Selena Gomez says a desire "to age me up without making me any different" is what drove "When the Sun Goes Down," the actress and singer's third album with her band, the Scene.
"I'm still the same person, but I am getting older," Gomez tells Billboard.com, "so I wanted to create a while different kind of fun sound when it came to the lyrics. The lyrics are a lot more cheeky on this album...and the music's really fun."
Gomez says the 12-song set, which was released last Tuesday (June 28), is also "more positive, which I haven't really done a lot of. 'Naturally' and 'Who Says,' which are my biggest songs, are both very positive, but most of my records are kind of intense break-up songs and a little bit repetitive with what I'm singing about. So I guess I'm really excited about the fact that most of (the album) is really uplifting songs about summer and being able to be present and happy with where you are and enjoying the moment. It's a really empowering record and that's just more of the place I was in, so I wanted it to be really powerful and to be something that was inspiring."
The 18-year-old Gomez says that she recorded the gold-certified "Who Says," which has become the end-credit theme for her new film, "Monte Carlo," well before she started work on "When the Sun Goes Down. "It's a very powerful anthem and it's something I can relate to and it's something everybody's gone through, so I'm glad that song's out there," Gomez explains. "Fox heard the song on the radio and thought it was the perfect kind of message for our movie. I'm just glad it happened that way." She and the Scene filmed the song's video in Hungary, where she was making Monte Carlo, and Gomez recorded some of her vocals during that project as well.
Gomez co-wrote two songs on the album -- "Bang Bang Bang" and the title track, the latter with the Scene's bass player Joey Clement. Britney Spears was part of the composing team on "Whiplash," while Katy Perry and Billy Steinberg share credits for "That's More Like It." Other collaborators include Toby Gad, Greg Kurstin, Emanuel "Eman" Kiriakou and Priscilla Renea. Boyfriend Justin Bieber is not on the album, but Gomez says he was "very supportive through all of the" filming and recording she was doing.
Gomez is also pleased of the package art, which portrays here in a variety of vintage looks -- 20s on the cover and other eras on the inside. "My first album is a picture of my face," Gomez says. "The second album is a picture of my face. This time we wanted it to be not just me in a pretty dress. We wanted it to be really different. So the cover of the album I'm wearing a black wig and it's back-shot. People don't even recognize it's me."
Gomez and the Scene hit the road to promote "When the Sun Goes Down" with a seven-week tour starting July 24, which Gomez promises will also be "very different" from her previous performances. "We're dividing it into four sections," Gomez says. "We're going to have wardrobe changes. There's going to be dancers -- I will not be dancing most of the time. They'll just be back there getting the crowd pumped up. We're going to have fun screens in the background. It's just gonna be a huge party. I wanted to make it like a PG-13 rave."
Gomez, who recently finished her run on the Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place," plans to start work on another film in the fall, after the tour ends.