In the hours leading up to the release of her latest album, Rare, the 27-year-old singer threw an iHeartRadio listening party, where she discussed each song individually and answered questions from fans.
Prior to getting into specifics, though, Gomez explained why it took so long for her to drop another album following 2015's Revival.
"I have gone through some stuff, and I had moments of being super inspired. Throughout the years I would have this patch of time when I would just feel like I needed to say all the nasty, sad things I needed to get out and then I wouldn't do anymore than that," she said. "... I'm really glad I didn't rush this process. I don't know why, but for some reason it never felt like it was complete or that I felt like it needed to be out. Every time I'd think about I'd get nervous."
"And then sure enough, in 2019 I had written 'Lose You To Love Me' at the beginning of the year, which I wouldn't have had a few years ago. And then towards the summer writing 'Look At Her Now.' And in between that I gained so much confidence and understanding of who I am; what I love, what I don't love," she continued. "I think that it was important for me to wait this long."
Now that it's finally here, Gomez said that releasing the songs into the world is "so scary because I've had these songs for so long and now it's out and I'm freaking out a bit." Despite that, though, she's "not nervous about anything" because "if you don't like it, then you don't like it, but I love it."
Keep reading to see what Gomez had to say about each track:
Gomez counted this track as "the song that I wish I could actually say personally to every single person."
"I think there's so much going on... It's just so much pressure. Everybody thinks that they have to look exactly the same and they have to do these things and the truth is, you don't," she said. "And I felt that way too... It gets in your head and this song is the opposite of that... It's a song that says, 'I know that I don't have it all, but I do know that I deserve something special.' That song is exactly how I feel. I won't tolerate being treated any other way."
After all of her challenging times in the spotlight, Gomez revealed that this song helped her come to the "cheesy" realization that she's "got my step back."
"You can be vulnerable, you can have all of these feelings, but now I'm ready to just kind of let loose," she said of the track. "... It's just fun. It's a great song to just celebrate and it feels good."
Gomez shared that this song, her second single, dropped so closely after the release of "Lose You To Love Me," so that people could see that she was OK after going through some tough times.
"I don't act in the manner that I need to always keep getting down on myself for things that I've done or messed up," she said. "So I wanted people to know it's not sad that this was a chapter ending and right after you could hear 'Look at Her Now,' so that was intentional for that reason."
"Lose You To Love Me"
This song, which Gomez said is "hands down" the most powerful one on the album, helped her to realize why she had to go through some challenging times.
"I felt like I had gone through so much and I'd always wonder why I had put myself through that and then I thought, 'This was why,'" she said. "I finally get that this was the broken part and it completed everything I needed. And then I got to share that message with the world, which means they're not alone and it's hard for anyone to walk through something like that. I was very proud of it."
Though the song is certainly personal, Gomez wasn't unsure about releasing it to the public simply because "people had already narrated their own story for me."
"If you know me, that's something that frustrates me a lot," she said. "... I choose when I am OK with sharing so much, but... it was just matter of fact. I wanted people to hear my side of it because I deserve that."
"... I just think I stopped being scared. I felt that even in the hardest situations I found myself protecting people even if that means they were hurting me," she added. "... I just needed it to be something that I had to purge and I think that it helped me feel better and comfortable with myself and not be so afraid to speak out."
Gomez dubbed 'Ring' the "sassy" track of the album.
"It's a confidence... It's just all about feeling good about myself and being able to kinda be intimidating to guys," she said before adding, "my voice sounds very different on this record as well."
Gomez said that this track is one of her favorites and the one that she considers "most empowering" off of her album because she believes that "vulnerability is strength" and "not something that makes you weak at all."
"The hardest thing in the world is to forgive someone... but, the point is, there comes a point where forgiveness is necessary, but it's also something that you need to release," she explained. "... No matter how much anyone puts me down, I'm still gonna stay the same... This is one of my favorites.
"People You Know"
After listening to the song one time through, Gomez wasn't initially blown away, but when she really heard the lyrics that all changed.
"Once I heard the words, it was actually so spot on. Whether it's friendships or relationships or moments in your life, this is such a matter of fact 'cause the line is 'People can go from people you know to people you don't,'" she said. "So this one's really fun."
This track, Gomez shared, is all about saying to yourself, "I have a choice: am I going to stay in a place where I'm stuck or am I just gonna keep going?"
"You know when you just don't feel good and you feel kind of down? And sometimes you tend to sit in that and I do that a lot," she said. "So I wrote 'Let Me Get Me' because it's like, I'm dropping all of that, the self-pity kind of thing. I'm not going to allow myself to get myself down."
"Crowded Room" (feat. 6LACK)
Gomez recorded this "very sweet" and "romantic" track years ago and always knew she wanted a male vocal to help tell the story that, "Even if we're in a crowded room, it's only me and you."
"I have this couple friend and they're married and they're so great together and such a great example of a healthy relationship. But one of the cutest things they do is [when] they have to go to a lot of social gatherings... they kind of made a deal where from across the room they [hold up one finger] and that means you're my number one," she said of the inspiration. "And I thought that was really really cute... This song really feels like... a really fun couple's song where you can just be with whoever you're with and kinda jam to it."
"That's what I picture I want to do with no one I'm dating right now," she quipped with a laugh.
After writing the track three years ago, Gomez settled on releasing it even though "the style of it is something I've never really done before."
"It's a song that's saying, 'I get it. We have our thing. I understand. But sometimes you're just kinda crazy,'" she said. "I think everybody has that moment in some sort of relationship."
Gomez counted this song as the one that was the most fun to record because "the whole objective... was me being a little bit free spirited and excited to kind of flirt again and get back to get back in there."
"Cut You Off"
This track, Gomez shared, is "another one that's kinda brushing it off."
"The second verse is explaining [that] there's so many places I could go, there's so many things I could do not being held down by something," she added.
"A Sweeter Place" (feat. Kid Cudi)
Gomez seemed particularly excited about this song, the final one on the album, and counted one of its lines -- "Holding hands with the darkness and knowing I'm allowed" -- as her favorite she wrote for the project.
"The reason I love that lyric is because... I battle from depression, anxiety, and other things as well and I had to learn so much [about] it to not be afraid of it," she explained. "And I feel like that line kind of represents [that] you're not scared of it, you're kind of holding hands with it and you're allowed to feel them and then let them go."
The track was also special because she got the chance to collaborate with Kid Cudi, who, she said, is one of her favorite artists.
"Sometimes I get burnt out, so I was like, 'Let's just do something weird... like how Cudi does.' He works on different melodies that sound awkward, but cool because he... just has this charm and this gift and he's so talented," she said. "... We sent [him] the song and he called me and he said, 'So I love the record. It's really, really good. What do you feel like I can contribute?' And I said, 'I would love for you to take the song and produce it.'"
"That's kinda scary because I don't have a guide of where it's going and he hadn't heard any of my other stuff and so I just trusted it," she continued. "... We went into the studio for two days and I watched him in awe of him laying the verse down. We had the greatest time. I can only say nice things about him, because he was really cool [and] understanding, made me feel comfortable, and we just had a great time."