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Album review: Selena Gomez, "A Year Without Rain"

selena gomezSelena Gomez positions herself as the Disney equivalent of Katy Perry. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

By Allison Stewart

Disney princesses seem to come along every 15 minutes, but few of them charm like Selena Gomez, the serene and adorable star of the Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place," who resembles a pint-size Snow White ordered out of a Delia's catalog.

"A Year Without Rain," the 18-year-old's second release with her backing band, the Scene, cleaves to a familiar Disney formula: Match the girl of the moment to the pop craze of six months ago. Before she went rogue, Miley Cyrus was a Britney/Avril pop avatar. Demi Lovato went the "authentic" John Mayer singer-songwriter route. On "Rain," Gomez is positioned as a younger, more chaste incarnation of Katy Perry, with the dead-inside electro-pop tracks to prove it.

Nieman Marcus PR manager Liberty Jones likes Bat for Lashes and Beirut.

"Rain" clatters from over-processed dance-pop song to over-produced ballad and back. It's heavy on glitched-out vocals and bubble gum, dance floor workouts, light on melody and memorable hooks. Perry can't save the awkward "Rock God" (which she co-wrote and sings on), but at least it's an improvement over the title track, the sort of exercise in teenage co-dependence ("I need you by my side/Don't know how I'll survive") that should be long extinct.

Even at its worst, "Rain" is a marked improvement over Gomez's attitude-heavy debut, "Kiss and Tell," although it's otherwise the most synthetic of synth-pop discs. Gomez makes the best of it, but she spends most of the disc trying to dig herself out from under a mountain of vocal effects so obliterating, it's impossible to tell whether "Rain" squanders her talents or exaggerates them.

Recommended tracks: "Rock God," "Round & Round"

By Allison Stewart  | September 21, 2010; 10:25 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags:  Selena Gomez  
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Next: Album review: John Legend and the Roots, "Wake Up"


hopefully she doesn't turn into a britney spears down the road...

here's a place with some great photos and videos:

Posted by: mikeguy | September 21, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

My daughter and I saw her in concert in Hutchinson, Kansas at our State Fair on Sunday (9/19) ...

In my opinion, Rain "squanders" not "exaggerates" her vocal talents.

Here's why: the title track sounded quite good live and honestly - I had some misgivings beforehand because the first album is a bit "processed."

Additionally, her covers of Pat Benetar's "Love is a Battlefield", Weezer's "Island in the Sun" and Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" were pretty decent.

Also, we were in a position to hear her soundcheck and also had a chance to meet her before the show.

I could hear the power in Selena's voice even as she was just talking to other fans.

As I've been explaining to people - it made me think of an idling Mustang engine ...

Appreciate your good and honest review!

Posted by: juanHMH | September 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I also took my daughter, little cousin and her friend to the show in Hutchinson Kansas. The girls really enjoyed watching/listening to Selena. She sounded pretty good live and had very good stage presence. Much better than on a CD. I have not heard the new CD yet, but plan on buying it for the kids.

Posted by: motherof1 | September 21, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

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