Selena Gomez’s discography is a living document of the ever-evolving chapters of her reinvention as an artist. For nearly two decades, she has been an immovable force, permeating pop culture as a platinum-selling musician, a philanthropist, an immediately recognizable actress on screen, and an executive producer behind the scenes. Gomez continues to move her career forward by never staying in one creative space for too long.
In 2009, she released her debut album as the lead singer of the pop-rock band Selena Gomez & the Scene. Kiss & Tell became the singer’s first Top 10 entry on the Billboard 200 and spawned her first Hot 100 hit with the glittering second single “Naturally.” Gomez went on to release two more studio albums with her bandmates before going solo for her official debut album Stars Dance in 2013. Proving she could hold her own as a musician, Stars Dance solidified Gomez in her generation’s trifecta of post-Disney stars alongside Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus.
Stars Dance stripped away the rock influence of Selena Gomez & the Scene and cemented Gomez as a key figure in pop music as it became her first album to top the Billboard 200. In 2015, she shared the tantalizing Revival, yet another reinvention for her career as a hitmaker and songwriter that spawned multiple hit singles. Taking on a full-blown pop approach, Gomez’s solo discography captures the risk-taking creative process of a teen star progressing into and through adulthood and her own artistry.
With several notable collaborations and five total albums under her belt by the end of 2015, some of Gomez’s biggest successes still awaited her. In 2020, the singer shared Rare, her most candid and compelling body of work yet which housed her first chart-topping single on the Billboard Hot 100. As evidenced by the release of her 2021 Spanish-language EP Revelación, Gomez continues to pull back layers and test the boundaries of her artistry. For a comprehensive understanding of her still-evolving discography, check out the best Selena Gomez songs that revitalized her sound and the deep cuts that spotlight her expansive, multilingual range.
The Introductory Hits
(Naturally, A Year Without Rain, Love You Like A Love Song, Come & Get It)
Selena Gomez catapulted into the stratosphere of teen pop stardom two full years before Kiss & Tell arrived in 2009. Having already locked in a loyal fanbase courtesy of her Disney Channel audience built during her time as Alex Russo in the Emmy-award winning series Wizards of Waverly Place, her pop-rock band Selena Gomez & the Scene shared “Naturally” as the second single from their debut album. The song slowly builds until you reach the infectious chorus delivered over pulsing dance beats. In the company of her band, Gomez took on the role of pop newcomer. On each of her subsequent albums with the Scene, the singer’s creative presence only strengthened.
“A Year Without Rain,” from the band’s sophomore album of the same name, presented one of Gomez’s most profound vocal performances tailored to the song’s plucky production. Later, the track would be recorded in Spanish as an homage to Gomez’s Mexican heritage, foreshadowing her future Spanish-language releases.
When The Sun Goes Down, the third and final album from Selena Gomez & the Scene, opens with “Love You Like A Song,” a synth-driven, Rock Mafia-produced electro-pop hit. The track carries Gomez’s confidence in its DNA as she paints an image of the honeymoon phase of a new relationship with each lyric.
After cutting her teeth in the band, Gomez was ready to make a name for herself as a solo musician. This moment took form as “Come & Get It,” the sultry lead single to her debut solo album that blended Punjabi’s bhangra music with the then-booming sound of electropop. A fully-realized pop artist, Gomez teamed up with pop juggernaut producers Stargate and hitmaker Ester Dean for her official reintroduction as a 20-year-old post-Disney star who was still only just getting started.
The Heart-On-The-Sleeve Hits
(Look At Her Now, Hands to Myself, Bad Liar, Lose You To Love Me)
Following the conclusion of her time at Disney, Selena Gomez shifted her focus solely to her work as an artist, injecting more of her story into her lyrics. Over time, a certain vulnerability emerged from her writing, hitting a notable stride with her first No.1 single “Lose You To Love Me.” Detailing the process of severing all ties with a previous partner as a means of reconnecting with and healing oneself, the track is a final goodbye cloaked in shimmering, piano-based production. On “Look At Her Now,” also from Rare, Gomez taps into this subject matter once, emerging from a tumultuous relationship better than ever and with brighter days ahead.
Both tracks were created by Gomez with pop hitmakers Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter. The trio has been collaborating closely since Revival where they found a hit in the cheeky single “Hands To Myself,” which set the tone for the singer’s future releases. This collaborative relationship has allowed for an ambitious confidence to emerge from the work on both Revival and Rare.
