Finally, Selena dropped her new studio album Rare on the 10th of January. We all have been waiting for this moment for more than four years. Her earlier comeback singles Lose You To Love Me and Look At Her Now made us all excited for this new era, even though her live performance at the American Music Awards was just a disaster. We just saw Demi last week ruling her comeback live performance at the Grammys. The fact is that we all know Selena sounds better on audio. So I wasn’t concerned about the quality of her album and just wanted to see what she had in store for us. Selena tweeted before the release that it’s her most honest music that she has ever made. Let’s see if we agree.
Lose You To Love Me, now a #1 single in the US was Selena’s long-awaited solo comeback. I think she did the right thing to come back with a touching ballad, which is also the only one on Rare. Since it’s a breakup song it was definitely relatable to many listeners. She expressed self-love in the lyrics: “I needed to hate you to love me. I needed to lose you to love me”. I think that Selena had better ballads in the past just like Love Will Remember or The Heart Wants What It Wants. The only things that make Lose You To Love Me a remarkable ballad are the lyrical content and the touching production but I can’t count her vocals. Fun fact is that Finneas the brother of Billie Eilish co-produced this track. While everyone was streaming the lead single. I enjoyed the promotional single Look At Her Now much more. I hated the mmm-mmm-mm part when I first listened to it but it grew on me so fast that I streamed it on repeat for many days. Selena is confident and knows her self-worth, this is exactly what I was looking for. I love the lines: “She knows she’ll find love only if she wants it”. Next to this dance track, Dance Again just feels like a more serious comeback dance anthem. The lyrics are deeper and the production little darker but you can still dance to it.
Selena co-wrote both of the singles with her songwriter friend Julia Michaels. Since I also listen to Julia’s solo music, I could clearly hear out her musical prints. There is a third track on the album co-written by Julia Michaels called Fun, which rather belongs to Julia’s Inner Monologue project than to be on this record. Julia Michaels’ solo music style is well represented in the simple production and in the melody. When I first listened to Fun the only thing, I could hear was a moaning Selena Gomez. It didn’t really grow on me since then. The newest single is the title track Rare, which is a personal favorite by Selena. She knew this would be the title of her upcoming album as soon as she wrote this song. I think Vulnerable would also have been an adequate title for this record. We can discuss if Rare is a single-worthy track, in which Selena remembers her lover to treat her right.
In Vulnerable Selena sings about what it takes to have a transparent relationship. During the verses, she is concerned to be vulnerable with her lover but in the chorus, she chooses to be so and to let go of her fears. Sonically this track is a sweet daydream you wish would last a bit longer. The most relatable song on the album in my case would be People You Know. Selena sings about how people we once loved can become strangers to us. I enjoy the production and her tender vocals, the only thing I’d change is the vocal filter during the 2nd part of the chorus, which is totally unnecessary. Another relatable song is definitely Kinda Crazy. The production combined with Selena’s vocals makes me feel like the song is flirting with me and I also enjoy the trumpet during the post-chorus. Selena did a great job with the famous producer BONN and singer Jasmine Thompson, who also co-wrote and did background vocals on this track.
Crowded Room is a song I’d listen at 3 a.m. it’s romantic but also melancholic. Bebe Rexha one of my favorite female songwriters started writing this song and gave it to Selena to finish it. There’s even a snippet of Bebe’s version. Selena made the right choice by inviting 6LACk to rap on this song. Just look at these lines: “The more that I give, the more that I get. So baby, I’ma call you in the AM. You’re down for my love, honey, say when. I be waitin’ on my time ’cause I’m patient”. I just love everything about this song. Another track that wasn’t meant for Selena’s album in the first place is Ring. Normani had already teased some lyrics of it in an interview back in 2018. She must have passed on it. However, Selena enjoys the attention of her admirers in this glockenspiel.
Selena is moving on from a toxic relationship in Cut You Off. “How could I confuse that shit for love”, this line leads the track to be Selena’s first explicit solo song. It’s rumored that she’s finally cutting off Justin Bieber from her life. Vocally she’s rather talking than singing just like her friend Taylor Swift did on most of the songs on Lover. Cut You Off isn’t one of the memorable songs on Rare, it’s just there. Another filler for my ears is Let Me Get Me. Even though the lyrics are self-empowering and motivating the chorus and the production are just disappointing. They both and Fun don’t have replay value, they’re a skip for me.
Selena co-wrote the final track A Sweeter Place with the famous producer MNEK and the rapper Kid Cudi. If I’m honest with you, I’ve never heard his name before. Selena admitted that she’s a huge fan oh him and that he actually turned this track to something unbelievable. The first verse belongs to Selena and she’s kind of telling the story of her last five years. How she hid herself from the public eye and how she went through a personal dark time. “Livin’ out of the scene, out in the wild. Learnin’ to breathe up in the clouds, far from the crowds, holdin’ hands with the darkness and knowin’ my heart is allowed”. Unlike other usual rap features, Kid Cudi’s verse is a real enrichment for this song. Selena takes over gain during the bridge and lets her fans know that she’s in a better place now: “Having no fear. Heaven is near. Head is so clear, A sweeter place, my sweeter place”. I think this track is lyrically the best way to end the album but also cause of its futuristic production. Selena is letting go of her past and looks forward to her future.
I streamed the entire album at midnight right then, when it came out and I must say the patience has paid off. Rare could probably be the best pop album of 2020. Selena co-wrote on every track of the record; therefore I agree that this is her most honest music so far. Regarding her vocals, I think she did the best she can. All we need now is a world tour that doesn’t get canceled cause of her health issues. I’m excited to see what she’s got in mind for the rest of this era. We will wait and see until then let’s enjoy these new songs.