re·viv·al – an improvement in the condition or strength of something.
It’s time for a revival – not only in the world of pop music but in my own life as well. Though I may not be in the right head space for any type of transformation at the moment, there’s definitely something to say for an album geared towards survival and the power to overcome.
Selena Gomez has had one hell of a year – breakups, media frenzies, hospital stays and emotional turmoil all took its toll on the 23 year-old singer. But now, as she releases her fifth studio album, Revival, things are about to change. With her dignity and strength in tact, there’s nothing she cannot overcome.
On this album, Gomez finds her voice and finally gives fans a piece of what’s really been going on in her mind, opening up about her high-profile romance with Justin Bieber, the price of fame and what it’s like to be the girl everyone loves to tear down. Going in a more mature R&B-inspired direction, the singer channels her inner Stripped era Christina Aguilera on the album’s cover – but fear not; this is a much more refined way of breaking free.
Opening title track, “Revival,” is an introduction of sorts, letting us into Gomez’s world while “Kill Em With Kindness” comes barreling in with eloquent lyrics and pop savvy hooks. No doubt a jab at the media, the track displays everything the singer stands for by being kind in a world where cruelty seems to reign. While most media-stung stars would probably admit to flipping the bird, Gomez, ever the girl-next-door, insists on keeping it classy proving that just because you left Disney doesn’t mean you still can’t be a positive role model.
“Same Old Love” (co-written with the lovely Charli XCX) might as well have been an entry from my diary lately. When it feels like everyone is so careless with each other’s feelings while turning the art of love into a mockery, it’s refreshing to hear a tale on how watching the lives of others unfold around you takes its toll when all you crave is genuine connection. With lyrics like, “I’m so sick of that same old love; the kind that breaks your heart,” it’s hard not to call this one an anthem for the hurt and lonely.
Speaking of anthems, “Sober” sent chills down my spine, giving off a pounding-drums-meets Ellie Goulding vibe. Bringing me right back to an old, painful relationship as the chorus goes, “You don’t know how to love me when you’re sober,” I was transported right back to when I was told with actions that I wasn’t enough or worthy of loving. I really hope this one becomes a single as this becomes more of an issue. We need anthems like this to show people that they are worthy of love and that the actions of others do not determine that.
“Camouflage,” no doubt about old flame, Justin Bieber, takes on a whole other notion for me, as just this past summer I had to let go of something that was never meant for me. As feelings and moments fade, they all start to blend as one, camouflaging into a sea of things you can’t believe were ever a part of your life for so long.
Bringing us back into cheerier territory, and taking on a rather Jamie xx-inspired ambiance, “Me & The Rhythm” is one of those night drive or dance-alone-in-your-bedroom-in-the-dark bangers. No shame here. Album high note, “Survivors,” represents everything Revival stands for. An anthem for anyone who has ever overcome anything mind-numbingly terrible, this one is meant to be played at full-volume.
Overall, Revival is exactly what it promotes while being a lovely example of what it means to grow up and come into your own. When I’m ready for my own revival of sorts, I’m glad to know this album will be waiting for me.
Revival is available now here.