Look At Her Now
Lose You to Love Me
People You Know
Let Me Get You
Crowded Room feat. 6lack
Cut You Off
A Sweeter Place feat. Kid Cudi
After half a decade, Selena Gomez returns for her third solo album Rare. There’s nothing particularly outstanding or monumental on this 13 track LP but it’s a triumphant return nonetheless, one that picks up right where Selena left off and showcases a reflective selection of songs that act as a diary of her turbulent life over the past few years. While the lyrics are a little basic, there’s some personal stuff here and mixed with the catchy vocals, it’s an album that’s sure to have a few of these tracks hit high up the charts this year.
The album itself opens with “Rare”, a track that has all the ingredients to be a chart hit. Combining a simplistic bassline with some vocals that toy with the tempo of the track, this self-empowering opener eases into the core themes running throughout the album and is a pretty good song to open with. The tempo continues to increase until it grinds to a screeching halt with the best song on the album “Lose You To Love Me”. It’s here the high tempo and chart-pleasing tone peels away to show off the lyrical prowess of Selena and although she doesn’t hit the same notes someone like Adele achieves so effortlessly, there’s enough here to make for a decent song nonetheless.
From here the album brings back the quicker pace, with the surprisingly catchy “Ring”, another that feels like it’ll be in the charts sooner rather than later. The rest of the tracks swing through chart-pleasing tones that use the same key and lyrical structure for most of the songs, with “Crowded Room” standing out for the wrong reasons and feeling eerily similar to Cassie’s 2006 track “Me&U”, minus the synth-bass. All of this builds to the final Kid Cudi collaboration, a song that feels like it should have been placed a lot higher up the mix. This track placement happens to be the biggest problem with Rare.
Individually the tracks are fine but as a straight forward listen, Rare tends to feature too many tracks that cling to the rigid tempo and chorus structure inherent through much of the album. It’s particularly evident during the second half and the questionable inclusion of “Lose You To Love Me” midway through the album feels like it should be placed a lot closer toward the end. Given the lyrics and tone in this one, it would have been the perfect track to bow out the album with, ending things on a hopeful high. While the Kid Cudi track is fine on its own, it does little to really elevate Rare and subsequently ends things on an anticlimactic note rather than a bang; something the album so desperately needed.
Despite that though, there’s some personal lyrics here that certainly shine through and shed light on the issues this young singer has had to go through over the past few years. For that alone, Rare is worth a listen and Selena’s fans are sure to find plenty to like here. There’s some sure-fire chart toppers and a couple of catchy tunes but those looking for a groundbreaking or monumental pop album to stand out in 2020 will be left a little disappointed with this one.
Verdict - 6/10