Rare (Selena Gomez album)

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Rare
Selena Gomez - Rare.png
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 10, 2020 (2020-01-10)
Recorded2016–2019
Genre
Length41:53
LabelInterscope
Producer
Selena Gomez chronology
Revival
(2015)
Rare
(2020)
Alternative cover
Target, Japanese and deluxe international edition artwork
Target, Japanese and deluxe international edition artwork
Singles from Rare
  1. "Lose You to Love Me"
    Released: October 23, 2019
  2. "Look at Her Now"
    Released: October 24, 2019
  3. "Rare"
    Released: January 10, 2020[3]

Rare is the third solo studio album by American singer Selena Gomez.[4][5] It was released on January 10, 2020, through Interscope Records. As the executive producer, Gomez worked with a variety of producers, including Ian Kirkpatrick, Mike Dean, Jason Evigan, Finneas, Mattman & Robin, Sir Nolan, The Monsters and the Strangerz and David Pramik. Gomez stated that this album is her "diary from the past few years".[6] Musically, it is a pop and dance album, with influences from R&B, latin pop and electronic music.

The standard edition of the album features collaborations with 6lack and Kid Cudi. Rare was preceded by two singles: "Lose You to Love Me" was released as the lead single on October 23, 2019, and topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Gomez's first number-one single in the US to do so. "Look at Her Now" was released as the second single the following day, which peaked at number 27 on the Hot 100. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, many of whom labelled it Gomez's "best album to date", whilst complimenting its production, but describing the songwriting "easy". The deluxe edition of Rare includes five of Gomez's standalone singles released prior to the album: "Bad Liar", "Fetish" featuring Gucci Mane, "It Ain't Me" with Kygo, "Back to You" and "Wolves" with Marshmello.

Rare debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming Gomez's third consecutive number-one album in the US. Rare also debuted at number one in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Norway, Mexico, Belgium, Portugal and Scotland; while peaking in the top 3 of many other countries, including the UK, Germany, New Zealand, Spain and Poland.

Background[edit]

Speaking in a November 2019 interview for Apple Music on the subject of her upcoming studio album Rare, Gomez admitted that the unreleased tracks were where she currently was. She also said that the songs on the tracklist went well with each other, after putting them in order.[7]

Gomez appeared on the radio program On Air with Ryan Seacrest and told Seacrest that she had "a million ideas and it’s just going to be cooler and it’s going to be stronger and it’s going to be better."[8] She later told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that the album will have a "sense of strong pop", and that she experimented with electric guitar. She also told Fallon that it took her "four years now to even feel at a good place with this album."[9]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Rare is primarily a pop[1] and dance music[2] record which experiments with many genres, such as R&B,[10][11] electro,[11] funk-pop,[12] reggaeton,[10] alternative pop,[13] and electronic music.[12] The main themes are of "love, loss and dating"[11]. Gomez herself stated that the album is "honest, empowering and uplifting"[14], while its main messages are "self love, acceptance and empowerment".[15] She also added that the songs on Rare are "the most honest music I’ve ever made".[16]

The album's standard edition contains 13 tracks. The opener and title track is a "quiet but impactful self-love anthem"[17] with lyrics discussing "the wavering interests of a lover"[18] and the singer realizing "her love interest isn't valuing her in the way she deserves".[19] Its sound has been referred to as "backing vocals and instrumentals muffled as if the whole thing has been dunked underwater".[20] The following track, "Dance Again", is a blend of multiple genres, including funk,[21][22] dance,[1] electro,[23], and electropop.[13][24] It encompasses an "infectious" and "mellifluous" melody, "Cure-like" bass, "fuzzy" synths and a "walloping disco bassline".[25][1][26] It has been described as "lite-Daft Punk"[22] and "low-key yet deeply infectious".[1] Co-written with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, "Look at Her Now" is an upbeat dance-pop[27] and electropop[13] track which explores "being better off without the bad ones" and getting over the end of a relationship. The fourth song, "Lose You to Love Me", is the only ballad on Rare.[2] Its "bare-bones" production[28] incorporates "plucked" violins, "booming" bass, "tearjerker" piano, an orchestra, and "multi-tracked Gomez voices cascading against each other".[27][1] Critics speculated that it may be about Gomez's split from her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber.[29] The Latin-infused "Ring", which deals with "toying with noncommittal lovers",[27] drew comparisons to the works of Camila Cabello (namely her 2017 hit single "Havana"), Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know", as well as Santana's "Smooth".[27][29][30][24] Produced by The Monsters and the Strangerz with Jon Bellion, "Vulnerable" is a "warm" disco[22][29] and electropop[13] record with a "moody synth groove"[27] and elements of italo disco and tropical house.[31]

