After double checking my audio settings to make sure I hadn’t accidentally cranked the bass settings all the way up on my phone, I continued to listen to Selena Gomez’s new album—“Rare”—which was released on Jan. 10.
The first song, “Rare,” sets the tone for both the name and feel of the album. A groovy swaying bass beat carries Gomez’s vocals about being underappreciated in a relationship. “It feels like, you, don’t, care,” Gomez sings, “why don’t you recognize that, I’m, so, rare.”
She continues to the next song, “Dance Again,” with an even heavier pulsating bass rhythm and a skipping electronic beat. Listening to the song for the first, fifth and fifteenth time I could tell that it would be one of the catchier and more popular songs of the album, hitting all the intangibles of a pop song. To no surprise at all, I heard the catchy hook “feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again” on a commercial for the NBA’s Zion Williamson returning to play against the Houston Rockets.
By the third song, “Look At Her Now,” it felt like Gomez thought she found a winning formula with loud bass and repeating an earworm with high pitched vocals, but I would say that “mmm mmm mmm” is not as catchy of a hook as she thought. Next. Song.
Getting back on track with arguably the best song on “Rare,” Gomez waived off the bass for a slowed down and more passionate song titled “Lose You To Love Me.” The emotion exudes from her, as she declares that to be herself she had to escape her toxic relationship.
For a few minutes Gomez shifted back to generic bass-heavy pop with “Ring” which sounded like a remix of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” but with different lyrics.
Returning to pouring out her heart, Gomez sings “Vulnerable” with the catchy line of “if the only other option’s letting go, I’ll stay vulnerable” atop a respectable drum accompaniment and an echoey background.
After those seven songs, I don’t think that the next seven are even worth mentioning since after the first listen I didn’t have a hint of a desire to relisten to a single one of them. I could not recall the names of those songs or anything really outstanding or even catchy about them. I would surmise that they just exist because Gomez signed a deal for 14 songs and that’s what she delivered.
Over the last month, Gomez spent one week as Billboard’s top artist with her singles bouncing sporadically around the top 100, but this is expected since the album is nothing more than a couple catchy pop songs which I find myself humming, a feat deserving of a footnote in the record books but by no means a Grammy performance nor anything that I would write home about.