Former wizard and spring breaker Selena Gomez recently took to the New York Times to complain about how she isn’t respected as a real musical artist. While the on-and-off actress’ new album is titled “Revival,” it does next to nothing to revive Gomez’s already non-existent singing career.
“Revival” dropped Friday Oct. 9 and consists of 11 tracks (14 on the deluxe). Despite presenting over a dozen songs, the greatest thing about the album is quite possibly the cover – which is plain to say the least.
“Revival” kicks off with the title track and seals the doomed fate of the entire record in the first five seconds. Instead of opening the album with a punchy pop beat, Gomez’s speaking voice (which might be better than her singing one) rambles some extremely needless words about being “blinded” and “reborn.”
“Revival” as a song isn’t bad, but the awkward, unnecessary monologue in the beginning definitely sets the melancholy and over-dramatic tone of the album.
Most of the subsequent tracks are just a long list of basic pop songs that fail at hitting the “trendy” mark that Gomez was obviously going for. Over-synthesized beats and oddly-pitched background vocals are just some of the follies that plague tracks like “Kill Em With Kindness,” “Sober” and “Survivors.”
Songs that aren’t painfully bland are just a bit over-the-top. Reminiscent of “Come & Get It,” “Body Heat” tries far too hard to sound cultural. Equipped with a confusing beat and distracting saxophone, the song feels misplaced among the other tracks.
Similarly, Gomez’s single “Good For You” lacks a steady musical flow and fails to hit the “trendy pop” mark previously mentioned. Perhaps Gomez should focus less on looking good for us and focus more on sounding good for us instead.
While “Revival” is not a great album, it does have its gems. Single “Same Old Love” is strange, but in a really interesting and almost genius way. The mechanical sound of the piano riff keeps the song consistent and simple, while Gomez’s vocals present ancreative melody. The deep voice that appears during the breakdown also presents an excellent example of autotuning done right.
The third track, “Hands To Myself,” showcases an excellent beat which is both fun and unique. Gomez’s crazily unspectacular singing voice is masked as she whispers majority of the song, which complements her non-existent vocal range.
And while “Revival” may not begin on a strong note (or a note at all), it definitely ends with something better. “Rise” closes out the album with an excellent chorus that verges on anthem-like. “Rise” is earthy and and full, but unfortunately lacks the layering to be as robust as it could be to finish the album with a bang.
While Gomez’s first adult album is not a terrible record, it’s definitely not album of the year. She may have named the record “Revival,” but Gomez is going to need to revive a lot more if she wants to be taken seriously in the music industry. ◼︎