‘Revelación’ is the output of someone who sounds more tepid than pensive.
In Selena Gomez’s interview with Vogue just days before the release of her first Spanish-only project, Revelación, Gomez griped: “It’s hard to keep doing music when people don’t necessarily take you seriously… I think the next time I do an album, it’ll be different. I want to give it one last try before I maybe retire music.” Her analysis seems levelheaded: while Gomez boasts over a hundred awards and a dozen platinum singles to her name, she has yet to receive even a single Grammy nomination after nearly a decade in music.
The bulk of mainstream criticism against Gomez’s music hits her relatively timid voice and middling live performances. And while her lack of vocal power affects many people’s enjoyment of her music, Gomez is well within her rights to ask to be graded on her music’s merits independent of her voice. Great music (and singing) can be made by people who aren’t naturally gifted instrumentalists, as Kelly Clarkson pointed out to her last year.
But the problem with Revelación is not so much what she can’t do, but rather what she is doing with what she has. Gomez sounds downright miserable: a complete absence of vigor or passion in any of her vocal performances, sounding more put out than put on. Her uniform lack of commitment across the EP says, “I know I can’t sing, and I don’t care,” and rather than trying to convince her audience otherwise, she defeatedly accepts their preconceptions as truth.
That defeatist mentality saps the life out of a project where the production already sounds lifeless; Gomez has never sounded so unsure of herself. The EP’s directionless progression and her poor emulation of Spanish give the appearance that the project was not one of inspiration, but instead, one whose only purpose was to check a box on her musical résumé. The album only registers a pulse with the closer “Selfish Love,” a collaboration with the high octane DJ Snake made under his name, not her’s.
‘Revelación’ is not the statement of a profound truth that Gomez posits it to be. It’s the final product of someone unsure of who she is or who she wants to be.