Ten years from now, when Selena Gomez is headlining the Pitchfork Music Festival with a full chorus of Gregorian monks performing cuts off her drone record I Selena I, we might look back on today as the day Gomez got her cool cred.
No matter what your feelings are on Gomez as an artist, know this: the once-cherubic Disney keener from Wizards of Waverly Place is now a fully realized, David Byrne-approved pop provocateur. If the second part of that description confuses you, let us lift your veil.
On Thursday, Gomez released her new song “Bad Liar,” a slithery pop confection that will appeal to younger fans and middle-aged rock dads alike, thanks to its very prominent sample of Talking Heads’ 1977 single “Psycho Killer.”
But before you roll your eyes in cynicism at the thought of Gomez’s record company signing a check with lots of zeroes and handing it over to Byrne—leaving him no choice but to clear one of the most iconic basslines ever and have it repurposed into a meaningless piece of pop ephemera—check out what the song’s co-writer, Justin Tranter, told Variety about the song’s inception.
“Selena and Julia are Talking Heads-obsessed,” he said of the song’s other two writers, Gomez and Julia Michaels. “So when we all got together in one room, Julia suggested, ‘Why don’t we just write over the bassline from 'Psycho Killer?’ and we were all going, 'That sounds great!’“
Tanter says once they were finished recording the track, they got it to Byrne. To their surprise, he gave them the green light.
"He heard it, loved it and approved it,” Tranter said. “To have David Byrne listed next to our names is just so cool.”
It appears that Gomez traffics in cool these days. Not only does she have the coveted David Byrne stamp of approval, but she’s continuing her collaboration with the feminist photographer of the moment, Petra Collins, who shot the “Bad Liar” cover art.
Check that out, along with clips from the “Bad Liar” video above, and listen to Gomez’s breathy new single, “Bad Liar,’ below.