The video for "I Want You to Know," the Zedd TGIFriday's-waiting-area banger that allegedly brought him new love with vocalist Selena Gomez, is fairly standard: Selena drifts into a Vegas mega-club from the back entrance, free from $35 cover charges, and wafts to the middle of the dance floor, the scent of Victoria's Secret parfum and overpriced cocktails at Tao all around, two things that truly make a girl wanna rave.
Truly, though, "I Want You to Know" is as conventional a song as corpo-genre EDM can get: A-B-A song structure, appropriately-timed drops that aren't too droppy lest they be kicked off the TGIFriday's playlist, synth sounds that could easily be played on a guitar and are composed like they want to be anyway. It's fine; Zedd is bananas popular for these very reasons, and Selena is his perfect foil, her voice malleable and very pretty but not overpowering the fundamental objective of the song, which is to turn up spring break.
Honestly, though, that malleability is one of the reasons I like Selena so much as a vocalist; her early work with The Scene was pretty underrated because music critics don't often rate albums from Nickelodeon in the same way they rate albums from, like, Warner or Rough Trade or Matador or Sony. Her work as a teen pop star poised her for this newfound spot of elevated adult fame; they were songs she could cut her teeth on, catchy but not too difficult to execute for a girl whose voice had such natural grace. But her debut solo album, 2013's Stars Dance, released the year she turned 21 and cannily including a song entitled "Birthday" (JAZZ IT UP!), showed exactly how she has reached this level: any song she's on, she can nimbly just roll with. She is good in every genre. Want her to sound like Ellie Goulding? She can sound like Ellie Goulding. Looking for something a little more post-MIA, post-Gwen Stefani? You got it. Need her to do a fake patois in the style of Buju Banton? Fuck it mang, she's there.
Normally I find this kind of genre-exploration (if we're putting it nicely) deeply regrettable, but for some reason, Selena makes it work; she can sound like 50 other people in varying genres and yet still come out the other side as Selena Gomez, as opposed to a hodgepodge of those styles or, god forbid, Karmin. But she seems most confident on these types of boilerplate EDM beats, because she can make them her own, and in the case of "I Want You To Know," she renders it with what little emotional resonance it has (and isn't that what big-name EDM producers go to lithe-sounding woman vocalists for, anyhow), a fairly convincing late-night devotional, about as convincing as that dude you just met who tells you you're his dream girl at 1 AM and you should go back to his room. It's your prerogative to do so, or not; it's Selena's game to win in the Los Angeles mainstream pop radio EDM world, and she's doing it. Also, lest I am unclear: I would absolutely go to this Tao rave on the Las Vegas strip. Someone invite me, I'm there in my best heels.