The recent girls-gone-wild exploitation flick “Spring Breakers” suggested that Disney-groomed Selena Gomez would follow the common enough trajectory of squeaky-clean teen stars declaring their independence by steering hard in the opposite direction. But the movie seems to have gotten it out of her system; the whirring “Stars Dance” is a confident but not aggressively blatant move to a more grown-up pop playing field. Like its predecessor, “When the Sun Goes Down,” it’s weightless but fun. Gomez doesn’t reveal a lot of personality, thanks in part to so many songs referencing other hitmakers like Nicki Minaj (the drop-bass robot-Barbie delivery of “B.E.A.T.”) and Rihanna (both the awkward, clanging dancehall of “Like a Champion”
and the far superior “Come & Get It”). But the title track churns up a heady, floating grind, and “Forget Forever” is joyously guilt-free, if not especially smart, dance-pop. In that way, it’s solidly representative of the whole album. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Stars Dance”
Selena Gomez performs at TD Garden on Oct. 12.