From Waverly Wizard To Serious Pop Contender, Selena Gomez’ Revival Makes A Bold Impact

camjameson
Written by camjameson
/ 7 mins read

Seeing as she really only has two officially-released studio albums under her belt, it’s amazing how firmly Selena Gomez has cemented herself within mainstream culture in the last decade, riding the wave of success from her Disney days on the set of Wizards Of Waverly Place in addition to maintaining a steady fanbase from her prior Pop Rock band Selena Gomez & The Scene, somehow becoming one of the industry’s most-beloved Pop idols despite there being just as much negative criticism aimed toward her as positive when it comes to artistic talent – For the longest time, I was part of the crowd who instinctively bad-mouthed anything Gomez-related merely because she was part of the Disney machine, especially considering how childish & underdeveloped her previous band was, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed by how exponential her growth was between the time of her hokey solo debut Stars Dance & her much more impressive 2015 album Revival. In just two short years, she’d gone from generic Taylor Swift surrogate with a Kesha-like Club Hits aesthetic – I mean, seriously, do you remember how terrible mainstream Dance Pop was in the early-teens? – to competent Alternative R&B performer with an identity all her own, championing the destigmatizing of female sexuality through her music & adopting much more expressive melodic techniques that felt somewhat unique to her voice, finally garnering my & so many others’ attention as an act to watch for the very first time; Sure, much of this was contingent upon the work of contemporaries like Ariana Grande & Demi Lovato who’d been trailblazing the whole ‘girls-have-sex-too’ movement in radio-friendly circles, but Gomez stepped up to the plate in a major way that convinced me Revival was worth a shot, at least in my free time.

Out With The Old, In With The…Well, A Different Kind Of Old

One of the major issues I found with Selena Gomez’ first solo album Stars Dance was its general lack of narrative & melodic cohesion from beginning to end, easily identifiable as a collection of songs written by producers who were just looking to cash in on the success of other Club Hit performers like Lady Gaga or Ne-Yo who were ruling the airwaves at the time; One minute you’d be blasting abrasive dance beats with some of the worst tonal imbalances in the industry, the next you’d be singing a bright, generically-girly EDM-infused Teen Pop song about reaching your true potential whilst yet-another track would suddenly present you with Reggae vibes that did not fit into the overall arrangement whatsoever – Revival fixes many of these issues by adopting a lighter, much more straightforward Synth Pop design with bits of Alternative R&B peppered in for a flavour boost, keeping its breathy Tumblr-chic atmosphere consistent from beginning to end & doing so with a brilliant arrangement of New Wave-leaning synth elements that kept you grooving throughout. “Me & The Rhythm” is perhaps my favourite track on the album & probably the best example of this new sound, its pulsating side-chained percussion sequences, subtly funky synth instrumentation & powerful basslines giving Gomez the room to be a little more flowery with her vocals, thus permitting her to inject much more enticing sexual energy & personality into every mix as if this sort of music was second nature to her; Even a more generic teen anthem like “Sober” keeps this melodic thread going, pumping out beautiful dreamscapes of repetitive synth programming over which Gomez pines like a heartbroken teen so convincingly, putting you back in the shoes of your high school romance & making you gaze off to the horizon with a heavy heart, totally embodying what was so spectacular about the eighties-era Synth Wave movement instead of just generating derivative dribble like her previous record did.

Looking For An Exit Only Halfway Through

Now, just because songs like the aforementioned gems caught my fancy for being as perfect as they were, it doesn’t mean every tune on Revival was able to escape the curse of Pop monotony, the titular song “Revival” being of particular concern as it has absolutely no idea what it wants to be – With much of the R&B industry rediscovering the soothing sounds of bent Rhodes-piano chords & Wavy Neo Soul a e s t h e t i c sensibilities, everyone wanted a piece of the pie even if it didn’t ne3cessarily belong in their mouths, something Selena Gomez unfortunately fell for when writing this song. It wants to be poignant & edgy with a wild arrangement of Neo Soul instrumentation, brooding bass elements & soaring, sensual vocalizations, but it’s so incredibly messy in terms of melodic composition that it doesn’t match the rest of the album whatsoever, clearly a product of marketing nonsense meant to draw in the widest possible audience without considering if Gomez could even live up to the task; Furthermore, others like “Survivors” unwittingly drink the mainstream Kool-Aid by engaging in the then-popular act of making everything just another Tropical House tune, lackadaisically slapping some Caribbean rhythms & pulsing pad-synths the most uninspired narrative on the entire record – Thankfully, not every radio-centric Pop tune is a total scratch, as the single “Same Old Love” at least presents a slightly more unique sonic profile than the rest of the contemporary market at the time, mixing in elements of Latin Dance, Electro Pop & good ol’ Alternative R&B to make a tasty track that just simmers in the groove, going completely against modern convention with a song that feels closer to early-noughties era Indie Electronica than anything you’d find in Lorde or Miley Cyrus’ wheelhouse.