Influences of Latin music are also present on the upbeat and "dancefloor-ready"[26] "Let Me Get Me".[29] The first of Rare's two collaborations, "Crowded Room", is an R&B song which features American rapper 6lack. Tracks 10, 11, and 12 all have a funk sound.[1] "Kinda Crazy" is a "tongue-in-cheek tune" and "sinuous kiss-off"[13][22] driven by a "clean bluesy guitar lick and accompanying horns".[25] Rare ends on the song "A Sweeter Place". A collaboration with rapper Kid Cudi, the song "documents the life lessons Selena has learned and expresses hope that brighter days lie ahead".[13] The vinyl edition of Rare features a bonus track, titled "Feel Me",[32] which was previously featured on the setlist of Gomez's 2016 Revival Tour.[33][34] However, Gomez released the song on digital platforms on 21 February 2020; the day of the vinyl release.[35]

Promotion[edit]

The album was first announced and named on Gomez's Instagram account,[36] where she revealed the cover art and included a snippet of the title track.

The standard edition of the studio album was promoted and preceded by the release of "Lose You to Love Me" released October 23, 2019, and "Look at Her Now" on October 24, 2019.[37][38] On November 24, 2019, Gomez performed "Lose You to Love Me" and "Look at Her Now" at the 2019 American Music Awards to promote the album. She also appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to talk about the release of Rare.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic76/100[39]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[40]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[41]
The Independent3/5 stars[42]
NME3/5 stars[43]
Pitchfork6.8/10[24]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[2]
Slant Magazine3/5 stars[44]

Rare received highly positive reviews from music critics, with many deeming it the best album of Gomez's career to date. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 76 based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[39]

Variety's Jem Aswad labelled Rare as "one of the best pop albums to be released in recent memory" and described it as "sophisticated, precisely written and expertly produced music".[1] While calling it "shockingly, and beautifully, upbeat", Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone opined that the album is "an act of divine ruthlessness, full of dance-y, mid-tempo clarity".[2] Writing for NME, Rhian Daly called the album "a beautifully confident return from one of pop's most underrated stars, and a quietly defiant wrestling back of the narrative surrounding her",[43] while Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly praised the album's "lightness" despite its "heavy messaging".[41]

Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times named Rare as Gomez's "most meaningful solo disc" and opined that it embraces "an infectious spirit of adventure".[29] Similarly, Vulture's Craig Jenkins wrote that the album is "almost inarguably Selena Gomez's best album".[45] In a mixed review, Pitchfork's Quinn Moreland stated that the album was her "most cohesive record to date" but that "[Gomez's] introspection can only go so deep when it’s paired with sleek, easy songwriting that lets her slip by".[24] In concurrence, Alexandra Pollard of The Independent gave the album three stars out of five, deeming it "an accomplished, coherent record, with moments of ecstasy and others of pathos" but concluding that it "never quite gets out from beneath the shadow of half a decade of behemothic bangers."[42]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200, becoming Gomez's third US number-one album and the first album released in the 2020s decade to top the chart. It earned 112,000 album-equivalent units, including close to 53,000 pure album sales becoming her third consecutive chart topper.[46] In Australia the album debuted at number one on the ARIA Album Chart becoming Gomez's first number one album in the country. The album also became her first number one album in the nations of Argentina, Belgium, Lithuania, Taiwan and Scotland. In the UK the album debuted at number two behind Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent becoming her first top ten and highest peaking album in the country.

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes[47]

Rare – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Rare"
3:40
2."Dance Again"2:50
3."Look at Her Now"
2:42
4."Lose You to Love Me"
  • Gomez
  • Michaels
  • Tranter
  • Larsson
  • Fredriksson
3:26
5."Ring"
2:28
6."Vulnerable"
3:12
7."People You Know"
3:14
8."Let Me Get Me"
  • Gomez
  • Larsson
  • Fredriksson
  • Tranter
  • Ailin
3:09
9."Crowded Room" (featuring 6lack)
3:06
10."Kinda Crazy"
  • Nedler
  • Fodgelmark
  • Yacoub
  • Rice[b]
  • Schoudel[b]
3:32
11."Fun"
  • Ojivolta
  • Schoudel[b]
3:09
12."Cut You Off"
3:02
13."A Sweeter Place" (featuring Kid Cudi)
4:23
Total length:41:53
Target, Japanese and international deluxe edition bonus tracks[48][49][50]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."Bad Liar"
  • Kirkpatrick
  • Rice[b]
3:34
15."Fetish" (featuring Gucci Mane)
3:06
16."It Ain't Me" (with Kygo)
3:40
17."Back to You"
  • Gomez
  • Parrish Warrington
  • Diederik Van Elsas
  • Allen
  • Micah Premnath
  • Kirkpatrick
  • Trackside
  • Rice[b]
3:30
18."Wolves" (with Marshmello)
  • Marshmello
  • Watt
3:17
Total length:59:00
Vinyl edition bonus track[51][52]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."Feel Me"
  • McKenzie
  • Phil Phever
  • J Mills
3:46
Total length:45:38

