Well! There’s a new Selena Gomez leak from the pop songbird’s upcoming LP Stars Dance, and this is no “Come And Get It” (come and get what?) nor is it a “Slow Down” (slow what down?) — no, “Love Will Remember” is all about the specifics! Specifically, her relationship with Justin Bieber, which takes the spotlight in such an explicit way that it’s sort of hard to focus on anything else, like maybe the song, which is actually rather lovely. (Not that any of us were necessarily chomping at the bit for a skittering midtempo ballad from the dance-pop songstress, but still! It’s a solid effort.)
Or it would be, at least, if it weren’t for the inclusion of a voicemail (possibly real, possibly simulated) from Bieber, which is about as subtle as being hit by a falling piano: “Hey babe,” he murmurs. “It’s me. Um, I just wanted to call and tell you that I love you so, so, so, so much. Just wanted to let you know that you are my princess. You are worthy of all the love in the world. You are the love of my life.” Click.
Oh dear. So, I mean, it’s all just sort of ugh. Am I allowed to feel like this is hugely gross and manipulative? Pop music is frequently gross and manipulative, which is fine, and I love Selena Gomez dearly, but something about this rings totally false in a way that I loathe, especially when framed in the context of celebrities constantly requesting privacy from their fans. Gomez’s team is notoriously testy with journalists asking questions about Justin Bieber, and that’s okay — it’s perfectly respectable to want to avoid discussing it publicly and instead approach it strictly from an artistic perspective — but writing a song about romance, even an excoriating one (in the Taylor Swift vein), is one thing. Plopping a (real or fabricated) voicemail into an actual song is entirely different. There’s a fanbaiting explicitness to it, a transparent and ham-fisted profiteering from fans’ fetishization of their romance, that I find odious.
And furthermore: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez were very sweet together (even if we all privately know that she can do better), but a modern-day Samson and Delilah those kids ain’t. I absolutely refuse to believe that their love was so grand and star-crossed to justify folding the contemporary equivalent of a love epistle into the actual fabric of a song. Sorry. But no. Bye.
Anyway, despite that, the song is pretty good.