The True Origins Of ‘Selena Gomez’

Though songs like “Body Heat” would utilize a feisty Latin Dance aesthetic akin to the frenetic soundscapes of Wallpaper. or mid-career Shakira & others like crowd-favourite “Kill Em With Kindness” would set up a Deep House diva expectation she’d unfortunately fail to pursue in the ensuing years, Selena Gomez as we know her today was really born within the confines of the aptly-named Revival, discovering who she was as an artist for the very first time & simultaneously ridding herself of the Disney-centric stigma she’d been cursed with for years before; She was free to pursue music at her own pace instead of merely following industry trends – though she’d still dabble here & there – & only improved exponentially from here on out, upping her game as a live performer & producing some seriously sexy – a word I don’t say lightly – jamtaculars in songs like “Hands To Myself” that make sexual discovery sound as exhilarating as winning the lottery or getting some extra curly-fries in your regular ones – Basically, unlike her contemporaries Meghan Trainor & Camila Cabello who’re somehow still receiving play despite their inherent inadequacy as artists, I can honestly say I’ve become an undercover fan of Gomez’ work & wouldn’t be surprised if her upcoming album makes it into my weekly rotation alongside all the Metal & Detroit Techno I typically listen to; I mean, tracks like “Bad Liar” & “Fetish” are already fiddling with the thermostat in the building, so it could very-well be the helpful nudge I need to become an honest-to-goodness fan of her music, unembarrassed by the increasing presence of mainstream Pop media in my everyday life.

Selena Looks And Sounds Like My Type Of Crush

dust2dust
Written by dust2dust
/ 1 mins read

Pretty much my dream girl is the Selena Gomez type. She is what the anime club culture, of which I am a proud member, would call ‘Kawaii.’ She has one of the most innocent faces ever, and her music has plenty of fun club hits that are so much fun to listen to. Many of my favorite memories are linked to the album Revival, because this was when I met most of the friends that I have today too. From crushing on the beauty of Gomez , to car pooling to cosplay events and listening to the pulse of “Kill Em With Kindness” or “Me & the Rhythm” during those drives, I had finally found friends with the same interests as me. It wasn’t just boys, but girls in the group too, and they were just as awkward as me. It is so funny, I would have never sang along to the words of “Me & the Rhythm”, but the most outgoing one Monica was so strangely convincing that I ended up singing along with her, because she manipulated me by saying that I had to sing because if I didn’t she would look like the awkward one and it would be my fault. She went to another school, so I can admit now that I was crushing on her as much as Selena.

Bombing Around Town Blasting Selena Gomez

Snickolas
Written by Snickolas
/ 1 mins read

It’s fun to mess with the social norms of your immediate surroundings. The next time you’re told that you have a stick up your ass and you need to loosen up, do what I have been known to do many a Saturday afternoon. Play your younger sister’s music really loud and cruise your local downtown hang out spots. Quaint little towns like where I live, such as Monrovia, Arcadia, or even quainter like La Verne. I would turn up Selena Gomez’ Revival as loud as the speakers would go. Do you know how crazy it looks and sounds to see a guy like me blasting “Hands To Myself”, “Body Heat”, or “Me & My Girls.” The mouth open stares I would get were literally priceless. One time I actually had to stop at the gas station to buy a pair of gas station locs with the flames on the side, on the one hand because I was not able to actually look any of the public in the eye without busting up, and secondly because I just said, the gas station locs had flames on the side.

Growing Up With Selena Gomez

IrisOsiris
Written by IrisOsiris
/ 1 mins read

“Love You Like a Love Song” is forever the spirit of my inner girl, one who was in the process of turning into a woman, trying on my mothers heels and posing in the mirror and dreaming about boys. I would have died if anyone walked in on me, but luckily that never happened. I did grow up, and so did Ms. Gomez, whose albums later impressed me as they grew more adult in theme. Revival and its mature sound, perfect for mature girls like ourselves who discovered that boys lie, a lot, and dancing in heels all night really kills your feet.

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  • Selena Gomez