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Revival [Deluxe Edition]

Selena Gomez 10/9/2015
During the short time since her last album, 2013's Stars Dance, and the release of Revival in 2015, Selena Gomez went through about a decade's worth of stuff. A label change (from Hollywood to Interscope), a very public breakup with longtime on-off boyfriend Justin Bieber, management issues, various rehab rumors, and even a few good things (a hit single, a charting collaboration with Zedd). Revival is something of a fresh start for Gomez, both musically and personally. Taking more control over the album, with more writing credits and production oversight, the sound veers away from the bubblegum nature of her early work or the genre-hopping aspects of other releases. Instead, the album sticks pretty close to a club bangers-and-ballads mix with a couple of R&B-inspired jams thrown in. Gomez sounds most at home on the uptempo dance tracks like "Kill 'Em with Kindness" or "Me & the Rhythm," where the smoothness of her voice fits in with the vacant abandon of the beat. She does a fine job on the tracks that slip outside the bounds of the formula, namely on the snappy, sassy Charli XCX-written "Same Old Love" or the steamy, tricked-out Latin beats and weird synthesizers in "Body Heat." These tracks show at her best, dialing up her personality to match the wit and imagination shown in the arrangements. The tracks that seem most personal and confessional don't always fare quite as well, with a turgid piano ballad ("Camouflage") weighing things down and the overdone "Sober." Both songs are guilty of a bit too much over-sharing -- which would be OK if the melody and music were a little more interesting -- but they really aren't. Another weak spot comes through when Gomez adopts an overly sexual persona, like on the tawdry "Good for You," or uses "adult language." When she does it feels like she's trying too hard to be grown-up. Instead of just writing about what's going on in her life or with her emotions and making it seem real, she pushes too hard and it comes off forced. It's too bad, because there is much to like about the album. There are a few songs as good as anything she's done, her voice is still very elastic and capable of singing just about anything convincingly, apart from the cartoonishly sexy stuff, and the production is pro all the way thanks to heavy hitters like Stargate, Max Martin, and Hit Boy. It makes for a solid pop album overall, but it's a little too formulaic and predictable to rate among her best work. [A Deluxe Edition added three bonus tracks: "Me & My Girls," "Nobody," and "Perfect."] ~ Tim Sendra
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  1. # Song Length
  2. 1 Revival PT4M5S
  3. 2 Kill 'Em with Kindness PT3M34S
  4. 3 Hands to Myself PT3M20S
  5. 4 Same Old Love PT3M48S
  6. 5 Sober PT3M10S
  7. 6 Good for You PT3M39S
  8. 7 Camouflage PT4M7S
  9. 8 Me & the Rhythm PT3M31S
  10. 9 Survivors PT3M38S
  11. 10 Body Heat PT3M25S
  12. 11 Rise PT2M45S
  13. 12 Me & My Girls PT3M29S
  14. 13 Nobody PT3M35S
  15. 14 Perfect PT4M

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