Selena Gomez’s New Album ‘Rare’ Is Her Final ‘Goodbye’ To Justin Bieber
Four tumultuous and headline-heavy years after the release of her last album, Selena Gomez wowed fans by dropping her striking new record, Rare, on Global Release Day. So far, it’s been touted as a vibrant ode to self-love and acceptance, embracing confidence in the face of strife and distress. Gomez herself has described the album as “the most honest music” she’s ever made, presenting it as a sort of diary of her past few years—and, needless to say, the internet is having a serious heyday in the face of this epic new new.
Kickstarting her entertainment career as Alex Russo on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, Gomez catalyzed her role as a solo pop artist with 2013’s Stars Dance, a record that met mixed reviews with its heavily electronic tone. Stars Dance was followed by 2015’s Revival, which explored the conflicts of Gomez’s personal life through a more sultry, mid-tempo sound, ultimately putting Gomez on the map as a pop artist with serious potential. And now, four years later, fans can revel in what many are calling Gomez’s best album yet: a deeply confessional record that chronicles the myriad of highly-publicized struggles Gomez has endured since the release of her sophomore album.
An example: the Billboard-Hot-100 topping single, “Lose You to Love Me,” was evidently written after Gomez returned from a stay in a mental health treatment center.
The song seems to allude to the high-profile, on-again-off-again relationship shared by Gomez and Justin Bieber, even referencing the two-month period between their breakup in 2018 and the start of Bieber’s new romance with Hailey Baldwin. Collaborator Julia Michaels had allegedly begun the composition, eventually showing it to Gomez when she returned from treatment.
“When I walked in [the studio], it was literally just the piano and the chorus and a bit of the first verse and I just sat there,” Gomez explained. “And I tell people this, too, because it was also such a very raw moment. A, I had just gotten back, but B, we were in the bright daylight, and that’s not normally how you’re maybe talking about something like that.”
“Look at Her Now” shares a similar theme, chronicling a breakup (with Bieber or The Weeknd?) that led her to be “sad / but now she’s glad she dodged a bullet.” When describing this incredibly symphonic, catchy bop, Gomez said: “It’s about kind of redeeming yourself and making sure that you acknowledge that you kind of mess up and you go through your stuff but you can always come out of it just feeling like a boss.” This sentiment seems totally entwined in the effervescent, bouncy beat and the colorful aura of the music video, released back in October.
And in the titular song—which begins our journey through the album’s sequence of synth-heavy melodies and airy vocals—Gomez addresses a lover, telling them: “it feels like you don’t care / why don’t you recognize I’m so rare? / always there / you don’t do the same for me, that’s not fair.”
Although the subject matter of these songs is rather heavy, steeped in vulnerability and raw emotion, the songs are composed with a clear lightness, a vibrancy embodied further by the luminescent rainbows threaded through the pixels of the accompanying music videos.
Beyond the breakup fodder, one might assume the song “Dance Again” to carry a certain darkness and intensity, as it refers to Gomez’s famous battle with lupus—a struggle that garnered much attention in 2017 when Gomez posted a photo following a kidney transplant made possible by her best friend, actress Francia Raisa. But even this track is layered with lively synth sounds, all merging to create a chewy, up-tempo track that urges the listener to move, to revel in Gomez’s gratitude to be able to dance after enduring so many mental and physical health challenges. And as we jump around, sharing Gomez’s excitement and celebrating her return to a confident, self-assured, and strong state, we hear her sing: “All the trauma’s in remission / no, I don’t need permission / feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again.”
There has been an outpouring of support from fans all across social media, with people expressing their love of the new album—from the slightly more experimental sound, to the rawness and vulnerability of the lyrics.
And Gomez has been making sure the album stays at the very top of people’s feeds, posting content that gives her followers a behind-the-scenes look at each new music video. As people continue to discover this delightful new release, we look forward to all the supplementary Rare content that’s sure to pop up in the meantime, rooting for Gomez’s progress all the while.