Selena Gomez and the Scene, "A Year Without Rain"

"A Year Without Rain" finds Selena Gomez (and evidently her band, the Scene) tackling a succession of standard-issue tween-pop topics: how awesome love is ("Off the Chain"), how sucky bad days are ("Intuition") and how powerless we mere mortals are in the face of the devil's music ("Rock God").Fortunately, the 10-track set-a huge improvement over the Disney Channel star's forgettable 2009 debut-delivers these ho-hum messages in above-average packaging. Opener "Round & Round," co-produced by "Let It Rock" broheim Kevin Rudolf, rides a fist-pumping electro groove, while "Summer's Not Hot" gets a gloriously trashy Eurodance chorus from RedOne, who co-wrote the song. Elsewhere, Gomez goes appealingly emo-disco on the Toby Gad-produced title track. Despite the album's title, dark clouds do appear in the form of "Spotlight," a hookless, fake-dancehall jam, and the snoozy "Ghost of You." But mostly, "A Year Without Rain" is as sunny as advertised.

- Album Review