Forget Justin Bieber—Selena Gomez’s new album, Rare, is all about self-love

It has been almost five long years since we’ve had a new Selena Gomez album, but Rare is worth the wait. Today, January 10th, Gomez dropped her third studio album, her first since 2015’s Revival, and it’s her most intimate, personal one yet. After everything she’s been through in the last several years—from breakups to struggles with anxiety and depression, to health scares and even a kidney transplant—it’s not hard to see why. But don’t call it a breakup album. Rare is much more about learning to love herself.

“HERE IT IS!!! My album is officially out in the universe,” Gomez wrote on Instagram, coinciding with the release of Rare. “Thank you for the souls that worked on this with me. Now it’s yours. Hope you like it.”

Back in November 2019, Gomez announced that her new album would be dropping, and in December she revealed the title would be Rare.

In an Instagram post, she called the album the “most honest music” she’s ever made, saying, “I can’t wait for you to hear my heart”

Now that we’ve listened to Gomez’s Rare (one, two…okay, like 11 times already), we know exactly what she meant. The music is raw, intimate, and deeply personal. When she released the first track, “Lose You to Love Me,” everyone quickly connected the dots to her public breakup with longtime boyfriend Justin Bieber, who then married Hailey Baldwin. And though there are plenty of connections to Bieber throughout Rare, we love Gomez’s focus on herself, and her triumphs through adversity, instead of the men in her life.

The song names alone—”Vulnerable,” Look at Her Now,” “Dance Again,” Lose You to Love Me,” “Dance Again,” and the signoff track, “A Sweeter Place,” for instance—show how personal an album Rare is, telling a story the hard work Gomez has put in to get to a happier, healthier place.

Let’s delve into some of the most revealing lyrics on Gomez’s Rare.

Track 6, “Vulnerable,” could be seen as a microcosm of the entire album, as she sings, “If I show you all my demons, and we dive into the deep end / Would we crash and burn like every time before?” This album seems like proof that she definitely won’t crash and burn by being vulnerable.

The song “Rare” kicks off the album, and it gives a look into a lot of the self-love themes throughout.

"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"

Sure, you can see this as a breakup ballad, but we’re practically in tears with how much it’s about radical self-acceptance. You are rare, Selena! Similar vibes are echoed in “Look at Her Now,” as she sings, “Took a few years to soak up the tears / But look at her now, watch her go.” Truly, we might take these lyrics to therapy.

From there, she goes into “Dance Again,” where she says, “All the trauma’s in remission,” and that it “Feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again.” Honestly, we’re so happy for her, just listening to this one.

Rare ends with “Sweeter Place,” featuring Kid Cudi, and we think it’s beautiful to end with such hopefulness and an acknowledgment of everything she has worked so hard through.

"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."

We’re so grateful Selena has opened up to us all, and she is truly self-acceptance #goals via her lyrics on Rare. Excuse us while we listen a hundred more times.

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