Tag Archives: selena gomez

Justin Bieber’s guest rapper romances

There are four guest rappers on Justin Bieber’s new album Believe and that means only one thing – four love duets! But who’s most likely to stick around?

Ludacris (All around the world)

How does Justin sound? Breathy, and very excited to tell Ludacris how beautiful he is. (I suppose at this point some of you will be thinking ‘No, stop! Justin’s straight! Poor Selena! He mentions a girl in the lyrics! He must be singing to a girl! Ludacris must be rapping about the same girl!’ Well I suppose if you find the idea of Justin Bieber and Ludacris going sloppy seconds on Selena Gomez more wholesome than a nice bit of consensual man-love you’re very welcome to that interpretation. It’s a week since Frank Ocean, people. Anything goes now.)

How does Ludacris sound? He’s in awe. ‘I love everything about you, you’re imperfectly perfect!’ he gushes. (Yeah, really, if they’re both supposed to be addressing their lyrics to the same girl it’s at worst pretty squicky and at best especially awkward, even in MTV awards circles. And let’s not forget, Ludacris is a master of this sort of thing. It’s him who got T-Pain on a track a few years ago so they could drawl ‘If I take one more drink, I’m gon’ end up fucking you!’ at each other after all. If you’re in any doubt about THAT one go and listen again – the ‘Who else?’ ‘You too!’ banter at the end clears things up pretty definitively.)

How’s their loving? Both lads are keen to stress their love shouldn’t be taboo. ‘Why you acting so shy, holding back? We’re not the only ones doing it like that!’ says Justin. ‘People say you don’t deserve it! Don’t give in, hate may win some battles, but love wins in the end!’ adds Luda. (Seriously, people. Channel Orange.)

Big Sean (As Long As You Love Me)

How does Justin sound? A bit moody. He’s picturing how love would survive even if he and Sean were starving, homeless, or – apparently the worst of the three as it’s the climax of the line – broke.

How does Sean sound? Startled, to be fair, but whether from the buzz & chop production or the sudden realisation of his love for Justin it’s hard to say. ‘I know we got issues, but I’d rather work on this with you than go ahead and start with someone new,’ he says, although it’s delivered in a gabbled, insincere rush.

How’s their loving? Not the best I’m afraid. Sean just brings out Justin’s petulance and neither of them really convince us that they’d stick together through anything other than habit. ‘The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it,’ says Sean. To be honest, if his water is turning Justin green down there they should probably pop to the clinic.

Nicki Minaj (Beauty and a Beat)

How does Justin sound? Eager to impress. ‘I’m coming for you!’ he claims, before saying they’re going to party like it’s 3012. She’s not THAT much older than you, Justin!

How does Nicki sound? A bit frosty but definitely up for some fun. ‘Justiiiinnnnn,’ she warns at the start, before later rhyming ‘Justin Bieber’ with ‘Buns out, wiener.’

How’s their loving? ‘I gotta keep my eye out for Selena,’ tuts Nicki and her heart doesn’t seem to be in it apart from the buns & wiener action mentioned above. As both she and Justin talk about ticket sales and world tours in their lyrics it feels more like a commercial compromise than anything else.

Drake (Right Here)

How does Justin sound? Completely infatuated. ‘Lost in your eyes every time that you look in mine – I promise to be all that you need,’ he sings dreamily.

How does Drake sound? Needy, conflicted and also completely infatuated. ‘Selfish of me to ask,’ he apologises before going on like Nicki to address the Selena-shaped elephant in the room. ‘Good girl got her mind right, she been raised right, being patient, I know you waiting on a good thing… When the time’s right you should let me get to know you, baby.’ Blimey.

How’s their loving? There are lots of little moans and gasps buried in the background production of this one, just in case it wasn’t all homoerotic enough to start with. ‘I just want to put it on you!’ ejaculates Justin. ‘Wish that you knew all that I do to make this thing go right,’ rasps Drake, referring perhaps to Justin’s lack of experience. It’s so steamy I think we should discreetly drape a Canadian flag over the pair of them and leave them to it.

