Five years after releasing her first album, Selena Gomez put together a selection of her biggest hits. Titled For You, the 15-song collection features remixes of fan favorites and two new tracks, including the single, “The Heart Wants What It Wants.” It is clear this is a very personal and intimate song for Gomez, and her vulnerability in communicating such lyrics about heartbreak are akin to reading a page in her journal.
A rhythmic heavy, pop ballad, Gomez’s voice retains the same style throughout the song. Relying heavily on the beat, her vocals accompany the track rather than lead it and this makes it more of a club tune than a radio-friendly anthem. Gomez’s vocals open the track partnered with synth and we enter into her story of love and loss. Saying, “I’m hoping that after this fever, I’ll survive,” she continues to express the toxicity of a relationship that is in limbo.
There is a small amount of vocal light and shade used in the chorus, and this enhances the longing communicated for her lover, despite the “million reasons” she should give him up. The tune lifts sightly during the bridge where there is a stronger focus on the singer’s vocals than the rhythmic section, and this leads to a well-executed break down where we hear Selena sing with minor backing. While her vocals don’t naturally soar in this, we do have the chance to hear Gomez sing lyrics that are raw and clearly close to her heart.
“The Heart Wants What It Wants” is an obscure choice for a lead single, as the melancholy nature of the tune and its lack of dynamics make it more of an album-filler. While I like Selena, this is a rather predictable release and musically, it places her safely in the comfort zone of her pop-based vocals. Truth be told, I would love to hear Selena extend her voice and soar around the melody like some of her counterparts, as this would make the single more engaging whilst adding new dynamics to it. A realistic look at what we experience in a breakup, Gomez’s “The Heart Wants What It Wants” is simple and honest. While there is much wanting in this track musically and vocally, the vulnerability found in the lyrics is a strong point.