Lost Hit: Selena Gomez’s “Undercover” Should Have Been A Single

Mike Wass | July 19, 2020 2:47 pm
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Hollywood Records was on fire in the early 2010s. Miley Cyrus’ Can’t Be Tamed, Demi Lovato’s Unbroken and Selena Gomez’s Stars Dance are banger-filled time capsules of the dance-pop explosion that ushered in the decade. The latter turns 7 today (July 19) and it might just be the pick of the bunch. Selena’s first album without The Scene blended club beats with bubblegum pop to startlingly good effect. “Come & Get It” surprised everyone with its tabla beat and sexy lyrics, and deservedly went on to become the pop star’s first top 10 hit.

Despite the video leaking a month in advance, “Slow Down” also became a platinum-selling smash and seemingly laid the groundwork for an even bigger third single. Which never came. It’s a shame because there was no shortage of bops to choose from — “Birthday,” “Stars Dance” and, my pick, “Undercover.” Produced by The Cataracs and co-penned by Julia Michaels, this remains a semi-racy banger of the highest caliber. “You’re a sexy machine, you’re a Hollywood dream,” Selena coos on the pre-chorus. “And you got me feeling like a homecoming queen.”

She continues to take control as we reach the chorus. “Let’s drop out of this crowd, somewhere no one’s allowed,” Selena sings breathily over crashing synths. “You don’t need no other lover, we can keep it undercover.” That’s followed by a drop — a good three or four years before they became a staple on pop radio. With a decent video and minimal promotion, “Undercover” could have been a huge hit. Unfortunately, label politics got in the way and we got a rushed greatest hits package instead.

Revisit the still-great “Undercover” on the 7th anniversary of Stars Dance below.

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