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Birthday
Selena Gomez
Released July 22, 2013
Recorded 2013
Length 3:20
Label Hollywood Records
Writers Crista Russo, Mike Del Rio, Jacob Kasher Hindlin
Produced by Mike Del Rio, Matt Beckley

Birthday is a song by American recording artist Selena Gomez for her solo debut album Stars Dance (2013). It was written and produced by Mike Del Rio, with additional writing by Crista Russo, Jacob Kasher Hindlin. Matt Beckley also provided additional vocal production for the song. Musically, Birthday combines deep electronic dance beats and police sirens with elements of trap music. The songs instrumentation is created by blending purring, synthesized bass, snappy beats, handclaps, "oxygen-sucking" sub-bass, and trap snares with sexual moans and elements of hip hop music. Sparse drum beats and vocal chants are woven throughout the songs composition, which has been described by critics as a mixture of electro punk, EDM, and dubstep, creating a unique sound.

Thematically, Birthday is a party song which discusses topics such as sexual appeal, self-entitlement, and girl power, while its risqué lyrics speak of a night of hard partying. The song has received comparisons to several artists, including Dev, M.I.A., and Icona Pop. Upon release, Birthday received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised the song for its unique sound and production. Upon the release of Stars Dance, the song charted at number 12 on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. Birthday has charted at number 191 on the South Korea Gaon International Chart due to high digital downloads. An accompanying music video for the song was released on July 22, 2013, to coincide with Gomez's 21st birthday, and features Gomez and her friends partying and singing the song in different locations, including an underground nightclub and a dark room.

CompositionEdit

Birthday was written and produced by Mike Del Rio, with additional writing by Crista Russo and Jacob Kasher Hindlin. Additional vocal production was handled by Matt Beckley. The three-minute and twenty-second track is an electro punk, EDM, and dubstep song, which draws influence from trap and hip hop music. The beat is composed of deep electronic dance beats, and is built around the sound of police sirens and sexual moans, while containing purring, synthesized bass, snappy beats, handclaps, "oxygen-sucking" sub-bass and trap snares. Sparse drum beats and vocal chants are woven throughout the songs composition, which according to Christina Drill of Popdust, is reminiscent of Gwen Stefani's debut solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (2004).

Thematically, Birthday has been described as a "party anthem", with the song exploring topics such as self-entitlement, partying, girl power, and sex appeal. Lyrically, the song has been described as risqué, with lyrics such as "blow your dreams, blow your dreams, blow your dreams away". According to Gomez, the song has a vibe similar to that of the Gwen Stefani song Hollaback Girl. Birthday has received comparisons to several artists for its unique genre, most notably Dev, M.I.A., and Icona Pop. Julia Rubin of Headlines and Global News described the song as a "candy-coated, clap-happy club anthem with plenty of girl power and sex appeal, much like a bubblegum version of Rihanna's Cockiness (Love It), while Jim Farber of New York Daily News said that Birthday "has the bratty sense of entitlement, flagrant delivery and braying hook of Icona Pop’s smash I Love It.

Critical receptionEdit

Upon its release, Birthday received favorable reviews from music critics. Natalie Palmer of Entertainment Wise said Gomez should be praised for trying something new, saying that the song "isn’t what you would expect from Selena but the genre suits her well." In a positive review, August Brown of The Los Angeles Times jokingly said the song was "almost as good as having shorts in every color." Amy Sciarretto of Popcrush compared the song to the work of American recording artist Kesha, saying that all though the song was not as "dirty" as Kesha's, Gomez still had "softcore, orgasmic moans sprinkled throughout". Kia Makarechi of The Huffington Post was critical of Birthday, criticizing the song's lyrics, as well as calling the song's panting and moaning "overwrought" and "excessive". Christina Drill of Popdust gave the song a highly positive 4.5 out of 5 review, declaring it "super fun" and catchy, while later going on to say Birthday is "the weirdest and greatest thing Selena's ever done".

Chart performanceEdit

Upon the release of Stars Dance, Birthday charted on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles at number 12. The song charted on the South Korea Gaon International Chart at number 191, due to strong digital downloads.

Music videoEdit

On July 22, 2013, at exactly midnight, Gomez unexpectedly uploaded a music video for Birthday onto her official YouTube channel to coincide with her 21st birthday. Gomez left a short message, saying "I wanted to celebrate my 21st Birthday with all of you, so we made this video for us all to celebrate together. Thank You for all the love and support you have shown and continue to show me. I love you all so much!!” In the video, a "smiley" Gomez is seen in a black crop top and shorts with a flannel shirt around her waist, and is shown singing the song with her friends in a dark room. The video is also interspersed with clips of a party in an underground night club, as glitter falls from the ceiling. The video ends with Gomez's friends singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Within the first 24 hours of being released, the video had garnered over a million views.

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