A sultry, retro 'Revival'

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Selena Gomez’s newest album shows the artist’s vulnerable side.

After the release of “Good for You,” Selena Gomez fans have anxiously awaited the arrival of her highly anticipated new album “Revival.” The album was officially released on Oct. 9.

To say that the past year has been rough for Gomez would be a complete understatement. The former Disney Channel star has grown up in the public eye; but in the last year, the 23-year-old has dealt with more than most people her age.

Not only was Gomez diagnosed with lupus and had undergone chemotherapy, but she’s been harassed and shamed about her weight and has been the victim of endless gossip— especially in regards to her very public breakup with former flame, Justin Bieber.

Tired of dealing with the constant scrutiny and harassment, “Revival” suggests a new beginning for Gomez. The album title “Revival,” is a statement of purpose that declares her transition from Disney Channel teen sensation to adult pop star.

The album opens with the title track, “Revival,” perfectly summing up the entire theme of the album. The song begins with a soliloquy from Gomez, “I dive into the future, but I’m blinded by the sun. I’m reborn in every moment, so who knows what I’ll become.”

The song then begins, leading into the chorus, “This is my revival/ this is a revival.” Opening “Revival” with the title track is in a way Gomez’s declaration of not only her revival, but that she is back, stronger than ever, and ready to take control of her life.

“I’ll admit it’s been painful/ But I’ll be honest I’m grateful/ It’s my time to realize/ What I’ve learned is so vital/ More than just survival,” she sings.

The entire album reveals a more sensual side from Gomez, as her songs have much more of a “mood-setting” feel than her previous work. Gomez’s past albums never revealed much about her inner workings or who the woman behind the songs are.

“Revival” is a collection of tracks that make it clear that she is ready to be both honest and vulnerable. This is reflected also in the album cover, which features Gomez posing topless. Spectators may be thinking, ‘Here we go again, another Disney star headed down the Miley Cyrus path,’ however, Gomez’s album artwork is not so much to be sexualized, but is rather a representation of her vulnerability.  

When Gomez is constantly featured in headlines associated with ex-boyfriend Bieber, it’s hard for him to not come to mind when one hears songs discussing her love life. “You don’t know how to love me when you’re sober/ When the bottle’s done you pull me closer,” Gomez sings on “Sober.”

With Bieber dealing with his own public struggles, one can’t help but assume this song is an accusation against him.

Additionally, “Perfect,” “Nobody” and “Same Old Love” make similar possible connections to her past relationship with Bieber. “I don’t want nothing else/ Not when I had the best/ I don’t want nothing else/ Because you showed me the best/ Nobody’s gonna love me like you,” she sings on “Nobody.” The song does not come off sad. Instead, it depicts an acceptance of a harsh reality.

The album’s first single, “Good for You,” featuring rapper A$AP Rocky, was the first glimpse of Gomez’s leap into womanhood and becoming an individual artist. The sensual love song earned Gomez her first number one hit on the Billboard’s Top Pop Songs, as she explores a lower vocal range. She is undeniably venturing into fresh territory, exploring a new genre other than the generic techno-pop seen so often her previous albums. The single served as the perfect introduction to the new and improved Gomez.

She bridges the gap between her past albums and “Revival” by still delivering those catchy, upbeat, dance-floor songs as “Me & The Rhythm,” “Hands to Myself,” “Survivors,” “Body Heat” and “Kill Em With Kindness.”

With the release of “Revival,” Gomez is trying to show the world who she is as both an artist and individual— independent of Disney and Bieber.

She definitely succeeded in that aspect, as she has shown major developments in her voice, sound, beats and lyrics. Fans are introduced to a much more open and intimate Gomez, a side of her that has been practically nonexistent in her past work.

The album’s collection demonstrates her ability to experiment with new genres, while remaining true to herself. “Revival” officially established Gomez as her own person and artist.