Selena Gomez emanates grace on EP ‘Revelación’

Image of album cover
Interscope Records/Courtesy

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Grade: 3.0/5.0

Roughly a year after the release of her third solo studio album Rare, Selena Gomez has returned with her EP Revelación, released March 12. The project, making its mark as her first Spanish-language record, is a delicately delightful venture that strays from the artist’s previous dance-pop endeavors.

Gomez often overcompensates on her frequent mainstream collaborations, many of which are riddled with the type of electronic dance breaks that dominate local radio stations for too long. Yet with Revelación, Gomez possesses a picturesque awareness that she has nothing to prove. She sings tenderly, but not tentatively — her confidence is warm and firm, saturating her tracks with gentle incandescence.

To accompany this bright tranquility, vibrant reggaeton and R&B influences reign on Revelación. A bold beat snakes through “Buscando Amor,” a liberating track in which Gomez presents her new outlook on love. Ending with ebbing instrumentals, the song gently fades into the popular collaboration “Baila Conmigo.” Its chorus dances on the edge of prosaic repetition, but Gomez and Rauw Alejandro trade verses enough to enliven the peppy song. The EP, which Gomez has described as an “homage to her heritage,” affectionately celebrates facets of culture, love and identity.

Revelación crosses into more traditional Latin pop with “Adiós,” which boasts short, punchy rhymes. The song is plain in concept and weighed down by its mediocre bridge, but Gomez sings with a characteristic, confident conviction. She approaches her music with calm assurance, attempting to guide each song nearer to her vision.

Though each song is tastefully executed, the EP simmers after a while, growing rather predictable and forgettable. “Dámelo To’,” despite Myke Towers’ clean rap, is one of the EP’s weaker tracks. An unusual synth drones throughout the song, and after a mushy chorus, Gomez and Towers’ dual proclamation — intended as a hook — doesn’t hit quite as hard as it should. Later, “Vicio” doesn’t offer the most creative lyricism, though the song does effectively build some momentum with Gomez’s thematic breathy delivery.

Luckily, amongst this lackluster lyricism, Gomez’s fluent elocution definitively helps elevate the EP. On her DJ Snake collaboration “Selfish Love,” her masterful delivery claims victory over the chorus’ somewhat strange saxophone warble, a distraction that strays from the beginning’s clean, echoey production. She transitions between Spanish and English effortlessly on the single, which is the EP’s only song that features some English lyrics.

Gomez has been in fame’s eye from a young age, and while it seems impossible to escape the labels of her Disney Channel past, Revelación sees Gomez embrace inner peace with distinct grace. She shared “I want someone to love me like I’m brand-new” in a recent interview, and this hopeful realization is at the forefront of Revelación.

Gomez edges nearest to a revelation with her lead single “De Una Vez.” She soothingly sings “Sé que el tiempo a tu lado cortó mis alas/ Pero ahora este pecho es antibalas,” which translates to “I know that the time by your side cut my wings/ But now this chest is bulletproof.” The track, perhaps serving a sequel of sorts to the artist’s cathartic 2019 ballad “Lose You to Love Me,” radiates similar serene energy. And to complement her voice’s softness, there’s a subtle but fundamental fearlessness to both songs, divulging to listeners that Gomez shouldn’t be underestimated.

On the deluxe version of Rare, Gomez’s first declaration is a simple one — “I want a boyfriend,” she sighs, as if to speak a lover into existence. But with Revelación, lovers are hearts in the margin; Gomez finally finds herself as the center of attention, exuding an exquisite effortlessness that was generally absent from her previous works.

The cover artwork of Revelación portrays Gomez composed in a frilly red gown, a crimson bloom among blanketed furniture. It suggests wonder among the ordinary, and though Gomez has yet to produce a truly flawless work of art that represents her in this full bloom, Revelación finds beauty in its raw simplicity.

Vincent Tran and Taila Lee cover music. Contact Taila at [email protected] and Vincent at [email protected].