"What I've learned is so vital/more than just survival/this is my revival/this is a revival" sings Selena Gomez in the opening song of her newest album Revival (Target Exclusive).  She may be a bit ambitious in imagining that this represents a revival or re-imagining of herself and her music.

Revival is, like Selena's previous albums, primarily about being in love and out of love.  The new element could be that many songs here have a far greater element of sexuality, in songs like "Good for You," "Body Heat," and "Cologne."  (She also curses on this album, which is new but hardly denotes maturity.)  There are the bad boyfriend/break-up songs "Same Old Love," "Sober" and "Nobody."  There are songs about dancing and having a good time ("Me and The Rhythm," "Me & My Girls") and the self-empowering, uplifting tracks ("Revival," Rise").
There's a certain mellowness to Revival that keeps it from being a really fun pop album.  While certain weak lyrics can be forgiven (the shameless sappiness of "Kill Em with Kindness," lines like "Cuz all of downs and the uppers/keep making love to each other"), most of the would-be dance tracks don't really cut loose, either musically or vocally.  There are some good songs scattered throughout the album: the sultry wishfulness of "Good for You," the surprisingly strong "Sober" (about a boyfriend who'd only romantic when drunk), the simple-but-effective "Same Old Love," and the bonus track "Outta My Hands (Loco)."  But much as I applaud Selena Gomez for embracing her sexuality more with this album, Revival isn't that different from her previous albums, including their unevenness.
(The Deluxe Edition of Revival has three bonus songs, and the Target Exclusive version (disclaimer: I work for Target -- even though I'm out on medical leave right now) has two more songs as well.  The bonus songs are pretty good -- somewhat better than much of the regular album, in fact!)

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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