REVIEW: Gomez’s “Revival” will amaze listeners

Selena Gomez's second studio album, Revival, was an international hit. Courtesy photo: Jeanne Kim.
Selena Gomez’s second studio album “Revival” was an international hit.

By Dylan Lee, Staff–
“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 opening words, spoken by Selena Gomez in the first track of her latest album, “Revival,” set the tone and message of the project with amazing clarity and meaning.

With this cohesive yet pop-sounding album, Gomez has given us a masterful body of work in the form of a huge leap forward in her career. Each song on the disc has power and feeling behind every word; listeners cannot help but walk in Selena’s shoes as she is revived, both musically and personally.

1. Revival
This breath of fresh air begins with a short spoken-word piece by Gomez, before she kills the pulsating, layered beat with hit-worthy lyrics. This song is both charmingly repetitive and meaningful as Gomez lays the solid foundation onto which she builds the rest of her album.

2. Kill Em with Kindness
Gomez brings a new type of message in this second track with a song about forgiveness, peace and understanding. The fact that Gomez is able to keep such a message while still maintaining such a unique and soothing sound is a true talent that is hard to find in today’s pop music landscape inundated with mindless bangers. The funky beat combined with Gomez’s message is overpowering: “Your lies are bullets/Your mouth’s a gun/And no war in anger/Has ever won,” she croons in her signature powerful voice.

3. Hands to Myself
No matter how many times I hear this song, it never gets old. The soft, unobtrusive beat gives way to Gomez’s voice for the majority of the song, while she displays impressively developed songwriting ability. “You’re metaphorical gin and juice/So come on, give me a taste/Of what it’s like to be next to you/Won’t let one drop go to waste,” is merely an example of the seemingly personally tailored notes that Gomez whispers in the listener’s ear.

4. Same Old Love
This is one of the more forgettable songs on the album, but is still decent in its own right. The song, which was a single off of the album and has seen major success on the charts and radio, is just not as empowering and deep as many of the other excellent songs on the album. It is not a bad song; it just does not do enough to stand out among some truly revolutionary tracks.

5. Sober
Selena’s echoing and hard-hitting song about her lover’s substance abuse issues is a strong effort, and one of the factors that pushes this album from good to great. The heartfelt chorus stays in your head for hours and the verses tell the painful truth of a problem that is all too relatable for many people today.

6. Good for You
The message of trying to please others is emphasized on this track even more than others, but Gomez conveys her love for someone else through her impressive imagery. However, the real star of this song is up-and-coming Brooklyn rapper A$AP Rocky, whose guest verses fits like a glove to the song and brings a much-needed other point of view to the album.

7. Camouflage
A soft, crooning ballad of a seventh song is Selena’s true star moment. She completely sheds her old child-star image and recounts a tale of heartbreak and love in her silky voice. With comfortable piano playing as a backdrop, Gomez tells the story of a lost love.

8. Me & the Rhythm
“If you feel like you’re the spark, then come out of the dark,” says Gomez, who takes a break in the happy beat to deliver a strong message to everybody listening. Gomez is an inspiring artist who clearly draws upon her own experience to share her revelations in the form of catchy and talent-flaunting songs.

9. Survivors
Gomez is a survivor, as is apparent in this transformation of an album. Revived over an upbeat tempo and fast-paced notes, Gomez gives a catchy tune that will not be quickly forgotten.

10. Body Heat
In a suggestive and quick song, Gomez leaves fans thirsting for more with a meaningful yet concise song that balances her talents of lyricism and voice.

11. Rise
A smooth song reminiscent of the ocean is a perfect ending to Gomez’s album. She gives countless reasons to take action and hold onto her life. New strength, individuality and passion are the main themes of her album, and Gomez captures all of them in a track that goes from soothing to upbeat and back again seamlessly in the blink of an eye.

Overall, this album was an impressive display of many talents by Gomez. It will surely not be leaving my playlist for a long time. As Gomez says, “Even when your bones feel like weights and it’s hard to lift the smile on your perfect face, you can still find a peaceful place. Just close your eyes until you’re floating in outer space.”

This uplifting and marvelous project is a sight to behold, and should be appreciated as such.

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