Selena Gomez and Kygo released their anticipated collaboration, ‘It Ain’t Me’. Supposedly the lead single from each of their upcoming albums there are many positives to this song, and positives to each artist.
The story sung by Selena is wonderful, intricate and mature. Kygo brings some of his most relaxed production in the intro and outro, having us ride on his (admittedly what brought him to the forefront) tropical house beats. With this in mind, I believe we’d all expect to be blown away by the duo, no? Forgive me, but no. Pardon the pun, but the duo’s efforts is more like a tropical storm versus the maelstrom of success. In a sense, Gomez was in a very similar space before Revival’s release with her Zedd collaboration.
But ‘I Want You to Know’ held Selena’s energy, positivity and light heartedness that elevated the song beyond what ‘It Ain’t Me’ has initially previewed. As a huge fan and an advocate for more Selena, I’d hoped she’d continue the Revival-trend and keep her releases within her vocal range. While messaging has continued the trend her vocal efforts have not.
‘It Ain’t Me’ clearly stretches her vocal range. Whether this is from auto tune or Kygo’s production style remains to be seen – but the machinery under Gomez’s sound does neither the singer nor the song favors. I truly believe she’d be better than some of her same-age contemporaries if she kept to her alto range. With her rasp, messaging and openness Gomez could easily connect with her audience on a level Miley, Demi or Ariana could not. Hopefully her latest tryst-affair with The Weeknd will rub off on her in terms of subject matter and production. Selena could easily surprise at a Weeknd concert if their relationship continues – switching in her vocals for that of the Del Rey partnerships in the Weeknd’s past catalogue.
Kygo is a party producer. He creates his best music when he gets six to eight minutes to weave an emotional lightness into a part. The Selena collab feels rushed. He chops off her strained vocals at the end of the chorus and immediately enters the hook. It doesn’t feel right, let alone sound right. It makes me suspect the song will really take off when he releases a remix EP later this year. The bridge won’t win Gomez any points if she and Kygo do a live performance.
In terms of subject matter it would be impossible for people to see beyond that of Gomez and Bieber. Especially with Bieber’s latest public stunts of dissing The Weeknd, clearly aiming to take digs at Gomez as well. (If you haven’t heard the Weeknd’s response track to Bieber’s micro-penis activities, then you should – listen to it here).
I however think it’s really about her recent, would-be breakup with Taylor Swift. The two, usually flaunting their friendship and company over social channels, have notably been separated since Selena’s latest break from life/media/Revival Tour. That and her mentioned romance with the Weeknd (ex of Gigi’s little sister and sometimes TSwift’s BFF Bella) may have made rift all the bigger. But I chalk that as a win for Gomez, who could use a break from feminist-for-hire, all white girl gang. Remember many times Swift has casually brought out Gomez when Swift has been criticized for her new age NeoNazi fledglings.
If this is the direction Selena and Kygo seem to be going, good for both of them. Nostalgia plays well for the 24 year old crooner and as I stated, the remix album will be sure to be something to watch out for from the producer. Good for Gomez for breaking the never ending pop trend of writing songs about love and lovelost. The beats might not fit her, but Gomez wears contemporary well.