Selena Gomaz Moves Smoothly into Spanish Language Pop on 'Revelación' - Rolling Stone
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Selena Gomez Moves Smoothly into Spanish-Language Pop on ‘Revelación’

She has a great time singing over reggaeton beats on an EP that plays to her strengths.

selena gomez

Camila Falquez*

Selena Gomez is following in the footsteps of Christina Aguilera as the next major pop star to musically embrace their Latina heritage. Twenty years after Aguilera’s Mi Reflejo LP, Gomez dropped her first Latin project, the Revelación EP. Both titles explore a theme of reflections, like looking into the mirror at another side of their pop identities. Whereas Aguilera’s was a mix of hits re-recorded in Spanish and original material, Gomez gives the Latin sound a spin with 7 all-new songs.

Revelación is not the Mexican-American singer’s first stab at recording music in Spanish. A decade ago, she released Spanish versions of her hits a “A Year Without Rain” and “Who Says.” She also recorded a posthumous duet with her namesake, Tejana legend Selena Quintanilla. Gomez became a force in Latin music in 2018 from her feature on DJ Snake’s global smash “Taki Taki” with Cardi B and Ozuna.

While there isn’t anything as explosive as “Taki Taki” on Revelación, Gomez finds her groove among the reggaetón beats thanks to one of the genre’s innovators, Puerto Rican producer Marco “Tainy” Masís. On the Latin side, he’s worked with heavy-hitters like Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin, and on the pop side with Dua Lipa and Justin Bieber. Gomez is at the perfect intersection of both lanes and Tainy masterfully merges the two together.

In “Baila Conmigo,” Gomez playfully channels the criticism that she’s not fluent in Spanish into a red-hot moment on the EP. On the guitar-laden romp, she purrs in Spanish, “I don’t understand much, but dance with me.” Her duet partner, rising Puerto Rican singer Rauw Alejandro adds, “Making love without understanding each other is better.”

Gomez’s ASMR-ready voice is more alluring in Spanish and she plays that to her strength. She enlists another Puerto Rican star, Myke Towers, for the hypnotic “Dámelo To’.” A flute fit for snake charming backs Gomez fanning the flames of romance with Towers. Like Rauw, Towers falls under her spell too as he spits, “I’ll give mom grandkids.”

In Spanish, Gomez sounds like she’s having the most fun taking over the club in “Buscando Amor.” “Who doesn’t like a Latina dancing to reggaetón?” Gomez winkingly sings. It’s not all love when she kicks an ex to the curb with a universally understood kiss-off: “Adiós.” DJ Snake takes the wheel from Tainy for the EP’s closer, the trop-pop “Selfish Love.” The Spanglish tune doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of Gomez’s Revelación fantasy.

Aguilera’s stint of singing in Spanish led to a Latin Grammy. While time will tell if Gomez is destined for the same, her EP is a captivating flirtation with the Latin music world. Selena en español is a revelation worth revisiting on a full-length project.

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