Saturday, November 15, 2014

Selena Gomez: the heart wants what it wants

by Melissa Scott


Photo by Glenn Francis
As one of the most scrutinized celebrity couples for the past few years, new details about the Selena Gomez-Justin Bieber relationship are hard to avoid. But despite constant media coverage, neither pop star adds much of their personal insight. After an evidently trying year, however, Gomez finally released a track clearly detailing her views and struggles throughout the relationship with Bieber. 

Following a tumultuous two year on-again off-again relationship with Bieber, Gomez’s parents reportedly gave her an ultimatum: stop drinking, stop dating Bieber, or get out of the house. Gomez chose the latter—she bought a $3 million house in Calabasas, California (near Bieber of course) and then consequently fired her parents, who acted as her managers. She cancelled the Australian and Asian leg of her “Stars Dance” tour in December 2013, stating that she needed time to herself. “I would never want to disappoint [my fans],” she apologized. “But it has become clear to me and those close to me that after many years of putting my work first, I need to spend some time on myself in order to be the best person I can be.” Gomez refused to detail any further.

She then checked herself into an Arizona rehab-facility for alcohol, drug, and prescription pill addiction in January 2014. She only stayed for 14 days of the 45 day program, before checking herself out. Finally, in April, Gomez attended Coachella, posting pictures on Instagram and seemingly enjoying herself with Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and Vanessa Hudgens. Barely a week after Coachella, however, Gomez decided to purge all negative influences in her life. Her first step involved “unfollowing” on social media, not only the Jenner sisters, Hudgens, Taylor Swift, and other close friends, but almost all celebrities she had any contact with. She then deleted all pictures of Coachella, and all other similar pictures.

Of course, Gomez refused to comment publicly about her worrying issues. She remained as enigmatic as ever. In interviews, and social media posts, she referred only to a “positive cleanse” in her life.

Now, however, Gomez has decided to open up about her turbulent year. She dropped a new single recently, “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” and confirmed in an interview with Ryan Seacrest that the song was inspired by Bieber. Because she’s known for avoiding any topic concerning Bieber, or her relationship with him, that was an astonishing disclosure. The song shot straight to number two on iTunes (only One Direction’s latest, “Ready to Run,” kept it from the top spot), and it reached an audience of 10.061 million people on its first radio debut. In addition, Gomez released a corresponding music video, which tallied over five million YouTube views in its first 24 hours. She then announced the date of her new album release, For You, to be November 24.

The music video is uncomfortably vulnerable, opening with an emotional Gomez monologue. Through building tears, she exclaims, “I felt like I know, I know him though, and I know his heart, and I know he wouldn't do anything to hurt me.” As she begins to cry harder, her voice grows louder, “But I didn't realize that feeling so confident and feeling so great about myself and then it just be completely shattered by one thing.” Finally, Gomez nearly shouts the last few lines of the monologue: “You make me feel crazy, you make me feel like it’s my fault. I was in pain.” Her words are so tortured. It’s hard to imagine them being filmed solely for the purpose of the video; there seems to be an upsetting truth to them.

From Flickr - Amanda Nobles
Gomez confirmed that the monologue acted as a therapeutic technique at the time of the filming. “They taped the mic underneath the table when I was shooting the video,” she admitted during her interview with Ryan Seacrest. “And I had shot the video over a year ago. So, in that state — where I was in that place emotionally — I went in and I went into the room by myself, and I looked at the actual mirror in the music video, and I had a conversation [with] myself to every question I had in my mind in that moment.”

The song then takes off, emotionally portraying an intense and destructive relationship. Gomez is seen crying through her vocals throughout much of the song, while a nameless love interest alternates between portraying utmost affection and complete disregard for her. The main chorus of the song is startlingly powerful; it clearly reveals an enthralling insight into one of the most unremittingly scrutinized celebrity relationships: “The bed’s getting cold and you’re not here/The future that we hold is so unclear/But I’m not alive until you call/And I’ll bet the odds against it all…There’s a million reasons why I should give you up/But the heart wants what it wants.”

Gomez explained her sudden emotional take on her relationship. “Everybody wants to form their own opinions anyway,” she shrugged.

          I think the biggest problem I had this year — even with [Bieber] and on his                side — is identity. And yeah, I made some decisions that weren't great as well,          and so did he and that’s why we went through all that to only make us better.            And he has heard [the song] and he has seen the video, and it’s something                that I feel like girls need hear, and it’s something I’m willing to share with                    people.


When Seacrest asked about Justin’s initial reaction to the video, Gomez simply replied, “he thought it was beautiful. I think it was really hard.” She ended the interview by confirming that the two were still close: “I support him. I think I always will. I’m upset when he’s upset, I’m happy when he’s happy. I don’t want anything to ever happen to him bad. It hurts me. That’s all.” While news of “Jelena” typically triggers exasperation, I’m glad Gomez finally seems confident in herself and what she wants. She seems content to make choices for herself, despite media portrayals of the two. And she should.
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