Selena Gomez, the pop princess of comebacks, released her third studio album, “Rare,” on Jan. 10, following a five-year hiatus. This intimate record focuses on Gomez’s personal growth and the adversities she faced during her time away from the limelight. The 13-track album gives powerful insight into her past relationships, mental health and other struggles, but this album exhibits little musical growth from her past discography. “Rare” is stagnant in the face of her two previous bubblegum pop albums.
The first track, “Rare,” begins the album in a mid-tempo fashion and incorporates a vaguely catchy chorus. Although this tune is a single off the album, it lacks an “it” factor. The song is unmemorable and is an easily skipped track, which unfortunately sets the mood for the rest of the album. The first promoted single off this album, “Lose You to Love Me,” has a positive message and speaks of the pain felt years after ending a relationship. The lyrics are a notch above mediocre, but the vocals leave a lot to be desired. It is obvious that Gomez’s comfort zone lies within repetitive and shallow lyrics. While this is usually enough to make the top charts, “Lose You to Love Me” is among the other tracks on this album that lack catchiness.
“Look At Her Now” is another single that falls flat but at least offers uplifting lyrics. This song relies heavily on its backing music rather than her vocals. This tune also leans into the notion of being defined by past relationships, which may leave a bad taste in listeners’ mouths. It has been done time and time again by Gomez. “Look At Her Now” lacks depth and, because of this, comes across as one-dimensional.
Standout track “Ring” is the only song that differs from the rest of the album and is literally the only track that achieves something new. The song is extremely catchy and sounds like it could easily be featured in a movie’s action scene. It sticks to her typical formula, which is to just repeat the name of the song as much as possible over the course of three minutes, but this time it works. It is reminiscent of her more successful 2015 album, “Revival.”
“Rare” also features popular artists 6LACK and Kid Cudi on “Crowded Room” and “A Sweeter Place,” respectively. Unfortunately, neither of these stars could save this flop of an album. The majority of the tracks could be classified as fillers, and only a few songs are actually worth a listen. After listening to one song off of “Rare,” the rest of the album is unnecessary as all the tracks sound the same. Considering all Gomez has endured during her five-year hiatus, more profundity was expected from her third studio album.