Music Column: Selena Gomez gets personal on “Rare”


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Sophia Surrett, Contributing Writer

As a part of American culture since her debut on “Barney and Friends” in 2002, Selena Gomez has grown up in front of us, and she has been an inspiration all the way. Her personal songwriting and tabloid allure has made her life a part of the Generation Z cultural fabric.

Her latest album, “Rare,” gives listeners another glimpse behind the curtain, but Gomez’s journey to completing the album has been far from smooth. Plagued with health issues and the looming presence of paparazzi, Gomez has had a difficult two years. But “Rare” is her revival album, a striking illustration of her perseverance throughout trauma and trials. The album juggles its entertainment factor with the nearly confessional quality of Gomez’s lyrics.

“This is the most honest music I’ve ever made,” Gomez wrote on Instagram to her 144 million followers.

Gomez has always been the one to produce entertaining songs, even sometimes more sexual like “Come and Get It” and “Fetish.” This album evokes more emotion from the listener and exposes Selena’s raw emotions. “Rare” brings all those who listen to Selena closer to her true self, making her music have more connection to the generation of today.  

It isn’t as if “Rare” is one note. Gomez gives the audience songs that cross a spectrum of emotionality. The album manages to reflect real, nuanced emotions that create a full portrait of its songwriter. Gomez has cultivated a tapestry of diverse songs, from the sassy and confident “Ring” to the heartfelt single “Lose You To Love Me.”

After the release of “Rare,” the media industry was singing high praises, with Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone saying “Rare” was “an act of divine ruthlessness, full of dance-y, mid-tempo clarity.” The public’s response has been so strong that Gomez climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Artist 100 chart for the first time in her career. 

Gomez has always been popular with the younger crowd, her stints on “Barney” and the Disney Channel cementing her as a childhood legend for most Generation Z-ers. But those kids are growing up. “Rare” grows up with them, including both danceable bops and downtempo, vulnerable ballads. Songs like “Fun” and “Dance Again” are meant for singing in the car or dancing in the kitchen. On the flip side, “Vulnerable” and “People You Know” bring out deeper-rooted emotions, pulling a listener into their feelings while also promoting ideas of strength in bad times.

“Rare” is certifiable proof that Gomez is not out of business just yet. She came back with a mindset of doing things for herself, which shows people just how independently successful you can be. Her album demanded to be heard, and we listened. 

“Rare” is such an encapsulation of overcoming hardships and keeping your true self through it all, Selena Gomez brings that thought into her 13 genuine, rare, unique songs that everyone can relate to. Gomez hinted at future singles that didn’t quite make the album, and I will be first in line to listen.