Favourite albums of 2011

20. Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam

19. Lupe Fiasco – Lasers

18. Lady Gaga – Born This Way

17. Rihanna – Talk That Talk

16. Theophilus London – Timez Are Weird These Days

15. Drake – Take Care

14. Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi

13. Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting

12. Lil B – I’m Gay (I’m Happy)

11. Selena Gomez & The Scene – When The Sun Goes Down

10. CocknBullKid – Adulthood

9. araabMUZIK – Electronic Dream

8. Cher Lloyd – Sticks + Stones

7. Riz MC – MICroscope

6. Beyoncé – 4

5. The Sound of Arrows – Voyage

4. Toddla T – Watch Me Dance

3. Britney Spears – Femme Fatale

Britney’s people have told her that every song on her album Femme Fatale is inspired by a different femme fatale from history, myth or fiction. Poor Britney just can’t work it out though! Can YOU match the lyrics from the album to the  foxy ladies in question? Answers below.

2. The Weeknd – House of Balloons

Poor Abel Tesfaye has just got the artwork for his epically miserable comedown album back from the designers, but it looks like they’ve strayed from his original vision! Can YOU spot the five subtle differences hidden in the new cover?

If you are having trouble spotting all five differences here are some hints!

  • I wonder who else was at those debauched parties he sings about?
  • There’s a subtle theme running through the album but we’ve “inflated” it
  • “Well doesn’t that put the cherry on top”
  • Track titles ‘MAY’ not ‘ALWAYS’ be correct!
  • A dog’s face

1. Katy B – On A Mission

Here are Katy’s missions explained track-by-track:


Attributes: Slowly unfolding; sweeping musical vista; quite long. Mission: 1986 film THE MISSION. (From the IMDB plot synopsis: “Initially, the Guarani warriors prepare to kill him, but after Gabriel plays an unforgettable solo on his oboe, they allow him to live”. And we’ve all had days like that.)


Attributes: Bold, purposeful, brill. Mission: KATY’S MISSION STATEMENT


Attributes: Elegant; structured; accomplished. Mission: MISSION REVIVAL ARCHITECTURE.


Attributes: Startling; Bleepy; Full of twists and turns that leave you feeling dislocated. Mission: Doctor Who‘s 1965 MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN episode with its imagination-gone-mad monsters and lack of regular cast.


Attributes: Propulsive; No nonsense; Designed to make you move. Mission: A SEARCH AND DESTROY MISSION.


Attributes: Dignified; Luxurious; Satisfying. Mission: The DIPLOMATIC MISSION where the Ferrero Rocher-stuffed Ambassador’s Receptions are held.


Attributes: Solid; A bit old-fashioned; Cheery. Mission: THE GLAD TIDINGS MISSION FROM 60s CORONATION STREET, over which Ena Sharples presided; a handy refuge in case of a gas leak on the Street.


Attributes: Bright; Bouncy; Pretty. Mission: MISSION BELL (the flower, stupid.)


Attributes: Passing the torch from one generation of singer to the next; Shiny; Confident. Mission: THE CONTINUING MISSION of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Enterprise-D.


Attributes: Fun; In your face; Sassy with the fanfares. Mission: The original series of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.


Attributes: Romantic; Irresistible; Destined to help Magnetic Man be warmly remembered even though most people shrugged at their album proper. Mission: A RESCUE MISSION.


Attributes: Charming; Laidback; Basking in the glow of all that’s come before. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Tied up with string: July


I didn’t even think I liked trance. But the way Tom Ewing’s Guardian article described araabMUZIK’s Electronic Dream made it sound irresistible: the sounds of the genre chopped and screwed about until they sound like a distant memory of euphoria. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing (see also: Burial; The Caretaker) and Electronic Dream doesn’t disappoint. It’s woozy and energising all at once, ideal headphone music for a cushion against the world.

Then there’s Selena Gomez & The Scene’s When The Sun Goes Down, a perfect and pristine album that I recommend to anyone not afflicted by music snobbery, and Lil B’s I’m Gay (I’m Happy) which is as rambling and melodramatic a rap album as you like. And I do.


Sometimes it’s no bad thing to give a show a go just because you fancy someone who’s in it. So if we started watching Sirens solely on the promise of staring at Kayvan Novak for an hour, we ended up finding it funny and warm and clever enough to justify a chunk of Monday night on its own terms every week. But from the reviews I’ve seen, we’re on our own in rating it. Hope it gets a second chance.


Lurpak have pulled out all the stops with their food porn spectacular Kitchen Odyssey. Beautifully art directed and technically brilliant, it includes the most exciting slo-mo close-up egg-smash I’ve ever seen.


Yes, it’s a baby pangolin. No, I don’t need a special reason. Let’s all just stop and look at its little face. There.

If popstars… ate themselves

“I love you like a love song, baby!” sings Selena Gomez on her new single. Can she DO that? What happens when pop songs turn their similes and metaphors upon themselves? Recursive occlusion! Pop, as they say, will eat itself. Let’s have a look at some prominent examples.