Notes[edit]

  • ^[a] signifies a producer and vocal producer
  • ^[b] signifies a vocal producer
  • ^[c] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[d] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[e] signifies an additional vocal producer

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Rare.[53]

Recording locations[edit]

Vocals[edit]

Instrumentation[edit]

  • Jon Bellion – instrumentation (6)
  • Billboard – instrumentation (7)
  • Carl Bodell – trumpet (10)
  • David Bukovinszky – cello (4)
  • Mattais Bylund – string synthesizer, string arrangement, string editing, string recording (4)
  • Kid Cudi – instrumentation (13)
  • Mike Dean – instrumentation (13)
  • Jason Evigan – instrumentation (7)
  • Jake Faun – instrumentation (1), guitar (5)
  • Finneas – percussion, synths, strings, bass guitar (4)
  • Kristoffer Fogelmark – keyboards, drums, instrumentation, guitar, bass (10)
  • Alex Hope – instrumentation (7)
  • Mattais Johansson – violin (4)
  • Ian Kirkpatrick – instrumentation (3, 13)
  • Johan Lenox – string composition, string arrangement (5)
  • Mattman & Robin – drums (2, 8), guitar (2), percussion, bass (2, 4, 8), piano, synths (2, 4), 808, organ, strings (4), keyboards, claps, harp (8)
  • Albin Nedler – keyboards, drums, instrumentation, guitar (10)
  • Sir Nolan – instrumentation (1, 9), percussion (5)
  • Oladipo Omishore – instrumentation (13)
  • Henry Oyekanmi – percussion (5)
  • David Pramik – instrumentation, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul (12)
  • Patrick Reynolds – instrumentation (13)
  • Simon Says – instrumentation (1)
  • The Monsters and the Strangerz – instrumentation (6)
  • Mark Williams – instrumentation (11)
  • Rami Yacoub – keyboards, drums, instrumentation (10)

Production[edit]

  • Selena Gomez – executive production
  • Jon Bellion – production (6)
  • Kid Cudi – production (13)
  • Sean Douglas – production (5)
  • Jason Evigan – production (7)
  • Kristoffer Fogelmark – production (10)
  • Ian Kirkpatrick – production, vocal production (3), co-production (13)
  • Mattman & Robin – production, vocal production (2, 4, 8)
  • Albin Nedler – production (10)
  • Sir Nolan – production, vocal production (1, 5, 9)
  • Ojivolta – production (11)
  • David Pramik – production (12)
  • Simon Says – production, vocal production (1), additional production (5)
  • The Monsters and the Strangerz – production (6)
  • Rami Yacoub – production (10)
  • Finneas – additional production (4)
  • Johan Lenox – additional production (5)
  • Billboard – co-production (7)
  • Mike Dean – co-production (13)
  • Alex Hope – co-production (7)
  • Oladipo Omishore – co-production (13)
  • Patrick Reynolds – co-production (13)
  • Benjamin Rice – vocal production (9-10, 12)
  • Bart Schoudel – vocal production (2-4, 6-8, 10-11)
  • Gian Stone – additional vocal production (6)

Technical[edit]