On the one-off single “Bad Liar,” the trio interpolated the Talking Heads‘ 1977 classic “Psycho Killer” for a breathy recount of the honeymoon phase of a new relationship that introduced an entirely new range of Gomez’s vocals. These hits remain some of the best Selena Gomez songs, with each song sounding nothing like their predecessors, documenting Gomez’s emergence as a confident songwriter.
The Defining Deep Cuts
(Nobody, Sober, Vulnerable, The Heart Wants What It Wants)
The 2014 single “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” offered a minimalistic approach to the booming electropop of the early to mid-2010s with a focus on Gomez’s vocal performance and became her biggest hit to date without ever being attached to an official album at the time. These moments in which Gomez strikes musical gold often extend beyond the charts, tucked into the deep cuts of her albums.
On the Revival bonus track “Nobody,” Gomez is paired with songwriter and producer Nick Monson for a reverberating note about her faith, a topic not frequently explored in her hit singles. While she shared with iHeartRadio that the lyrics are up for interpretation, she saw the song as an opportunity to unveil another side of herself in her music that her audience doesn’t often have a chance of encountering.
On the Stargate-produced “Sober,” Gomez returns to this idea of needing to look inward for strength, rather than having a dependency on anyone who could eventually disappoint you. She continues to embrace self-reliance on the Rare cut “Vulnerable,” where she makes clear that given the choice between changing herself to make a relationship work and completely letting go to prioritize her own happiness, she’ll choose herself every time.
The Language Shifts
(De Una Vez, Taki Taki, Baila Conmigo, Buscando Amor)
Back in 2010, Selena Gomez & the Scene added “Un Año Sin Lluvia,” the Spanish version of “A Year Without Rain,” to their second studio album. It was a homage to Gomez’s Mexican heritage and to the language she grew up speaking fluently until her time speaking solely English in the television and music industries led to her losing her fluency. Eight years later, she teamed up with global superstars DJ Snake, Ozuna, and Cardi B for “Taki Taki,” Gomez’s first bilingual release in over seven years.
Gomez’s biggest crossover hit yet, the reggaeton-influenced track reached No.1 in 15 countries and landed at No. 11 and 15 in the US and UK, respectively. The track set the stage for Revelación, her first Spanish-language EP shared in 2021. “This has been something I’ve wanted to do for 10 years, working on a Spanish project, because I’m so, so proud of my heritage,” she told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in an interview. The project’s lead single “De Una Vez” blends R&B and Latin pop seamlessly as Gomez maintains her theme of self-love and recovery throughout the song’s lyrics delivered entirely in Spanish.
Gomez has talked about how her music feels stronger when she sings in Spanish, and there’s a confidence that shines through on “Buscando Amor,” the Revelación cut that celebrates a self-assured, carefree lifestyle. On “Baila Conmigo,” the singer goes head-to-head with Puerto Rican singer Rauw Alejandro. The duo trades lyrics throughout the track over a rhythm-driven production from star producer Tainy.
(We Don’t Talk Anymore, Good For You, I Want You To Know, Ice Cream)
Collaborations are rare on Selena Gomez’s own projects. Only two featured artists appeared on her albums with The Scene and on her solo efforts, it wouldn’t be until her second album Revival that she would invite a guest artist. Rapper A$AP Rocky joined Gomez for an appearance on “Good For You,” the track served as the album’s lead single and tapped into an R&B sound that was fairly new to Gomez’s aesthetic at the time. “Good For You” was the singer’s largest marker of growth and maturity yet, completely severing any remaining attachments to teen stardom her audience may have had.
While features on her own albums are still scarce, some of the best Selena Gomez songs have come from her guest spots on other artists’ projects, allowing herself to step outside of the bounds of her own work by stepping into theirs. In 2015, she served as the sole vocalist on German super-producer Zedd’s platinum hit “I Want You To Know” for her biggest EDM endeavor yet, building on the beats found on Stars Dance. On Charlie Puth’s One Track Mind single “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” Gomez severs the ties of a past relationship over the song’s snappy, acoustic production.
The singer’s most exhilarating collaboration came in 2020 when she teamed up with K-Pop superstars BLACKPINK for the single “Ice Cream.” A full-circle moment for the group, who had danced to Gomez during their days as trainees, the track was written by the singer alongside Ariana Grande, Victoria Monét, Teddy, and more. Performed by a whopping five vocalists, “Ice Cream” makes room for the charm and versatility of each singer.
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