As An Ancient Trojan, I Have a Bone to Pick With Selena Gomez’s Hit Song “Bad Liar”
But just like the Battle of Troy/There’s nothing subtle here — Selena Gomez
Dear Ms. Gomez,
I hesitated to pen this missive, because I’m generally such a big fan of your work. I first became acquainted with you on the wildly underrated Disney Channel sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place. The show had a great run, but I knew, even back then, that you were destined for bigger and better things.
Your early hits, including “Come & Get It” and “The Heart Wants What it Wants” were catchy and fun to get down to. Even though I am many centuries older than you, I could relate to the barely suppressed desire you sing about in lyrics such as these: When you’re ready come and get it/Na na na na/Na na na na/Na na na na. Yes! I remember thinking, when I first heard that song on the radio. Na na na na, indeed.
I’ll even forgive the fact that this song may be written about Justin Bieber, who I am no enthusiast of. I still haven’t forgiven him for the egg throwing incident. In Trojan culture, eggs were sacred vessels for baby birds, never meant to be eaten. Over the centuries, my attitude has softened somewhat, and I’ve been known to enjoy a good scramble. But egging a house? I would never.
Apologies, Ms. Gomez—back to your robust body of work. I very much appreciated your masterpiece “The Heart What It Wants.” It might as well have been written by Paris of Troy himself. I can practically see him now, his dark curly locks framing deep, soulful eyes (yes, I’m picturing Orlando Bloom in Troy, but can you blame me? I haven’t seen the real Paris in around three millennia).
Ms. Gomez, when you sing The bed’s getting cold and you’re not here/The future that we hold is so unclear/But I’m not alive until you call/And I’ll bet the odds against it all/Save your advice ’cause I won’t hear/You might be right but I don’t care/There’s a million reasons why I should give you up/But the heart wants what it wants, it is as if I have been transported back to my ancestral home and I am sitting on the dais in Paris’s mansion, listening to him yammer on about how hot Helen looks in her toga. I mean, yes, Helen was beautiful, but like, years-of-war-beautiful? I’d say probably not.
My point, Ms. Gomez, is that I take no issue with your earlier songwriting. I also particularly enjoyed your cameo in the Oscar-nominated film The Big Short, and want to commend you for your plainspoken explanation of collateralized debt obligations. Whenever I forget what, exactly, a CDO is and how it’s different from a CD (modern technology continues to baffle me) I just pull up the YouTube clip of you explaining it. It’s highly likely that most of the views that video has accrued are mine. Ditto for all of the clips of Orlando in Troy.
Given your clearly advanced understanding of CDOs, I assumed—and perhaps this was too presumptuous of me—that you possessed at least a basic understanding of world history. So imagine my shock when I was listening to Apple Music’s pop hits playlist and came upon your new single, “Bad Liar.” I rejoiced initially, but my celebration ended the moment you crooned the line: But just like the Battle of Troy/There’s nothing subtle here.
Ms. Gomez, I was flabbergasted when I heard this. Gobsmacked. Completely and utterly baffled. As the only known survivor of the Battle of Troy, as someone who lived through the attack of the vicious Achaeans and their masterfully crafted Trojan Horse, I’ve got to tell you—the whole thing was pretty freaking subtle. That’s WHY IT WORKED.
Let me tell you, the LAST thing we Trojans expected to come out of that horse was Odysseus and a bunch of bloodthirsty soldiers. I don’t care what you might have read (or, apparently, not read) about him in school, but the guy was an asshole. He deserved everything he got.
How were we supposed to know that what seemed like an intricately carved but highly flammable peace offering was really just a clever way for the Achaeans to massacre us? We weren’t. And you know why, Ms. Gomez? Because Odysseus and his merry band of marauders were so damn subtle.
So in conclusion, I would like to urge you to think more carefully in the future about how the allusions in your lyrics affect the people who lived through the events you reference. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy your catalogue of work, while making sure to press “skip” every time “Bad Liar” comes up on Apple Music.