  • Cory Bice – engineering (2, 8)
  • Raul Cubina – engineering, programming (11)
  • Ryan Dulude – engineering (8), assistant engineering (4)
  • Rafael "Come2Brazil" Fadul – engineering (7)
  • John Hanes – engineering (2, 6, 8), mix engineering (4)
  • Sam Holland – engineering (8)
  • Stefan Johnson – engineering (6)
  • Ian Kirkpatrick – engineering (3, 13)
  • Jeremy Lertola – engineering (2, 8)
  • Mattman & Robin – engineering (4), programming (2, 4, 8)
  • Sir Nolan – engineering (1, 5, 9), programming (5)
  • David Pramik – engineering (12)
  • Benjamin Rice – engineering (1, 9-10, 12)
  • Simon Says – engineering (1)
  • Bart Schoudel – engineering (1-8, 10-11, 13)
  • William J. Sullivan – engineering (13)
  • Mark Williams – engineering, programming (11)
  • Bo Bodnar – assistant engineering (13)
  • Andrew Boyd – assistant engineering (3, 6, 8, 10-11, 13)
  • Kevin Brunhober – assistant engineering (2, 5, 7-8, 11, 13)
  • Lionel Crasta – assistant engineering (7)
  • Gavin Finn – assistant engineering (4)
  • Chris Kahn – assistant engineering (13)
  • Sedrick Moore II – assistant engineering (3, 12)
  • Mick Raskin – assistant engineering (2, 7, 10)
  • Jeremy Tomlinson – assistant engineering (5)
  • Finneas – programming (4)
  • Kristoffer Fogelmark – programming (10)
  • Albin Nedler – programming (10)
  • Rami Yacoub – programming (10)
  • Ben Dotson – post production vocal and sound editing (11)
  • Jon Castelli – mixing (11)
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing (2, 4, 6, 8)
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing (3, 9)
  • Tony Maserati – mixing (1, 5, 7, 10, 12-13)
  • Miles Comaskey – mix engineering (1), assistant mix engineering (10, 12)
  • Josh Deguzman – mix engineering (11)
  • Chris Galland – mix engineering (3)
  • Scott Desmarais – assistant mix engineering (3)
  • Robin Florent – assistant mix engineering (3)
  • Jeremie Inhaber – assistant mix engineering (3)
  • Najeeb Jones – assistant mix engineering (5, 7)
  • David Kim – assistant mix engineering (9, 13)
  • Dale Beckermastering (11)
  • Chris Gehringer – mastering (1-10, 12-13)
  • Will Quinnell – mastering (2-10, 12-13)

Design[edit]

  • Petra Collins – photography
  • Max Angles – design
  • Dina Hovsepian – art direction

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Argentine Albums (CAPIF)[54] 1
Australian Albums (ARIA)[55] 1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[56] 3
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[57] 1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[58] 3
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[59] 1
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[60] 2
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[61] 5
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[62] 2
Estonian Albums (Eesti Ekspress)[63] 1
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[64] 5
French Albums (SNEP)[65] 6
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[66] 3
Greek Albums (IFPI)[67] 3
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[68] 28
Irish Albums (OCC)[69] 4
Italian Albums (FIMI)[70] 6
Japan Hot Albums (Billboard Japan)[71] 30
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[72] 20
Lithuanian Albums (AGATA)[73] 1
Mexican Albums (AMPROFON)[74] 1
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[75] 2
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[76] 1
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[77] 3
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[78] 1
Scottish Albums (OCC)[79] 1
Slovak Albums (ČNS IFPI)[80] 2
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[81] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[82] 7
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[83] 3
UK Albums (OCC)[84] 2
US Billboard 200[46] 1
US Rolling Stone Top 200[85] 1

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States 230,600[86]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various January 10, 2020 Interscope [87][88]
February 21, 2020 Vinyl [89]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e Spanos, Brittany (January 10, 2020). "Selena Gomez Moves Past Her Pain on the Resiliently Upbeat 'Rare'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Rowley, Glenn (January 10, 2020). "Selena Gomez Is Right at Home Among Rainbows and Butterflies in Delightful 'Rare' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  4. ^ Curto, Justin (November 21, 2019). "Selena Gomez Will Start 2020 Off Right by Releasing Her New Album". Vulture. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  5. ^ @selenagomez (December 12, 2019). "Can't believe I'm revealing the art and title for my new album RARE, out January 10th. It's the most honest music I've ever made and I can't wait for you to hear my heart. 🖤 You can preorder RARE now ✨ smarturl.it/RARESG" (Tweet). Retrieved December 13, 2019 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Gomez, Selena [@selenagomez] (November 21, 2019). "You can now preorder my new album, out January 10, 2020. This album is my diary from the past few years and I can't wait for you to hear it. Title, art and track list coming soon" (Tweet). Retrieved November 21, 2019 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Paige, Gawley (November 21, 2019). "Selena Gomez Reveals Her New Album's Release Date". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
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  9. ^ a b Bailey, Alyssa (November 21, 2019). "Selena Gomez Finally Announced Her Album Release Date". Elle. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
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  20. ^ Pollard, Alexandra (January 10, 2020). "Selena Gomez review, Rare: Moments of ecstasy and pathos never quite live up to the singer's gold standards". The Independent. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  21. ^ Jenkins, Craig (January 10, 2020). "Selena Gomez Returns Unbothered and at Her Best on Rare". Vulture. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
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  42. ^ a b Pollard, Alexandra (January 10, 2020). "Selena Gomez review, Rare: Moments of ecstasy and pathos never quite live up to the singer's gold standards". The Independent.
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