November 3, 2015
Selena Gomez’s latest album, Revival, makes it easy to forget that she was ever Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place. This album portrays Selena Gomez in a light she has never been noticed in before. In contrast to her past bubblegum pop albums, Revival contains intimate and seducing themes. This marks her transition from childhood to adulthood, an important transition for any retired Disney Channel star to make. She no longer resembles her naïve yet spunky alter-ego, Alex Russo, but the successful, mature young lady that she has become.
The title Revival shares enough about her intended theme— her own personal revival. The opening spoken lyrics of her album, “I dive into the future, But I’m blinded by the sun, I’m reborn in every moment, so who knows what I’ll become,” propose the idea that she has undergone a revolution. This statement adds a personal yet mysterious twist, as if she sends an invitation to the listener to accompany her on this journey.
In an interview, Gomez mentions how some songs in this album reflect on her experiences with hate from the media and paparazzi. She wrote “Kill Em With Kindness” to explain how she reacts to hate in a mature manner by continuing to act cordially. She states in the interview how although the paparazzi invades her personal space and makes an effort to portray her in a negative light, she never stoops down to their level; she tries her hardest to ignore them and continue with her day. To further emphasize how she never allowed the media to get to her, she incorporates a fast and upbeat tempo.
Because the focal point of this album revolves around her personal revival, Gomez alludes to intimate themes, indicating that she has grown up and can no longer be referred to as a Disney Channel star. In her track “Hands to Myself”, she describes a physical attraction that she cannot resist. She uses her whisper-like voice to set the tone throughout the song, with the exception of a repetitive belt, suggestive of her kept-in frustration.
Overall, Selena Gomez appropriately marks her transition in this album. By covering topics such as her struggle with the media and a strong attraction to a potential partner, she shows how she has transformed from an animated teenager to a refined and mature lady.