The fourth album from battle-scarred Disney princess Gomez finds her flying solo without the prop of her band, The Scene. However, she is not quite alone; the list of production and writing personnel on Stars Dance reads like the credits for a Hollywood summer blockbuster, not that they bring anything other than vapid pop rave to the party. Which is just how it should be for any self-improving 21-year-old industry multi-tasker. It all flies by in a giddy, calorific sugar rush of day-glo pop and party anthems influenced by Skrillex, factory-floor electronica and techno. And yes, there is a song about her on-off fella, popular global irritant Justin Bieber. Gomez has signalled her entry into the adult world with recent movie Spring Breakers but her music remains strictly 12-rated; the sugar and spice free Rihanna lite of Like a Champion, complete with Bajan accent, is simply embarrassing. The shrill, hyperventilating Undercover does have a certain charm and the mid-tempo Love Will Remember is clearly about the Biebs but Gomez can’t have been expected to purge her tainted psyche like Christina Perri did on the near-perfect Jar of Hearts. Then again, Selena and Justin were never exactly Taylor and Burton now were they?


Alan Corr