Revival - Selena Gomez Album Review
It seems as though the last five years the music industry has been utterly consumed by female pop stars. Between the unwavering fame of Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry, it feels a bit like they have a monopoly on pop. However, new stars keep coming. Revival has proven more than ever that Selena Gomez is here to stay. This coming of age album has somehow managed to have a dark eerie feel, while simultaneously making you want to dance all night. Revival's clear influences of St. Vincent and Gloria Estefan (that's something I never thought I'd say) somehow created a combination of easy-listening songs from start to finish.
The album opens with Selena's sweet and smoky speaking voice making it clear to the listener that this sexy song is not the Disney Channel Selena we've kept in the back of our minds all along. The lyrics, while a bit redundant, drive that point even deeper. I put this song on in my earbuds when I'm walking down the street, and suddenly no one can stop me from ANYTHING. It exudes confidence. These people don't know anything! I'm a new me!
2. Kill Em with Kindness
Whistling is clearly the new "thing" in pop music, but I don't hate it. Kill Em with Kindness is as cute as it is good-hearted. I so appreciate any song from a popular artist that is created for the sole purpose of giving a positive message to the audience. An uplifting and upbeat song is a breath of fresh air.
3. Hands to Myself
As soon as this song started playing for my first time, it was so familiar. Not in a bad, "Selena you're a copycat," kind of way, but more in a comforting kind of way. Its exciting beat makes you long for something new to sweep you off your feet (in her case, a new man). My favorite part of this one, however, is the positive sexual feeling Selena gives. She's embracing her new image, and doing it well.
4. Same Old Love
Same Old Love honestly feels a bit like a song from a broadway musical. Every time I listen to it, I just imagine her dancing across a stage doing a number with all those "same old" boys trying to catch her. They're all snapping their fingers and wearing pork pie hats, for the record. This one has the sort of slow and sexy vibe again, but without the element of danger. It's straightforward and simple, but I actually found myself craving a male counterpart. It would have been great as a duet, right?
Gosh, this album is so obviously for Justin Bieber. Even though the lyrics weren't written by Selena, you can almost hear her picturing his face while she sings. The last few years we've all watched him losing his grip a bit, especially with alcohol abuse. Sober seems like her anthem to him and their lost love. Admittedly, the song is pretty reminiscent of Evanescence's 2006 hit, Call Me When You're Sober, which is its major downfall. But the message still comes across loud and clear.
6. Good for You (feat. A$AP Rocky)
This song is TOUGH for me. It's so catchy and fun, but I sure do hate the message. I truly don't believe there is anything wrong with wanting to look good for a partner, because this can of course improve your own self confidence. Unfortunately I don't think that’s what this song is trying to convey. The lyrics are confusing in association with the rest of the songs on the album. It was clearly written to be a hit, which I'm sorry to say it is. Do people still want to hear that women get dolled up only for the sake of impressing their men? We were taught differently by Beyoncé, but apparently Selena still needs to catch up.
The first and only ballad on the album leaves something to be desired. While Selena's voice is just as soothing as ever, the lyrics are so elementary it's difficult to feel any emotion whatsoever. Truth be told, it felt like a song written by an angsty teenager after their first break up. The hook, "I got so much shit to say," made me wonder how anyone can take it seriously. I suppose we are all different in terms of expressing pain, but I was just hoping for a bit...more.
8. Me & the Rhythm
Why wasn't this the first single? I absolutely love this song; it is so much fun. This summer didn't provide as many hits as I would have liked (besides from Queen Taylor, of course), and there wasn't a clear song of the summer. I think this could be exactly what we were all craving. Unfortunately it's October, but I can just imagine this song playing at bars and house parties this fall and everyone slowly beginning to tap their feet until they are full fledged dancing like mad. At least I know that's what I'll be doing. I just hope no one sees me embarrassingly jamming in the car to it.
Survivors is a song that I can already imagine being remixed for hit pop stations. They'll want it to be faster and catchier, but I like it just the way it is. I think it's equally mysterious and sensual, but the lyrics do vaguely remind me of Selena's BFF Taylor's I Know Places. The song depicts running away from some threat into the unknown, just as Taylor's does. I can see this song being a hit in the same way that Katy Perry's E.T. was. It's a bit of an anthem, but has a curious feel that's different than the standard manufactured hits of the music industry.
10. Body Heat
Remember when I mentioned Gloria Estefan influences? This is one of the main songs where we see that. When I first listened to this song, it took everything in me not to start dancing in my cubicle (also, I can't dance). I hope Selena gets the opportunity to perform this at an awards show because I can imagine it being an instantly mesmerizing show. Put this song on when you need a Cristina-Meredith-esque dance break. Your mood will instantly improve.
I am such a sucker for an empowering anthem. I could do without Selena once again talking in the middle of a song (when did this become such a popular thing?), but I love this song. The simplicity of the lyrics and the fact that it has a run time of two minutes and 45 seconds make it short, sweet, and to the point. The message of the song is clear: rise up from whatever is holding you back, and keep moving forward. Be strong. I'm sure this song is as much a reminder for Selena herself as it is for her fans. Everyone is going through hell, we just have to rise.
In the midst of writing this review, Selena and her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber released a secret duet, and damn if it isn't great. It's a slow jam that is clearly something the two are using towards healing a broken relationship. You can listen to Stronghere.
Selena has recently revealed her struggle with the auto-immune disease Lupus, and we wish her all the best on her journey to health!