Ordinary pop with A-list status
From childhood actress to current pop sensation, Selena Gomez has been in the entertainment industry since she was a little girl in 2002. Her career as an actress launched with Barney & Friends and continued well into her teen years with her most notable role as Alex Russo on the Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Her tween-star status helped her merge into the world of music quite successfully. Gomez has been one of the media’s top hitters over the past decade with her connections to other former Disney stars like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus as well as superstars like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. With her being one of the most followed celebrities on social media, it’s no wonder she’s making constant headlines. While Gomez often steps back from her musical career, she has started off 2020 by releasing her third solo studio album, Rare, whose lead single “Lose You to Love Me” already went #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Gomez opens the album with its namesake, “Rare,” which is a song about self-love and being one-of-a-kind with a simple pop melody and easy lyrics. On songs like “Dance Again” and “Ring,” we hear more of Gomez’s famous whisper-like vocals and more of the lyrics about confidence and happiness the album seems to embody throughout. “Look At Her Now” features pop singer-songwriter, Julia Michaels, as one the co-writers on the track, and Michaels’ influence can be heard in the cadence of the verses and in the wit of lyrics like “they fell in love one summer/ a little too wild for each other/ shiny till it wasn’t/ feels good till it doesn’t.”
The album’s most popular track “Lose You to Love Me” is a somber sounding song that features more spoken-like vocals and is about going through the motions of learning to let someone go, in order to find yourself. One of the stand-out tracks seems to be “Vulnerable” with its catchy melody and thought-out lyrics such as “If I give the opportunity to you, then would you blow it?/ If I was the greatest thing that happened to you, would you know it?” and “I would tell you all my secrets/ wrap your arms around my weakness/ if the only other option’s letting go.”
Rare has two different features, including the rhythmic pop jam “Crowded Room” featuring rapper 6LACK, which seems to be the only track where Gomez shows off some vocal capabilities. “A Sweeter Place” is the final song on the album and makes use of a unique beat and vocal distortion. The song also happens to be the only other feature, with rapper Kid Cudi.
While Selena Gomez isn’t much of a powerhouse vocalist nor an exceptional wordsmith, she has still managed to become one of the most streamed and highest-charting pop stars in the world. Rare seems to be the first record Gomez’ truly contributed to in writing and development. While this is definitely a step forward compared to her previous musical works, this project is mediocre pop at best and is probably catered mostly towards her dedicated fans as well as a curious pop listener. Her celebrity status and successful acting career have secured her a large fan base to share music with, and hopefully, with this power she’ll continue to grow as an artist.