…Yeah, I’m pretty legit.

Birthday:

The album begins with this upbeat, definitely dubstep inspired track, that celebrates the cliché variety of partying that only a Birthday can justify, which for recently turned 21 Selena is perfect. In the track, Selena taunts: “Tell ‘em that it’s my birthday” at least a hundred times, and wants you to “blow your dreams away with me”….Let’s play a game shall we? How many sexual innuendos can we find in hidden throughout this album. Ready?….Go. *Cue the never-ending awkward moaning in the background of this track.*

Slow Down:

As Selena’s second single, this track is a nice follow-up to the beaten like a dead horse Come and Get It. Dubstep breakdown and all, this is another upbeat dance track (like the entire album is). My favorite line of this entire song would have to be: “I’m good with mouth to mouth resuscitation, breathe me in breathe me out” (Clever Gomez, clever). The only annoying part of this song are the  shout outs to music producers “The Cataracts”. It makes me think of an eye condition, which is gross.

Stars Dance:

I absolutely love how this track begins. I’m a sucker for strings, so the orchestral opening was refreshing. The lyrics for this song are also really pretty, and almost haunting. “I can make the stars dance/Light up the moon/I can make the stars dance for you…” “Everything I touch turns to love…” SO pretty. This song is just very Selena. It’s the kind of song you expect her to sing and has the style that she is known for and executes well. Probably one of my favorites on the album.

Like A Champion:

Selena is a champion….because this song is hella catchy. The intro I could do without, but the beat of this is great. The track has a definite Jamaican/island feel to it that reminds me of a Rihanna song. The song’s just good, catchy, fun. An album standout? No.

Come and Get It:

Everyone on planet Earth, the moon, stars, and Jupiter has heard this damn song, and is now sick of it. Yeah it was good, the video was beautiful but, now we are done with it. Forever. Do you hear me Top 40 radio? DONE. Moving on……..

Forget Forever:

Remember when this song was leaked months ago as “Rule The World”? Yeah me too. A decent song, but very repetitive. I also think Selena should have stuck with the original title for this song instead of “Forget Forever”…it just fits better and makes more sense. Another game can be played with this album, called “What songs are about Justin D-Bag Bieber”. This one most likely is….It’s probably also one of the few songs on the album that isn’t Selena begging to get some (most likely from Bieber). Sorry not sorry. It’s the truth.

Save the Day:

Another one of my favorites from this album. Very upbeat and really catchy lyrics. Repetitive? Yes….but then again isn’t all dance music? The chorus of this song is the best part: “When the night starts slipping away, save the day.”…This song reminds me of when my old Walkman used to skip while playing a CD…”When the night starts slippin” x7481734817348374 times….But good nonetheless.

B.E.A.T.:

This track is all about just that, the beat. This song is a bit all over the place in that the elements change at least 5 times between the Pre-chorus, chorus and verses…The bridge is insane as well, and almost confusing….Good song, just confusing as hell. “Oh my God, this beat is crack, when I do this you do that.”…

Write Your Name:

This song reminds me of how little girls head over heels in love scribble their notebooks full of their wannabe husbands names….Don’t even pretend you haven’t done it too. The lyrics for this song are very pretty, especially in the bridge. Another one of my favorites from the album just because I feel like it is actually something behind all the electro-pop mumbo jumbo….Just as long as Selena is not writing “Bieber” across that heart of hers anytime soon. Don’t do it girl….

Undercover:

This song is HOT. Enough said…Also my absolute favorite on this album. Probably the most mature song on the album as well. I mean what do little kids think Selena is talking about when she says she wants to go “Undercover”….Come on. “Find me in the shadows, and pull the shades down…You don’t need no other lover, we can keep it undercover. I want to find a place where we can be alone in the dark. You can navigate me like a map you know by heart.”…I mean HELLO. The melody of this slays. The lyrics slay. This song just SLAYS this album. PS- Innuendos galore if you are still playing the game…

Love Will Remember:

Selena…..why did you not keep the voicemail intro for the album version? I mean it’s not like we don’t already know who this song is about. Irregardless, this song is for sure the “slow song” of the album, even though it isn’t even that slow or ballad-like. Personally this song just doesn’t do it for me. It sounds like it was made on a Casio from 1987, and the lyrics just aren’t cutting it. Sorry Selly G but I don’t want to hear your Bieber trouble . ”I still don’t know just how we screwed it up.”….Uh I do, Bieber is an idiot. Get back together with Nick Jonas. Ok? Thanks.

