A Music Perspective: Who Says by Selena Gomez

A music perspective: Who Says Selena Gomez

Audience: teens, individuals with low self esteem

Virtual Experience:

The song, Who Says, uses both comic and tragic lyrics, mainly because it is about being yourself, and having confidence in yourself, by knowing you are worth a lot and that you can do whatever you set your mind to. This is found in the lyrics, “ Who says you’re not star potential? Who says you’re not presidential?”.  The lyrics to this song also have more of a poetic illusion, communicating a sense of finality by lyrics that mention that you can do whatever you want as long as you believe in yourself, and that in the end all that matters is that you believe in yourself. Also, another thing Selena Gomez has in her song lyrics is strategic ambiguity because self confidence and high self esteem is not something that many people believe they have, and many people have difficulty handling these situations, with everything seen in the media about how you ought to be, for you to be beautiful.  This song has a goal of trying to get individuals to know that they are not worthless and that they are beautiful inside and out.  I personally find that this song helps me a lot when I’m feeling down, and it helps boost my confidence.

Virtual Time:

Rhythmic structure: slow tempo, predictable (release) and fast tempo lyrics (intensity)

Harmonic structure: Mellow (release)

Melodic Structure: Long held notes, conjunct (release)

Phrasing: Legato, soft (release) and accelerando (intensity)

Instrumentation: few (release)

This song, Who Says, by Selena Gomez has a calm tone to it, and I find it relaxing.  Even though the chorus has a faster tempo, I think its supposed to get the listener into a happy mood.  As well the music doesn’t seem to be using many instruments, making it a release pattern type of song.  This song also had many repetitions in the rhythm of the song in the chorus, making it predictable. During the song you can also notice that the pattern definitely shifts between intensity and release patterns, mainly between chorus and rest of the lyrics.  As for what is particular for this artist, I would say it is very typical of Selena Gomez, as a lot of her songs change between intensity and release, and a many of her songs also speak about confidence, and feelings.


I would consider this song to be congruent because the main pattern of song is release and most of its lyrics are tragic with poetic illusions.  This song has an overall happy tone to it and a very boosting melody to it.  I find this song does exactly what I would expect it to do with respect to the lyrics.


The implications I get from this song is that it is teaching the youth to have high self esteem and confidence.  This song helps individuals see that they can do what they want in life if they set a goal for it. Also, the beauty shown by the media, isnt what real beauty is, because real beauty has to do with whats inside your soul and what your heart believes is beauty for yourself.


One thought on “A Music Perspective: Who Says by Selena Gomez

  1. After hearing this song a couple times, i can agree that it contains tragic lyrics. As the lyrics shift from intensity to release lyrics it give it this nice vibe where the chorus is slow in tempo and every lyric can be distinguished.

    When looking at your argument as to what the lyrics of the song mean, there are couple of messages in the song other then boosting a person’s confidence level up and self esteem. I personally think the song is showing awareness especially to females(who it is majorly directed to) that woman are usually seen as having no power and no way of stating what they are feeling. This song goes to show how woman are easily judged by their appearance and are told that they are not good enough. The song sets off this positive vibe where Selena is asking “who says” repeatedly trying to emphasizes that it is not important who judges you on your beauty. I agree the song its self is repeated in the lyrics and in the release sounds.

    i would argue that the song does use instruments except these instruments aren’t used to their fullest potential because the conjunct smooth release pattern has to be matched with the lyrics therefore the instruments used in the song if you listen closely are still there but there are balant and you can only notice them if you listen closely to the instruments in the song.

    Congruity is found in the song due to its release patterns and tragic lyrics. i would argue that the boosting melody is majorly found in the chorus where the tempo of the song speeds up to put an emphasis on the “who’s says” part of the lyrics.
    Overall, you can add more detail in the implications where you summarize the song as a whole including its release patterns and tragic lyrics and how the relationship between them make this song congruent. You can also add how strongly the message in the song is portrayed through the lyrics and release patterns.

    Zeljana Perkovic

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