Selena Gomez returns to music with ‘Rare’.

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Interscope Records

The cover of Selena Gomez’s third studio album, ‘Rare’.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

American singer-songwriter and actress Selena Gomez is one of the most recognizable former Disney Channel stars and is best known for starring in the Disney Channel original series Wizards of Waverly Place, which aired from October 2007 to January 2012.

Her music career began in August 2008 when she released her debut single, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”, from the soundtrack of American teen musical comedy film Another Cinderella Story, and later that year, she formed the band Selena Gomez & the Scene, whose debut album, Kiss & Tell, arrived in September 2009 and spawned the hit single “Naturally”.

Selena Gomez & the Scene would release two more albums — A Year Without Rain (September 2010), which spawned the massively successful singles “Round & Round” and “A Year Without Rain”, and When the Sun Goes Down (June 2011), which spawned the equally successful singles “Who Says” and “Love You Like A Love Song” — before their presumed disbandment in January 2012.

Gomez would continue to pursue music as a solo artist. She released her debut solo album, Stars Dance, in July 2013, generating the hit singles “Come & Get It” and “Slow Down”, and a compilation titled For You followed in November 2014, featuring tracks by Selena Gomez & the Scene as well as from Stars Dance in addition to new material, including the hit single “The Heart Wants What It Wants”.

Upon completing the release cycle for her second album, Revival, which dropped in October 2015 and spawned the hit singles “Same Old Love” and “Hands to Myself”, Gomez withdrew from the public eye in order to focus on her health. She cut the remainder of her Revival Tour short in August 2016 due to anxiety, panic attacks, and depression stemming from being diagnosed with lupus — an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue throughout the body — and in September 2017, she underwent kidney transplant surgery and suffered a severe complication that nearly killed her, but thankfully, she pulled through.

Although she was largely absent from the view of the public, Gomez did remain in the spotlight, appearing in a variety of films, most notably reprising her role as Mavis in the third installment of American animated romantic-comedy film franchise Hotel Transylvania, and serving as executive producer of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why, but aside from acting as the featured artist on a slew of singles between 2016 and 2019 in addition to releasing a few droplet singles of her own, like “Bad Liar” and “Fetish” with American rapper Gucci Mane, Gomez was distant from the music industry due to her other obligations.

She was, however, steadily working on her next album, and she teased new music periodically throughout 2017 and 2018 before making her official comeback in October 2019 with “Lose You To Love Me” — the lead single from her third studio album, Rare, which arrived in early January.

Gomez described Rare as her “personal diary”, detailing her thoughts and feelings from over the past four years and covering a wide range of topics from personal struggles, such as her mental health and relationships, to self-empowerment and self-reflection through contemporary pop production and soft vocal delivery.

“Lose You To Love Me” is a deeply personal, emotional power ballad that makes several references to her tense and controversial relationship with Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Justin Bieber. The pair had been on and off again lovers since 2010, and on this track, Gomez takes back 10 years of heartbreak in order to heal once and for all.

With the exception of a few other tracks, such as “Vulnerable” — a gorgeous bop about being open and honest with your partner — and “Cut You Off” — a witty song about eliminating toxic people from your life — the remainder of the album doesn’t quite capture the same energy as “Lose You To Love Me”, and the emotional resonance fizzles out rather quickly as the record progresses.

Tracks like the third single, “Rare”, which speaks on knowing one’s worth and demanding to be treated with respect, and the second single, “Look At Her Now” — a self-reflective banger about healing from emotional trauma — have great sentiments behind them, but the message gets lost in the lackluster vocals and basic production.

There are also songs like “Fun” that add absolutely nothing to the album and, honestly, could have been cut from the final tracklist, but while it may not be her greatest body of work, it’s certainly not a “bad” album by any means, and the intense ridicule that Gomez has received online is not only rude and disrespectful, it’s simply unnecessary, as she’s already been going through it, and the last thing she needs is to be dragged by trolls from the internet.

Fortunately, Selena Gomez is in a much better place now than she was previously (mentally and physically), and having gotten so much off of her chest with this record, she’s finally able to move on to the next stages of her life and career.

Rare is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

UPDATE: In early April, Rare was expanded with four additional tracks, including the brand new single, “Boyfriend”. The deluxe edition also sported a reordered tracklist, which remedied some of the issues that people had with the album not sounding cohesive. The new tracklist better relates Rare‘s story and more accurately conveys the message that Gomez intends to make with the record as a whole.

Stream Rare on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5obQ9rPASQW2mLxYM8Ko6Z?si=gAJDQ9Z3RgGflZBoa_roog 

Watch the music video for “Lose You To Love Me”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlJDTxahav0 

This article was originally published in January 2020 and later revised in May 2020.