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Track Review

So … is it about him or isn't it? Is Justin Bieber's ex-girlfriend singing about them?

That was the question on everyone's mind after Selena Gomez's new song "Come & Get It" was leaked … and then hurriedly released. And, really, with lyrics like these, you can understand how that interpretation of the song might quickly gain traction: "You ain't gotta worry," Gomez begins, striking a beguilingly, Rihanna-like pose, with just a hint of a faux Jamaican accent creeping through. "It's an open invitation/I'll be sittin' right here, real patient/All day, all night, I'll be waitin' standby/Can't stop because I love it, hate the way I love you/All day, all night, maybe I'm addicted for life, no lie."

Gomez, however, didn't wait long to dispel that interpretation—much to the relief, I'm sure, of throngs of young female Bieber fans everywhere. In an interview with Ryan Seacrest on his daily radio program, she clarified the song's intent: "Honestly, to be 100% real, it's not really about a specific person. The reason why I wanted this to be the first single was because it exudes … confidence and strength, and that is something I'm willing to share with the world. That's the place I want to be in, and I want to represent something good and be a good example, so I think it's fun."

Evaluating the song on her own terms, then, does "Come & Get It" offer something "good" for Gomez's superfans (called "Selenators")? Well, it all depends upon how you interpret the word It in the title.

If the It in question is heard as merely a romantic relationship, as many of the song's lyrics hint, "Come and Get It" offers a relatively harmless (if fluffy) take on 21st-century romance.

"You got the kind of love that I want, let me get that," Gomez coos, "And baby, once I get it, I'm yours, no take backs/Gon' love you for life, I ain't leaving your side." And note that Gomez's promise to love someone faithfully for life is refreshingly positive here—a "good example," as she puts it.

But the flirty nature of the song yields another interpretation for the It in question: sex. And if not actual sex, then some of that physical stuff leading up to sex. This will certainly be the interpretation in dance clubs the world over as Selena asserts, "I'm not too shy to show you I love you, I got no regrets/ … When you're ready, come and get it."

We also have to grapple a bit with these lines: "This love will be the death of me, be I know I'll die happily." Romeo and Juliet notwithstanding, any time a young artist starts equating the perfect romance with death, it should give us pause.

Selena's definitely sporting a lot of sass and spunk these days. And she's delivering a sound and attitude that find her moving away from her  Wizards of Waverly Place launching pad at Disney and closer to the kind of adult image she's all too quickly transitioning into—a well-trodden path, to be sure. (Read our review of  Stars Dance for more.) 

"Come & Get It" obviously doesn't go nearly as far as her recent starring turn in the R-rated film  Spring Breakers did. But that doesn't convince me its messages are ultimately quite as good as Gomez thinks they are.

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