Back when Selena Gomez was still known as the Disney star on Wizards of Waverly Place and a member of Selena Gomez & the Scene, she teased a new project on her Twitter account. The tweet, which said, “Can’t wait for y’all to hear the Spanish record ;) it’s sounding so cool,” thrilled fans who were patiently waiting for her first solo full–length album. When Gomez announced she was taking a break from music the following year, and her subsequent return was accompanied with dance pop and EDM, many became worried that Gomez had forgotten about the promise she had made.
It turns out that this Spanish record would become Revelación—Gomez’s new EP released ten years after her tweet. Gomez is a very different person than she was in 2011. She now places a heavier focus on projects such as her music and her makeup line, Rare Beauty. Revelación solidifies that difference, establishing a new sound and identity for an artist that has stuck to pop music for over a decade. Like her previous albums, the EP explores themes of love and acceptance. It also showcases Gomez’s versatility and evolution in songwriting and production. after there was growing criticism that her music was becoming repetitive and formulaic.
From the very first track and lead single “De Una Vez,” it’s clear that Gomez has become more mature and thoughtful in how she views herself following a difficult situation. Infused with urban and alternative R&B elements, the song features Gomez talking about how her relationships have both failed her and made her a stronger person. She claims that “now this chest is bulletproof,” which can be seen in the music video where a prominent beating heart accompanies Gomez through both her daily life and a disaster. This heart is reminiscent of the Sacred Heart, a symbol of passion and love commonly found in Catholic art.
In an interview with Vogue, Gomez talked about this new approach towards romance, describing her motivation for writing the song as finding “the message of hope … after acknowledging the pain and hurt.” Of course, this isn’t the first time she has talked about heartbreak and self–reflection. The singles from her third album Rare touched on the aftermath of a tumultuous affair, but this time Gomez is able to take back the narrative. Rather than mulling over her partner and their mistakes, she appreciates her self–worth as she sings, “From a death like you, I can be revived,” acknowledging the pain she has faced and vowing to move forward “stronger alone.”
After freeing herself from her past, Gomez moves on to more positive love stories. “Baila Conmigo,” which features up–and–coming Puerto Rican singer and rapper Rauw Alejandro, describes exactly the kind of love Gomez yearns for in the opening track—a type of affection that can exist even with a language barrier. Gomez and Alejandro’s voices blend well with a backing reggaeton beat to highlight how dance and other forms of nonverbal communication could be enough to initiate the first sparks of love.
In many ways, this track is true to Gomez’s personal life. As Alejandro says, “Baby, I don’t know if you speak much Spanish," but "Devouring each other without understanding each other is better.” Gomez isn’t a native Spanish speaker, but she took vocabulary lessons with a Spanish tutor so she could cherish her Latin heritage on Revelación. Even if she isn’t completely fluent in the language, Gomez doesn’t care as long she asks her love interest to “dance, dance, dance with me,” signifying a shift in her definition of adoration.
Continuing the theme of newfound love is the standout track “Vicio,” which features Gomez professing her feelings for a new partner. She said post–heartbreak that she promised herself to be a stronger and better person, and now she has succeeded in finding someone who can bring the best out of her. When she sings, “You gave life to what was dead / I didn’t believe in love,” Gomez makes a subtle reference to the “De Una Vez” music video. She can still be revived and find new meaning in relationships if she connects with the perfect lover—even if nothing is left of her except for her heart. On the chorus, she repeats, “Your lips / Are my vice,” an addiction to love that sharply contrasts her past beliefs that love would appear in her life again.
Gomez’s long–awaited Spanish project may have been delayed for years, but she needed all her past experiences to make it as personal as it is now. As the title implies, Revelación is a revelation for Gomez, allowing her to explore what it means to love and be loved. Multiple high–profile heartbreaks caused Gomez to spend time away from the public’s eye to rediscover herself, and the EP is the product of her new interpretation of the world around her. Revelación is Gomez’s first experiment with Latin music, but it also represents Gomez’s long–term experiment in searching for new ways to love.