Before I started listening to the album, I’ll admit that I had some preconceptions and expectations. All I really knew of Selena Gomez was that she was a bit poppy and used to date Justin Beiber. She seemed to be the perfect, Disney princess style of pop star. However, Revival marks Gomez’s fifth album and despite only being 23, she’s certainly no stranger to the industry and this is plainly evident throughout the album as Revival shows Gomez heading in a more mature direction.
The lead single off the album, ‘Good For You’ sets out the agenda of Revival immediately. The slow and sultry electro beat perfectly compliments Gomez’s husky voice. The track certainly marks a difference from 2013’s ‘Come and Get It’. ‘Good For You’ not only showcases what a mesmerising voice Gomez actually owns, but it also marks a change in Gomez’s production style. She has revealed her huge creative input into this album and it really shows.
‘Me & The Rhythm’ takes on the role of the disco track that appears to be on just about every album, but with Gomez’s husky voice, transforms the song from ‘generic disco track’ into actually quite a decent take on the style. Likewise, ‘Survivors’ really stands out in the same way that ‘Good For You’ does, and is actually one of the best from Revival. The slightly Diplo-esque, grungy house track would not sound out of place in the coolest of clubs.
Still, Gomez’s pop roots are never far behind. ‘Camouflage' ticks off the ‘emotive ballad’, essential to any pop record. Still, the lyrics are mature and it’s a generally sound track, displaying a stronger side to Gomez’s voice. ‘Same Old Love’ comes across almost nineties in its approach with jaunty keyboards and finger clicking providing the beat. The chorus could easily have come straight out of Charlie XCX’s back catalogue, mixing the tone of voice and sing-a-long, teenage-anthem chorus which are both resonant with Charlie’s style. ‘Same Old Love’ is followed by ‘Sober’, which immediately reminded me of ‘Boom Clap’, another Charlie XCX song. She must be a fan then.
The album is by no means perfect however. Funky dance track, ‘Body Heat’ can be easily forgotten on an album which does well putting new spins on the stereotypical pop record tracks. ‘Me and My Girls’ is the biggest disappointment on Revival. The track seemed dated compared to the rest of the album, like it should have been on one of Gomez’s albums.
There are attempts throughout Revival at reviving the stereotypical pop record. Tracks such as ‘Good For You’ and ‘Survivors’ show that pop music does have a place in the adult domain. It’s a shame therefore when half of the album is really pushing boundaries and doing something innovative, that the other half of Revival doesn’t quite meet the same standard. It’s definitely a bold move, however, making the transformation from ‘Pop Princess’ to someone who doesn’t follow the rulebook, and one which is definitely welcomed, especially during those moments of genius. Revival is a good start though and it will be interesting to see if Gomez’s next album will further continue the innovation. Just maybe leave ‘Me and My Girls’ next time.