Selena Gomez is no longer the wand-wielding teenager whose presence on Waverly Place constantly led to televised conflict. With the release of her fifth studio album, Revival, Gomez fortifies her departure from juvenile issues and her transcendence to adulthood. Released on October 9 through Interscope, Revival boasts a satisfying collection of songs fueled by honesty and packaged with enticing hooks and unrelentingly infectious melodies.
The pop star immediately expresses her emergence into adulthood through the inner monologue that begins the title track, declaring “I’m reborn in every movement so who knows what I’ll become?” Although slightly cliché, the question perfectly captures the theme that runs through Revival – namely, finding one’s identity.
Gomez aptly injects her newly-embraced sexuality in the album’s wildly successful first single, “Good For You.” The track’s seductive overtones and sensual rhythms, all conveyed with sophistication, display Gomez’s new sound, which is driven by more minimalistic dance beats and saturated with R&B influences.
Still, the former Disney child star has not left behind the upbeat party tracks reminiscent of her previous work. Although “Me and My Girls” is undeniably catchy, the song seems like a step backwards in terms of maturity in an ultimately successful work. “Kill Em With Kindness” represents another track that falls short on displaying the new maturity that otherwise permeates the album.
Her departure from childhood and subsequent maturation can be found in the brutally honest “Sober,” which undoubtedly alludes to Gomez’s high profile on-again-off-again with international pop star Justin Bieber.
Gomez’s relationship with Bieber has undoubtedly played a large role in the lyrical creation of Revival, as fortified by the album’s second single “Same Old Love.” Charli XCX’s presence in the song is evident in the songwriting, as well as in the background, but Gomez still manages to make the electronic dance tune her own.
The term “Revival” carries much weight, but Gomez perfectly expresses her revival in the new identity that she has managed to cultivate while constantly shrouded in the spotlight. Although Revival carries some tracks that slightly deter its success, Gomez has crafted an album that skillfully demonstrates the flawless combination of maturity and sexuality.