Or I’m Needy (Need Me) which is the impression you’ll get listening to this. “I got a rhyme that I’ve had for some time – nobody wants to sing me!” whimpers Neil. “Could I make you smile if I came back in style?” And then, in an unusally explicit turn of phrase for the early 70s easy-listening scene: “Sing me! Sing me! Roll me around on your tongue!”

It’s all a not-very-well-disguised plea regarding his own career, which at the time wasn’t doing so well. In fact his planned comeback went so badly that he left New York City altogether and ended up in Stockport. My nan used to live in Stockport. I know it well. I can’t help but feel that Neil was travelling in the wrong direction.

By turning music upon itself does he magically capture the ineffable? No. There’s a very earnest massed choral section at the end “I! GOT! MUSIC! I! WILL! SHARE!” which’ll finish you off if you make it that far.


“I met this girl when I was ten years old,” begins Common. No wait, it’s OK! Because this song has a twist in the very last line. If you’ve been watching the BBC’s reruns of 1976 Top of the Pops episodes you’ll have seen the Brotherhood of Man using this gimmick not just once, but making a habit out of it, with songs divulging in the final moments that they’ve actually been about a dog or a baby or a cowbell or whatever. And a similar anvil crashes down at the end of I Used To Love H.E.R., as it turns out that the fun-loving soulful girl Common fell for, who turned her back on Afrocentricity and got into guns and crack, is hip hop itself. Imagine!

By turning music upon itself does he magically capture the ineffable? It’s not bad. The sincere appeals for hip hop to be more serious are amusing in retrospect, bearing in mind that Common’s most recent album was a frenzy of commercial-sounding dance-sex jams.


Queen of the extended metaphor, Little Boots casts her attraction as a track on endless loop. “My heart’s skipping and I don’t know why – I know every part,” she sighs, perfectly capturing the essence of one way in which love is like music: the immersion, the sense of losing yourself. And the stuck record she’s become has a beefy Moroder bassline bolstered by dramatic choral swoops, sounding so beautiful and exciting that it doesn’t seem like a hardship at all.

By turning music upon itself does she magically capture the ineffable? The success of any song about repetition rests on whether you actually want to repeat it or not. Which makes this one a big yes.


Kelis’s imagery is all over the place, on the other hand. Her melody was acapella, with no beat, yes, yes, but also it apparently had no tune. How does that work? “Before you, my whole life was acapella,” she warbles in the chorus. “Now our symphony’s the only song to sing!” No, Kelis. Symphonies aren’t songs. They’re long and complicated with lots of different sections and competing themes going off everywhere. And there isn’t usually a vocal bit. Unless you’re thinking of specific exceptions, but the lyrics aren’t, say, “Before you, my whole life was acapella. Now the soprano part from the fourth movement of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony‘s the only song’s to sing” are they? Maybe instead of ‘symphony’ she should have gone for ‘cantata’ or ‘oratorio’ or something. Or not confused things by going on about drums, bass and guitar in the middle eight.

By turning music upon itself does she magically capture the ineffable? Yes of course she does. I’m not a fool. I’m only making fun of the lyrics in an attempt to look clever on the internet. Acapella brilliantly gets across how transcendent and symphonic love can be.


And here we are in the present day, with one of the best songs of the year. This season’s unmistakable wob-wob bass hypnotises us on the off beats while we’re sprinkled with a careful seasoning of strings. Owing not a little to Little Boots — the feel and theme of Stuck on Repeat, the middle eight of Remedy — Selena sings of love that’s like every record she owns, of hitting repeat, of symphonies and destiny, of lyrical miracles. Her love’s like a song, so she sings a song to her love about the song of her love, and the love and the songs all multiply and fold in on themselves.

If you’re in any doubt how recursive this all is, check the video. Selena sings along to her own song on a karaoke stage, but she’s also all the girls in the cheesy on-screen backing videos. One of the backing video Selenas looks into a screen to see Selena in the club looking back at her. There’s a whole hall-of-mirrors infinite series of Selenas on screen at one point. It’s the sort of imagery metafictional literature’s been playing with for years, but as it’s a teen pop song by Justin Bieber’s girlfriend I don’t expect anyone’s really paying attention.

By turning music upon itself does she magically capture the ineffable? “There’s no way to describe what you do to me. You just do to me what you do,” Selena points out. And if that’s not ineffable then I don’t know what is.