As much as I keep telling myself I don’t like ‘pop tarts,’ for some reason I just keep on forcing myself to like them. Maybe it’s not even so much that I’m trying to like them, but that I enjoy scrutinizing their every move and particularly their miscues. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not talking about those delicious 200 calorie breakfast foods. I’m referring to pop stars, specifically those of a certain age – aka teens, early twenties. In 2013, as a music lover, listener, and musician, pop albums haven’t been in great abundance – well except for that juggernaut called The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake. But, the teen-pop crowd has been in full fruition…so freaking pumped…yeah. Anyways, albums have dropped courtesy of Conor Maynard (Contrast), Cody Simpson (Surfer’s Paradise), Demi Lovato (Demi), Justin Bieber (Believe Acoustic), and Ms. “Come & Get It”, Selena Gomez (Stars Dance). So without a new album from either Adele or Kelly Clarkson to sink our teeth in this year, I guess the pop tarts will have to do.
Enough chatter about breakfast references for pop stars. Two of the aforementioned happen to be friends… or used to be (close enough). Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez both are signed to Hollywood Records and both made impacts during their Disney career – one was with the Jo Bros and another was a wizard, or something. Additionally, both are ‘grown.’ Now that their tween days have come and gone, which artist seems to be in the best place in their musical career? Get ready Freddy, It’s Lovato vs. Gomez – GO!
Let’s start with Demi. She’s returning to her gig from X-Factor, something Britney Spears is not doing, so that’s money flow. Musically, Demi has a great deal of potential. Vocally, she possesses a powerful, rangy voice, which shines throughout her most recent album. As far as possessing the expected pop cues, Demi does just that, with “Heart Attack” providing the 20 year old a rather enjoyable hit. She followed it up with “Made in the USA,” another standout, catchy number, though title and song itself seems a bit too similar to that Miley Cyrus song “Party in the USA.” Lovato also has her share of missteps including over-singing (screaming, screeching, shouting, other adjectives), that obligatory dance track we could’ve lived peacefully without (“Neon Lights”), and some blasé filler.
After previously reviewing album Demi, it received a rating of ✰✰✰ out of ✰✰✰✰✰.
It’s Selena time. Selena doesn’t have a gig judging karaoke… err amateurs wishing to pursue their dreams, but she was in film Spring Breakers, the first taste of a more ‘naughty’ Selena. Money made. Of course newly released album Stars Dance finds Selena flinging suggestiveness, wanted or unwanted, not to mention with some very unenthused vocals. The album has its moments (trying to be nice here), if you’re a fan of your lyrics chopped into a few legit and many made-up syllables. I thought after hearing “oh na na” in Rihanna’s “What’s Your Name” I’d never have to hear it again, but then comes “Come & Get It,” only a couple of years late. #SMH.
After recently reviewing album Stars Dance, it received a rating of ✰✰½ out of ✰✰✰✰✰.
It’s true, many of us could do without either Demi’s over-sung ad libs or Gomez’s underwhelming nonsensical syllables, but in the spirit of this imagined head to head, someone has to win. Cue imaginative drums rolls.
If voice is the measure, Demi has the better rounded voice and more ‘weapons’ as they say in sports. But neither necessarily are perfect. If the song that annoys me less is any measure – and it is, “Heart Attack” wins hands down over that Ri-Ri copycat number that I wish I could get out of my head (“When you ready come and get it!”).