On the second song from her third studio album Rare, Selena Gomez lets out a yelp of abandon before a funky guitar riff and dance beat backs her voice in the chorus: "Feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again." It's a good jumping off point to further analyze the pure-pop record of ready-made hits. This record feels like Selena Gomez is finally ready to have fun again after a four year new music hiatus — and my ears are thanking her for it.
Rare is a pop record in the truest sense, with each bop taking attention from the last as listeners progress through the the 13-track comeback. "Dance Again" sounds like it was made for sweat-soaked Friday nights out on the town, quite literally inviting listeners to dance along to the beat, but it's not the only song that does this. "Look At Her Now," one of the lead singles from the new era, is just as compelling with its glitchy mid-chorus vocal breakdown and shuffling drum pattern. It's not all dancing, sure, since "Lose You to Love Me" not only stands out from the pack, but does so in a moving way. The ballad marks Gomez's most sonically vulnerable moment to date, ironically beating out "Vulnerable," which comes near Rare's midpoint.
Composition-wise, the album sounds wildly fresh compared to Gomez's sophomore effort, Revival. Where Revival leaned into the tropes of top songs on the airwaves at the time, Rare leans into the tropes of pop songs that aren't making it to radio. Not quite situating itself as hyper-pop alongside the likes of stan Twitter's favorite artists, Rare would still make waves alongside the trap-centered Billboard Hot 100 roster.
This is not to say that Rare is somehow a departure from Gomez's discography. Songs like "Let Me Get Me" and "Fun" are actually evocative of a very specific moment in Gomez's career, one that showed immense promise and then dipped off slowly: 2017's "Bad Liar." From the surprisingly catchy choruses to the glittering string plucks layered throughout, the tracks are gloriously decentralized in the same ways that made "Bad Liar" such a smash hit.
Along with the album drop, Gomez premiered the music video for the title track. The entirety of the video, directed by BRTHR, is like looking at a starry sky through a kaleidoscope, following Selena while she luxuriates in a glittering fantasy forest.
Listen to Rare, in all its pop-bliss glory, below.