Selena Gomez: Rare (Interscope/digital outlets)

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Selena Gomez: Rare (Interscope/digital outlets)

While Elsewhere always takes considerable amusement in how many writers and producers it takes to shape a mainstream pop album these days (see the screenshot below!), we also believe that if that's what it takes to make a great album then that's what it takes.

Is this a great album by onetime Disney child star Gomez . . . who is now 27?

Well, actually that gets a very slightly qualified, “Yes”.

If for a moment we take Gomez out of the picture, those writers and producers have created terrific, often spacious, beat-driven (but not overdriven) beds. Check Dance Again or the casual appropriation of Latin rhythms on Ring.

This is sleek, chopped and channelled music with discreet placement of warm synths alongside the glitch (but not too glitchy) rhythms. Check the catchy Look At Her Now and terrific, sensual Let Me Get Me..

There's bubble and a beat behind Vulnerable which is both moody and clever, Fun is one of the weaker cuts but the substructure sells it.

As to Gomez's vocals, let's be honest she doesn't have a great range but mostly that isn't required here on these 13 songs where she gets writing co-credit, but when required she can extract the appropriate emotion and vulnerability as on Lose You To Love Me (one of the co-writers being Billie Eilish's gifted producer/brother Finneas).

And when she delivers what we might call the “revenge” songs – anyone who has followed her love life will know of her problems – she sounds subtle and surreptitious more than vitriolic, as on Cut You Off.

There's a little filler here (Crowded Room with rapper 6LACK adds nothing), but remarkably little and what there is so economic that it doesn't outstay its welcome.

Elsewhere always has a caveat about younger artists like Billie Eilish (great debut album), Charli XCX (again a fine album with last year's Charli) and Harry Styles (his new one is pretty good), it is “they don't make music for me”.

What can surprise however is that, given a fair hearing, these people can.

Selena Gomez, with this mature and accomplished album, has.

You can hear Rare by Selena Gomez at Spotify here

And here are the credits!



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