Why “Bad Liar” is my favorite radio single of the summer (Song Review)

Let’s be honest: Selena Gomez has probably left some of the most unassuming marks in the pop world as of late. As one of pop’s biggest stars — from Disney starlet to arena teen pop sensation — she’s kept it kind of cool (compared to the drawls of attention pop stars Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry have gotten). Her singles haven’t usually left a strong impression on me… until “Bad Liar” dropped earlier this summer.

The single is light, airy and restrained; a tempestuous track for the summer. It’s somewhat smokey and witty in the vain of Lorde with minimal musical layering or reverb. The producers have constrained her voice rather than overdo it — and I think that’s a win.

The song vibes well between radio and coffee shop replays. It’s intimate yet inviting; personal yet unobtrusive. It samples the iconic Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth “Psycho Killer” bass line — and it works. The song sets her apart from past radio-friendly cheery teen pop singles and into a real solid singer-songwriter kind of artist.

I was walking down the street the other day
Tryna distract myself
But then I see your face
Oh wait, that’s someone else
Ohh, tryna play it coy

She depicts the pure candid and raw moment of trying to get over someone (“I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’ / Not to think about you / No, no, no, no / Not to give into you”), realizing that “with my feelings on fire/ guess I’m a bad liar.”

As co-writer Justin Tranter noted, “Bad Liar” is about “trying to hide magical feelings for someone new, but not being able to.”

The song is beautifully uncomplicated and fun. It’s the kind that seeps into your soul and ingrained into your mind that you can’t help vibing along to it… And that catchy stutter-y chorus shows just how much love can trip you up.

No other news have been announced of whether Gomez is on for a new album or project — though this single may just be the start to it.

In the meantime, I’ve got this on repeat for far too long. I think it’s a song that captures something more raw and honest that I, as well as many other twenty-somethings, can relate to. Selena’s finally speaking to us. And I can’t get enough of it.

Is it still on your end-of-summer playlist?

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