An American singer-songwriter, actress, and television producer; Selena Gomez has been in the limelight since she appeared on Barney & Friends back in 2002. The beautiful singer has ever since amassed a crazy huge fan base who were elated when she dropped her third solo studio album, Rare on January 10. After the long five-year wait post Revival, when she battled with lupus, depression, and anxiety; we couldn’t wait to see what she had to give us!
The first of the thirteen-track album, also the title track, ‘Rare’, has a catchy tribal kind of thumping underlying beat and what seems like a ‘Roar’-inspired music video with the classic Selena touch. The lyrics talk about someone who is stuck in a relationship with someone who has clearly taken them for granted, hence, obviously relatable. Although ’Dance Again’ is an upbeat, dancey track with a slightly 80’s vibe; the lyrics are actually quite touching. After the words ‘All the trauma’s in remission’, she repeats ‘feels so good to dance again’... We’re so glad you’re dancing again too! ‘Look At Her Now’ is a catchy,
foot-tapping bop that scathingly talks about breaking up with her ex, Justin Bieber as dodging a bullet. The creative ‘mm-mm-mm’ is something you’re definitely going to hear a lot of! We’re sure you’ve already heard the fourth track on the album, ‘Lose You To Love Me’ that she released as a single on October 23, 2019, considering it rose quite high on almost every list there is. The self-love anthem came after her struggles on almost every front of life. This fighter came out on top and from it, has given us an anthem to sing along to when we feel down. The sassy lyrics of ‘Ring’ paired with its jazzy, Amy-Winehouse-esque vibe, and the unexpected pitch-shift in the first line of the chorus that takes you by surprise is quite possibly going to be one of the most-played songs this year. ‘Vulnerable’ has a very distinctly Selena vibe to it but the fears she expresses about being vulnerable in a relationship is something our entire generation struggles with. The conclusion to her doubts in the chorus, however, is admirable! While ‘People You Know’ is made up from the classic pop-hit recipe with all the necessary ingredients of a catchy, repetitive chorus and built up beat that drops at the chorus; the up-tempo ‘Let Me Get Me’ talks about a sense of freedom and has the same vibe as some of her older hits. ‘Crowded Room (ft. 6LACK)’ gives us a good contrast to the previous track. While Selena goes through two minutes of the song solo, 6LACK comes in for the third verse with a classic laidback rap that complemented Gomez’ mezzo-soprano.
The tenth track, ‘Kinda Crazy’ continues with the 90-BPM rhythm that Selena is most comfortable in, while she sings about a classic f***boy, calling him ‘kind of crazy, and not the good kind’. Starting abruptly and talking about issues, ‘Fun’ gradually slips into a ‘Bad Liar’ vibe at the chorus, while talking about a temporary but passionate love affair. ‘Cut You Off’, the penultimate track on the album, starts off with a very P!NK vibe, gradually moving into a classically pop rhythm as she very smoothly disses what the co-writer Liza Owen described as ‘an a**hole boy who shall not be named’. The mellow guitar solo right before the bridge was quite unusual for a Selena track but worked fantastically! The grand finale of the album, ‘A Sweeter Place (ft. Kid Cudi) is a splendid example of contemporary R&B. In her collaboration with Kid Cudi, the duo are on a search for a sweeter place with Gomez delving into her traumatic medical experience and Kid Cudi talking about his battle with depression. Both artists bared their souls, giving everyone else who has been though similar experiences a voice and words to their emotional ordeal.
The album is brutally upbeat for the type of scenarios she has dealt with in the past. Apart from the slightly sad ‘Lose You To Love Me’, she seems to have mostly boosted herself into a fast-paced self-care routine taking us all along to her ‘dance floor therapy’ sessions. She has embraced herself for all that she is and it shows as her uniqueness shines through in almost every track, making the album one of the few that could be accredited with having a near-perfect critic and fan score and inarguably her best album, by far. After the 41 minute, 53 second duration of emotionally empowered bops, we can say Rare was worth the wait! --- Tanya