Revival Album Review
Released October 9, 2015
Genre: Pop, Electropop
Revival opens with a poem that leads into a surprisingly decent album opener. For an artist like Selena Gomez, the actress turned singer (who isn’t nowadays?), the track is enough to pique interest and perhaps brings someone into the album. Revival is Gomez’s second studio record and it follows the EDM & worldbeat genre smashing Stars Dance, by following the more straightforward electro pop formula that every other artist is following nowadays (Halsey, Lorde, Lana Del Rey,etc.). However, Revival is an album that, while most of it may stand true to Gomez’s personal life and struggles, falls victim to the countless plagues of pop music: hollow meanings, weak hooks, and cheap production.
“Revival’s” solid chant of a chorus is a redeemable aspect that doesn’t keep the song from fading away from my memory, but the following tracks do a pretty good job at making some questionable vocal approaches and lyrical themes. The awkward whispered vocals on “Hands To Myself” sound so out of place while “Same Old Love” starts off with a pretty interesting beat and melody, but falls victim to repetition and some pretty weak lyricism, both literally and figuratively (more on that later). The album does begin to head upwards on the cloudy and atmospheric “Good For You” but that can be attributed to the A$AP Rocky feature, which in retrospect isn’t that great. The song reiterates my lyrical and thematic problems with the record, which I’ll elaborate on later.
The track “Camouflage” sticks out like a sore-thumb as the bare piano ballad sits smach dab in the middle of all the electronic-infused pop. Gomez’s voice here sounds honest for once and the ballad isn’t too bad either, and the lyrical departure too is a nice sequitur from the weak lyrical themes. “Me & The Rhythm” follows through with the 80s pop revival tropes that is popping up every now and then (La Roux, Carly Rae Jepsen, HAIM), so the track has some enjoyable aspects but is plagued by some terrible, and recurring, vocal approaches. “Survivors” adheres to the stereotypical EDM “rise and fall” dynamics, but the drop isn’t anything to drastic to get hyped about. “Body Heat” has some world beat influences into it, and keeps things surprisingly fresh on an otherwise stale and bland pop record.
My main problem here are the lyrics and themes: they rely so heavily on being submissive that they can’t be admirable or considered healthy, considering Gomez’s young audience. In the track “Sober” Gomez talks about how her significant other “[You] don’t know how to love me when you’re sober”; I don’t know what planet you’re on, but that can’t be considered love. If it is, it’s a demented form of it. Furthermore “Good For You” focuses on Gomez being able to please her significant other, knocking down her role in the relationship and again, being submissive. It doesn’t help when considering the current landscape of feminism and gender roles actively playing a role in today’s society. I’m surprised there hasn’t been much controversy surrounding these songs; I guess that’s the media for you.
Revival is just as bland and uninspired as pop music can get this year. But honestly, what can you expect from a heavily controlled artist under the management of a corporate conglomerate? I can’t see Gomez improving more on her music, seeing how my two favorite tracks on here aren’t elaborated or even further explored with the rest of the album. Maybe she’ll get better; or maybe she won’t. Gomez’s acting talents can be debated, but the main gist with her music is as bland, tasteless, and calculated as the album cover: only made to sell and sell and sell.
FAV TRACKS: Revival, Camouflage
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Hands To Myself, Same Old Love, Sober, Me & My Girls