BONUS TRACKS:

Nobody Does It Like You:

Are you still playing the game? Good. This earns you about 7541823748 points. Although it’s most likely about Bieber, and considered a bonus track, this is also one of my favorite songs on this album. Favorite lyrics: “I wanna be your bad girl, you bring out my wild side. I wanna be your bad girl, you bring out my dark side.”

Music Feels Better:

This song reminds me of one of those quintessential pop songs from like 2002…but I like it. The pre-chorus and chorus are tickled with just enough production behind Selena to make it fun and poppy. A happy song, happy lyrics. Need a song to drive around with the windows down to? This is it.

UNOFFICIAL BONUS TRACK:

Sad Serenade:

Selena-Why was this not on your album? This song technically isn’t on any version of the album, but was leaked prior to the album release. The lyrics are heartbreaking as they are catchy: “It’s a sad, sad serenade for every broken heart tonight…” Find this online and download it to complete your Stars Dance experience. You’ll be glad you did.

So my overall thoughts on this album are complicated. Is it good? Yes. Do I like it? Yes. Did I pre-order it on iTunes? Yes. But could it have been better? Yes. I know Selena loves doing this type of music, and I know she is good at it and it works for her voice. But for this album I was almost wishing she would have done more of a revert back to traditional pop music and roots. Real instruments and less production, almost like “Who Says” style of music from her previous album. I also have an uneasy feeling with this upcoming tour of hers. As someone who has seen Selena in concert three times, I KNOW she can sing live, and can sing live well. But with these tracks, and all the choreography she has planned for this tour, I have a feeling audiences will be watching a dance recital set to backing tracks, while Selena lip-syncs into a sparkly headset microphone. No hate. No shade. Just truth.I just think that as a “final album”, Selena could have ended the musical aspect of her career a bit better. Regardless, the tracks on this album are very catchy, very fun and very upbeat. I know I, along with many other Selena fans will have these songs stuck in our heads for a while. Pick up a copy of the album July 23rd.

Rating: 7.5 bows out of 10.

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Ariana Grande makes you say Baby I

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One thing that Ariana Grande is doing right with her music career is she is taking risks. Doing things that no other artist now has done, or is even capable to do. That being said, THIS SONG IS PERFECT! The throwback 90s sound to this track is reminiscent of her first single “The Way”, and is just so refreshing to hear on Top 40 radio once again. And as many others have before, I’m also going to make the Mariah comparison. I mean those whistle tones?! Name one other artist out right not besides Mariah and Ariana that can whistle tone like she does in this track and “The Way”….Just amazing. “Baby, I” was released July 22nd on iTunes at midnight, and is in the #2 position, meaning that Ariana now has not only one, but TWO songs in the top 20 on iTunes at the moment with “The Way” as well. Ariana Grande’s upcoming album is titled “Yours Truly” and has a release date of September 3rd, and has been three years in the making. Seriously, fans of throwback, authentic R&B/Pop goodness, do yourself a favor and get “Baby, I” on iTunes right now-Like now. It also sounds best when you’re wearing a giant pink bow, but that’s just my opinion.

 

Rating: 10 bows out of 10

 

Pop Project Featured Artist: Ariana Grande

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Ah yes…Let us discuss one of my favorite people in the world (aside from Demi that is)…Ariana Grande. If you have not yet heard of this 19, soon to be 20 year old powerhouse of talent, then you’ve probably been living under a rock.

Ariana Grande is a singer/actress best known for her role as the redheaded, very “special”, spunky Cat Valentine on the beloved Nickelodeon comedy Victorious.  Grande portrayed the role of Cat on the show from 2010 until the show’s abrupt end in early 2013.

