Selena Gomez – Rare
Selena Gomez February 19, 2020
By: Sydney Davis
After a five-year hiatus, Selena Gomez released her album, Rare, on January 10, 2020. It was a very much anticipated album by her fans, known as the Selenators, since she began recording the album all the way back in 2016. The hype over the album intensified when she released two singles, back to back, at the end of October last year. Her first single “Lose You to Love Me”, debuted at number fifteen, and peaked all the way at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single peaked at number 27 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. These two singles got a lot of buzz and attention from audiences everywhere. She also had an emotional performance of the two singles at the 2019 American Music Awards. Despite all of this buzz, some fans and critics were not in favor of her promotion strategy. She was criticized of constantly asking fans to stream and purchase her album through her social media after its initial release, so she could get it to number one on the charts, while fighting against her competitors.
The first song and third single of the album released the same day as the album “Rare”. Chart wise this has peaked at 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “Rare” is a normal upbeat pop song. To me it sounds like anybody could have sang it. I feel like part of it is due to the fact that this was not originally a song meant for her, since it was recorded by Madison Love and Charli XCX first. I know this is common for the music industry, but I feel like since it is the self-titled and first song, it should have arrived harder. If it was a random track on the album, I do not think I would have been as critical. In a Billboard interview Selena did explain, how she related to the self-titled song and “always wanted it to be the title of the record”. Later while listening to the lyrics I understand her choice in that realm.
The next two tracks “Dance Again” and “Look at Her Now” are two dance-pop songs that are cool upbeat tracks. I think they are both uniquely fresh with their dance-pop sound, without giving a straight EDM vibe, and by having unique utilization of beats. They wrap up the spilling of insecurities of the first song “Rare” and give that happy bounce back after a breakup. What is most surprising about all these three songs to me is how upbeat and cheery they are. After the first single released, I expected a sadder lackadaisical album, so I like how it was a surprise for us as listeners.
I really like the slow ballad “Lose You to Love Me”. I believe the song is one where you can truly feel her emotions as she sings it, and the chorus is just one of those you want to belt out and sing along with her. “Vulnerable”, “People You Know”, “Let Me Get Me”, “Fun” and “Kinda Crazy”, were all songs I would group together as filler fluff songs. Just seemed like songs she recorded that ended up fitting with her theme of insecurities in relationships but did not standout on the album.
Ring is probably my absolute favorite song on the album. I love how her voice is featured in the song. It just sounds very soulful, and the beat is the lovely. I think her voice and the instrumental fit the song, specifically about how “all the guys want her” just to have them wrapped around her finger. I wish it was longer than it ends up being, but it definitely had a high replay value. The only two songs that have features are “Crowded Room” featuring 6LACK and “A Sweeter Place” featuring Kid Cudi. They both stood out to me because they had a familiarity of past songs both artists created. However, now with a special Selena twist to them. The ending of the song, “A Sweeter Place”, is incredible collaborating strongly with another great Kid Cudi hum. On the other hand, the song “Cut You Off” is awfully cringeworthy. I felt like she was trying something different, but she could have kept that one to herself. The beginning was the hardest part to sit through, it just seemed forced and awkward. The chorus is fine, just her verses just were not it for me.
Overall, I think she made a decent album. It does not stand out in her discography, Rare just seems like a typical Selena Gomez album, that she has done before.
I feel like part of this is due to the long timeframe of when the album was recorded, however it felt like it was rushed during the final production phase. So, with all that being said Rare did have some great moments that I hope Selena will continue to highlight more in the future.
Favorite Tracks: “Ring” and “Lose You to Love Me”