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Just when we thought “Lose You to Love Me” was the saddest track we’d ever heard, Selena Gomez’s Rare lyrics and songs about Justin Bieber came to really bring on the tears. Gomez, 27, released her third studio album, Rare, on Friday, Jan. 10. The record marks the former Disney Channel star’s first album since 2015’s Revival, and we have to say, it was well worth the wait.
Gomez released Rare‘s first single, “Lose You to Love Me,” in October 2019. The track, which was co-written by Julia Michaels and was Gomez’s first number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, debuted with a black-and-white music video that broke the internet’s heart. From the first listen, it was clear that the ballad was about Gomez’s on-again, off-again relationship with Bieber. The couple, who confirmed their relationship for the first time at a Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2010, split for the final time in 2018, months before Bieber proposed to his now-wife Hailey Baldwin.
Rare is Gomez’s first album since she and Bieber reconnected and broke up, and, as expected, the album, which consists of 13 tracks, is full of emotional bangers. We called it: 2020 will be Selena Gomez’s year. Find out the meanings behind her most candid lyrics ahead.
“Lose You to Love Me”
“Sang off-key in my chorus / ‘Cause it wasn’t yours”
Many consider this lyric to be a reference to how Bieber and Gomez are both singers. Fans interpreted the lyric to suggest that the couple’s relationship was one-sided and skewed more toward him.
“Set fire to my purpose / And I let it burn”
Several believe this lyric is a nod to Bieber’s 2015 album Purpose, and how the “Baby” singer “set fire” to Gomez’s “purpose” in favor of his.
“This dancing was killing me softly / I needed to hate you to love me”
The “dancing” in this lyric could refer to Bieber and Gomez’s on-and-off relationship, and how the couple went back and forth in their toxic romance for each other. Given this, the lyric could be interpreted that Gomez had to cut off Bieber for good to love herself again.
“In two months, you replaced us / Like it was easy.”
This lyric could be a reference to how reconnected with and got engaged to Hailey Baldwin two months after he and Gomez broke up for good in 2018. Gomez and Bieber reportedly split in March 2018, and by July 2018, Baldwin had a ring on her finger.
“Cut You Off”
“Gotta chop chop all the extra weight / I’ve been carrying for 1460 days / Gotta, gotta, gotta clean my slate.”
These are the opening lines from “Cut You Off,” which fans believe is a diss track at Bieber. The 1460 days equal to exactly four years. Bieber and Gomez dated and off from 2010 to 2018. It’s unclear how many of those years they were actually together (both dated different people in between), but fans believe that Jelene were a couple for about four years in total.
“And I might as well just tell you while I’m drunk, yeah / The truth is that I think I’ve had enough / Professionally messin’ with my trust / How could I confuse that shit for love?”
This lyric could simply refer to the toxic nature of Gomez’s relationship with Bieber and how she had to “cut” him “off” for good to finally rid herself of him. The lyric also suggests trust issues in the relationship. In 2019, rumors surfaced that Bieber cheated on Gomez in the last months of their relationship, which is why the couple split.
“Look at Her Now”
“They fell in love one summer / A little too wild for each other / Shiny till it wasn’t / Feels good till it doesn’t”
“Look at Her Now” was the second single Gomez released off Rare. Though Gomez and Bieber didn’t make their debut as a couple until February 2011 at a Vanity Fair Oscars party, several reports claim that they started dating months earlier. The couple met 2009, when he was 16 and she was 18. In the months that followed, the two were photographed kissing in Caribbean, at a date at IHOP and on Bieber’s tour bus.
“It was her first real lover / His too till he had another / Oh god when she found out / Trust levels went way down.”
This lyric could reference Bieber’s many relationships after Gomez, including Sofia Richie, Hailey Baldwin and Chantel Jeffries. It could also be a nod to the rumors that Bieber cheated on Gomez during their relationship.
“‘Cause you’re actin’ super shady / You know it, you know it / Been dodgin’ phone calls lately / But still textin’ me, ‘Baby'”
In “Kinda Crazy”, Gomez sings about a “shady” ex who started out “sweet” but became “kinda crazy.” Some fans interpret the word “baby,” which is repeated several times in the song, as a reference to Bieber’s 2010 song “Baby.” The track came out around the same time Bieber and Gomez went public as a couple.
“I think you’re kind of crazy / And not the good kind, baby”
This lyric from the chorus also references the word “baby,” and how Gomez thinks her ex is “crazy” in a bad way.
“People You Know”
“We used to be close, but people can go / From people you know to people you don’t”
“People You Know” is about a relationship that grew apart and an ex that Gomez doesn’t even recognize anymore. Given that Gomez and Bieber dated on and off for 10 years, the song could reference how she doesn’t even know him anymore, even if she sees him on TV and in the news.
“These days / We couldn’t be farther / So how’s it feel to be on the other side?”
This is another heartbreaking lyric of Gomez and her ex growing apart. Though the theme of the lyric is universal, it’s easy to assume that emotional distance is another reason why her high-profile relationship ended.
“Saw us gettin’ older / Burnin’ toast in the toaster”
The title track off Rare has been interpreted in two ways. Some believe it’s a self-love song from Gomez to herself to remind her of how “rare” she is, while others believe it’s a simple heartbreak song about a boyfriend who ignores her. Given the specificity of the lyrics, we’re more inclined to believe the latter. In this lyric, Gomez sings about how she thought she and her boyfriend were forever before their relationship turned sour.
“Baby / You’ve been so distant from me lately / And lately / Don’t even wanna call you baby”
Like “Kinda Crazy,” fans believe that the “baby” referenced twice in this lyric is a nod to Bieber’s song “Baby.” The lyric is about how Gomez’s relationship with her boyfriend started to go downhill. Of course, she could also be using the word as a term of endearment, but it is interestingly placed.
“I know that I’m special, yeah / And I’ll bet there’s somebody else out there / To tell me I’m rare / To make me feel rare”
In this lyric, Gomez sings about how she knows she’s “special,” despite her toxic relationship telling her otherwise. The lyric signals clarity in her relationship, where she realizes that there’s someone out there who can treat her better.
“Feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again”
“Dance Again” is the classic “I’m over you song.” After a difficult breakup, Gomez finally feels like herself again, as seen in the song’s lyrics. The lyric about how she’s ready to “dance again” could also be a reference to the “dance” lyric in “Lose You to Love Me” and how she’s reclaiming the word. Instead of it having a negative connotation of an on-again, off-again relationship, she’s using dancing as a metaphor for moving on.
“I kickstart the rhythm / All the trauma’s in remission / No, I don’t need permission / I kickstart my system”
This lyric is about how Gomez doesn’t need anything specific to move on from her ex, and how, once she’s ready to take the next step, she will do so.