Now….Ariana is no one trick pony, and neither is her hair. She ditches the red locks when she is not playing Cat, and is hard at work on her music career. Let me tell you…this girl can SING. Think voices of angels, mixed with Mariah Carey, and a dash of fierceness and power of some of the oldschool female “greats” in music…That’s Ariana. Don’t believe me? Check out her Youtube channel, “ohsnapitzari”, and take a listen to some of her covers and acapella work, (her “Emotions” cover anyone? Crazyness,), as well as her recent collaboration with singer Mika.

Ariana has recently released her hit single “The Way” featuring Mac Miller.  The song has routinely been in outstanding standing on the charts, as well as received positive feedback and love from mainstream radio play.  Her debut album, reportedly titled “Daydreamin’” or “Honeymoon Avenue” as of recently, is scheduled to drop in August under Republic Records.

Upcoming appearances include Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on June 14th.  As the “Pop Project Featured Artist of the Week”, you KNOW we love her here, and can’t wait for her upcoming projects. And just between us…let’s just say we think she will make our show even more “popular” in the upcoming season… 😉

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Leave it all to Sam & Cat to Make it Shine!

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Fans of Nickelodeon’s Victorious and iCarly rejoice! “Sam and Cat” is the network’s newest half-hour comedy series that celebrates the best of both beloved shows, which are now no longer in production (I cry a little every time I think about this fact,).  The show features Jennette McCurdy, and the lovely Ariana Grande.  As Ariana’s #1 fans, we here at The Pop Project can’t get enough of Grande, so we made it our mission to review this spunky new sitcom for you.

Grande portrayed the role of Cat on Victorious from 2010 until the show’s abrupt end in early 2013.  Fans of the show were devastated and downright outraged by the show’s conclusion, or lack thereof.  It has been said in the interwebs that the show’s end could be attributed to a certain lead actress’s decision to do a solo concert tour, abandoning her cast for her own personal glory…but that’s an irrelevant story. I mean…Victoria who?…

As Victorious came to a close, avid Nickelodeon viewers held on to their adoration for the loveable character Cat, as well as the badass, brash, and unapologetically hilarious character of Sam Puckett (Jennette McCurdy) from iCarly, which had also come to an end three months prior to Victorious. So what happened next? Dan Schneider, creator of basically every single hit sitcom Nickelodeon has ever had cooking in his “bakery”, whipped up a fresh concept to satisfy the hunger of the crazed Victorious and iCarly fans. Behold, Sam and Cat was born.

The show premiered on June 8th, 2013, and let’s just say it did more than live up to my expectations.  The show features Sam Puckett and Cat Valentine, who are roommates who start up their own babysitting service.  Enter in a slew of colorful characters such as Cat’s eccentric Nonna, and neighbor kid “Dice”, as well as the babysitting clientele, and it makes for a hilarious and quintessential “Dan Schneider” masterpiece that is sure to satisfy fans of the previous shows, as well as new audiences.  The premiere episode begins with Sam rescuing Cat from a garbage truck,as bizarre as that sounds. It actually makes for a whimsical and logical opening when you consider the characters involved here.  Other notable moments from the episode include “Elderly Acres”, where we find Cat’s Nonna playing Twister and old people getting chicken wing tattoo (Yep. Totally normal in Dan Schneider’s world). The best part of the episode for me has to be the onscreen dynamic between Ariana and Jennette.  Their comedic timing is impeccable, and their offbeat chemistry somehow works perfectly despite the vast differences in their characters.  Cat herself said it best in the episode:

“We sort of have this whole, fun odd couple dynamic, with built-in conflict, and lots of potential for more adventures…”

As a self-proclaimed Victorious fanatic, and wannabe Cat Valentine, I for one cannot wait to see what adventures are in store for Sam and Cat this summer in what is sure to be yet another hit sitcom for the network.

Be sure to check out Sam and Cat every Saturday at 8pm on Nickelodeon.

 

Rating: 5 Mr. Purple Giraffes out of 5

Want even more fun? Check out Dan Schneider’s blog for exclusive “Fun Facts” about the debut episode of Sam and Cat!