If you keep up to date with the world of pop music and its icons, you’ll already know that Selena Gomez has had a roller coaster of a time over the last few years. She’s always been public about her health struggles (she was diagnosed with Lupus between 2012 and 2014, and in 2017 the singer underwent a kidney transplant.), and her on-again off-again relationship with the now-married (and pink-haired) Justin Bieber, and then the Weeknd.
Now, with the start of the new decade she’s released her new album, Rare, and it is packed with anthems for 20s which reflect not only her own mental space, but that of many of her fellow millennials. She’s had success with a bunch of her releases in the past, but never before has the former Disney Channel starlet created art that so truly captures the zeitgeist of the times as Rare does.
The singer herself has gone through an emotional journey, and her growth is evident in her music. But it’s not just her. Rare’s optimistic pop tracks and heart-wrenching ballads all resonate with a spirit of self-love that millennials all over the world have begun to embrace. Each track evokes the euphoria or utter devastation that are such relatable parts of forming and losing relationships, and having to build yourself up again after taking an emotional knock. Some people, namely myself, may even go as far as refer to them as “anthems of the era”.
The album’s title track is an upbeat, ego-boosting jam that is sure to help heal a lot of cracked and broken hearts. The second track, “dance again” affirms Rare’s optimism while also giving a nod to the battles with her health, with lyrics like “All the trauma’s in remission” and “happiness ain’t something you sit back and you wait for”. These are, of course, accompanied by a super catchy beat that will, obviously, encourage dancing.
The theme of putting the past behind you (a la the ghost of Mufasa) and living your best life is continued in the (already popular) “look at her now”. Admittedly, this song can be pretty annoying at first, and you’re not obligated to love the music video, but it grows on you, and its message of strength is uplifting. Again, much needed medicine for any newly-single ladies.( Gotta hand it to Selena, she must have been able to see straight into the future when she wrote the words “of course she was sad, but now she’s glad she dodged a bullet”. Who knew Justin Bieber would get so creepy this year? See his Yummy video here).
Of course, it would be remiss not to mention the album’s gutting ballad, “lose you to love me”. I can’t be the only one who had to make an emergency dash to the tissue box after listening to that one for the first time. This honest and heart-breaking track so vividly depicts the agony of a fresh break up, it’s guaranteed to have you ugly crying by the end of its first chorus. Even through the pain, the song’s message is one of hope. Yeah, you lose people you love, but sometimes it’s necessary to learn to love yourself. Clearly this is a message that rings true whether you’re a pop star or just a lowly mortal like the rest of us.
The remaining tracks on the album go from being bouncy electro pop tracks, to moodier, more introspective ones, to just plain fun (“Fun” is also the name of one of the catchier bops), but with every single one Selena has knocked it out of the park. If you’re a robot who’s not into pop music with sultry female vocals that sound like warm milk with honey, then this album probably isn’t for you. For anyone who has feelings, and who’s been through a break-up in their life, you may find that something in this album resonates with you. It certainly does with me.
The bold and honest way Selena has dealt with her struggles and used it to fuel her art is inspiring, and her spirit of self-love in spite of struggle and adversity is one that we should all strive to adopt for the duration of the decade.