By Josh Schonfeld
Selena Gomez is one of those artists that should not be successful. Her voice is paper-thin, she has little stage presence, and her dancing is subpar at best. Yet here we are, discussing the lead single off her SIXTH album(!?!). “Bad Liar” is very different from what’s on pop radio at the moment, but Selena has always pushed the boundaries of the genre with songs such as “Come & Get It,” and “Good For You” going against what pop music was playing at the time and both went on to be hits. Will this work for “Bad Liar?” We’ll have to wait and see.
The track opens up with an instrumental reminiscent of Anna Kendrick’s hit “Cups” from Pitch Perfect with its snaps and claps and odd cup shifting sounds. It works though, so let’s move on. The verses make use of Selena’s bread and butter: the sing-talk. As we all know, Selena is no powerhouse like Whitney or Adele or even screechy Demi. No, she’s more of a Britney with her cutesy voice and a two-note range. The rhythm is slightly off like Tove Lo’s “Timebomb” but it creates an easy-to-follow storyline that gets the listener involved invested in the song, which is tough to do.
The chorus is where the music really starts to take off as Selena howls like the she-wolf she is and then repeats, “I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying.” If there’s one thing Selena does well, it’s making sing-along choruses that literally anyone can sing. “Bad Liar” is one of those songs that needs to be played at high volume in the car with your girlfriends as you drive to the mall to talk about last night’s debauchery with an ex.
“Bad Liar” is definitely a grower not a shower, where it just gets better and better with each listen as you get over the initial shock that this isn’t trop-pop like the rest of pop radio at the moment. While it still baffles me how Selena Gomez became the superstar she is, it’s songs like this that prove why she’s been able to stay in the game even with her average vocals.