Selena Gomez has returned. The 27-year-old singer dropped her highly anticipated new album Rare on Friday, Jan. 10, and she delivers on her promise that the new music would be a vulnerable look at her feelings over the last four years. (She released her last solo album, Revival, in 2015.)
The star's album consists of 13 songs, two of which—"Lose You To Love Me" and "Look At Her Now"—were released back-to-back in the fall of 2019. Throughout the album, the singer sings about confidence, self-awareness, honesty, mental health, vulnerability and self-love, and her previously released singles aren't the only ones that appear to be about her ex Justin Bieber.
She starts the album off with the title track "Rare." In an interview with Spotify, the songstress revealed the inspiration behind the title.
"I just felt like that was me if that makes sense," Gomez said. "Obviously, I've had a lot of self esteem issues in the past. I still struggle with confidence and you know, it's going to be something that I'm always working on. Rare made me feel incredible. That name was so important to me the moment I heard it."
Now, let's break down the Rare lyrics. Shall we?
1. "Rare": Gomez opens up her album with the title track. In it, she's basically saying to a lover, "Boy, don't you know how good you have it with me?" It's a reminder to herself (and all women) that being with them is a gift.
The first words she sings on the album are, "Baby / You've been so distant from me lately / And lately / Don't even wanna call you baby."
Then she laments about the future she saw them having together. "Saw us gettin' older (Older) / Burnin' toast in the toaster," she sings. "My ambitions were too high / Waiting up for you upstairs (Upstairs) / Why you act like I'm not there? / Baby, right now it feels like."
In the chorus, she asks the big question. "It feels like you don't care / Why don't you recognize I'm so rare? / Always there / You don't do the same for me, that's not fair / I don't have it all / I'm not claiming to / But I know that I'm special (So special), yeah / And I'll bet there's somebody else out there / To tell me I'm rare / To make me feel rare."
2. "Dance Again": In this song, the breakup is done, she's done her crying and now it's time to have some fun. It's all about picking yourself up and going back out into the world unapologetically post-breakup, knowing you'll probably be hurt again, but feeling so damn good now that your ex is gone that you don't care. It's also about feeling confident post-breakup knowing that you were honest and open and vulnerable with your lover.
As Gomez sings, "Happiness ain't something you sit back and wait for / Confidence is throwing your heart through every brick wall."
In the second verse, she praises her vulnerability. As she declares, "Vulnerable ain't easy / Believe me / But I go there / It's like I'm 10 feet tall / I'm high off the weight off my shoulders."
In the chorus, she's feeling good. "I kick-start the rhythm / All the trauma's in remission / No I don't need permission," she sings. "Feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again / Feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again / With my emotions undressed I'm going in / With everything / To dance again / Feels so, feels so, feels so good."
3. "Look At Her Now": If "Dance Again" is the pregame, "Look At Her Now" is the party. As she sings, "At first she was sad, but now she's glad she dodged a bullet."
4. "Lose You To Love Me": The first song released from the album (and Gomez's first No. 1 hit), this song is about the self-awareness that comes from being on the other side of a breakup. You've processed everything and can take an objective look back at everything you learned. It's widely believed to be about Bieber, as she sings about quickly being replaced by Hailey Bieber after their brief reconciliation in 2018.
"I gave my all and they all know it / You tore me down and now it's showing," Gomez sings. "In two months you replaced us / Like it was easy / Made me think I deserved it / In the thick of healing."
5. "Ring": This song is all about, well, feeling hot. It's an unshakable confidence, "I'm hot and everyone wants me" kind of vibe. A mood.
"You all in your feelings, baby, all into me," she sings. "I'm one in a billion, baby, don't you agree?"
As she continues, "Obviously, you know, I'm aware of that / I'm breakin' hearts like a heart attack / Got him right where the carat's at."
6. "Vulnerable": This appears to be about The Biebs. It sounds as if this song represents Gomez's inner dialogue about getting back with the "Sorry" singer. She's basically asking herself, "If we try this again, will it end badly like all the other times?" Ultimately, she decides it's better to try than to wonder what could have been.
As Gomez wonders, "If I show you all my demons / And we dive into the deep end / Would we crash and burn like every time before? / I would tell you all my secrets / Wrap your arms around my weakness / If the only other option's letting go / I'll stay vulnerable."
7. "People You Know": With its placement coming directly after "Vulnerable," it seems as if this song is about her realizing it wasn't the right move to try again with her ex.
"So many wasted (Wasted)," she sings. "Nights with (Nights with) you (You) / I still could taste it (Taste it) / I hate it, wish I could take it back 'cause / We used to be close, but people can go / From people you know to people you don't / And what hurts the most is people can go / From people you know to people you don't."
8. "Let Me Get Me": This track is all about breaking breakup habits. In it, she basically reveals that she's just repeating the same thoughts over and over again, and now she's realized she needs a break to let loose.
"No self-sabotage, no letting my thoughts run," she sings. "Me and the spiral are done / Burn this camouflage I've been wearing for months / Tryna let a little happy in for once."
9. "Crowded Room (feat. 6LACK)": This track debuts the first feature on the album. It's all about trying to date new people. She's into it, but she's still worried about how it's going to go. Regardless, she's feeling good for now.
As she sings, "It started polite, out on thin ice / 'Til you came over to break it / I threw you a line and you were mine / Yeah, I was afraid, but you made it safe / I guess that is our combination / Said you feel lost, well, so do I."
10. "Kinda Crazy": Another song that appears to be about Bieber. It's all about holding men accountable when they do things to drive a woman crazy, then call her crazy in response.
"Hey, you're the one who started talkin' to me," she sings. "Made the move, asked me to be your babe / And now you're treatin' me like I'm insane / You're insane."
In the chorus, she delivers this epic burn: "I think you're kind of crazy / And not the good kind, baby / 'Cause you're actin' super shady / You know it, you know it / Been dodgin' phone calls lately / But still textin' me, 'Baby' / Yeah, I think you're kind of crazy / You know it, you know it / You've been lyin' just for fun / Luckily, no damage done / But now I see you're kind of crazy / You know it, you know it."
11. "Fun": In this song, Gomez is just looking to have some fun with someone new. No serious relationship for her right now. "You may not be the one," she sings, "But you look like fun."
12. "Cut You Off": This is where she decides she's not spending anymore time thinking about Bieber. She gave it all, and now his lease in her head is up. She's cutting off the thoughts cold turkey with a steely resolve.
In the lyrics, she makes note of "1460 days" of her life, aka the four years since her last album.
As she sings, "And I might as well just tell you while I'm drunk, yeah / The truth is that I think I've had enough / Professionally messin' with my trust / How could I confuse that sh*t for love?"
13. "A Sweeter Place" (Feat. Kid Cudi): The final track on the album is all about Gomez's fame break. She took time to reconnect with herself, get healthy and take a breath without the pressure of fame.
"Ooh, you'll really wanna know where I've been all this time," she sings to fer fans. "So lemme tell ya / Ooh, got two feet on the ground and felt what real is like / What it was like / Livin' out of the scene, out in the wild / Learnin' to breathe / Up in the clouds, far from the crowds / I can't believe I can be loud / Holdin' hands with the darkness and knowin' my heart is allowed / Allowed."
Gomez has clearly lived a lot in the last four years, and Rare is all about everything she has learned.