Selena Gomez‘s 27th birthday is today, July 22, and before we launch into her best songs to date, can we take a moment to appreciate her maturation?
She started as a child-star on Barney & Friends, then graduated to the celeb-factory that is the Disney Channel, and then she crossed over into the music world. That is not a unique path, to be sure, and it’s what an artist does after making that jump from kid cutie to adult artist that truly matters.
Gomez, for her part, has done an incredible job. She survived the awkward phase of falling in love with a giant superstar, breaking up with said superstar in the harsh tabloid light, and even bested personal illness to come out stronger, more powerful, and totally in control of herself. She’s always stood for positivity and personal strength, a message that should be applauded today and every day, and she currently explores an almost sinister sensuality that coyly says, “There’s more to me than this baby-face, playboy.”
Her latest album Revival is no doubt her best offering to date. It’s got some great R&B vibes well-tempered with pop dance hits. Gone is the childlike sheen, although she’s still playful and cheeky. She’s expanding her vocal talents into the world of dance with songs alongside star producers like Kygo.
In honor of her birthday, take a look at the best Selena Gomez songs so far below.
13. Selena Gomez & The Scene – “Who Says”
Shout out young Ms. Gomez for pushing one of the most positive agendas we’ve heard in pop music in the last decade. “Who Says” is a strong back hand to the haters, and as the crossover star of Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place, Selena had the hearts and ears of young girls and boys around the world, the exact market who needs to hear empowering lyrics like this more than anyone else. The song was a 2010 single from her band Selena Gomez & The Scene’s third LP When The Sun Goes Down, and heralded a maturation in her sound from generic club hits to acoustic, thoughtful songwriting, something the singer has continued to explore.
12. Selena Gomez – “Come & Get It”
In 2013, Gomez was stepping out on her own with her debut solo album Stars Dance. “Come & Get It” served as the lead single and reintroduced the pop star as a powerful, sensual being ready to leave her little girl veneer behind. It was also the first Selena Gomez song to land in the top 10 of the Hot 100. Fun fact: the song was originally shopped to Rihanna for her LP Talk That Talk, but became Gomez’ hit when the Barbadian singer passed. One woman’s ex-nay is another woman’s chance at big success, and ultimately, we can’t imagine anyone else on this jam.
11. Selena Gomez – “Back To You”
“Back To You,” released in 2018, was an emotional doozy that hit listeners right in the gut. That feeling of unfinished business is so well captured in the lyrics, “You could break my heart in two, but when it heals it beats for you/ I know it’s forward but it’s true.” One of Gomez’s most honest cuts, with a melancholic drop to match.
10. Selena Gomez – “Perfect”
Hold the phone: these are some deeply sensual vibes. Gomez has never sounds so grown and vulnerable as she does on this Revival album closer. Gomez’s pain is so relatable and clear as she sings about the woman her man prefers. The irony is that Gomez delivers a “Perfect” modern R&B performance, and the radio needs to me more like her on this track. It was a deeply personal song for Gomez who told reporters she wasn’t sure she was strong enough to put these feelings on the record. She took the emotional risk, and we are all the better for it.
9. Selena Gomez & The Scene – “Love You Like a Love Song”
One of her biggest hits when she was kicking off her music career was “Love You Like a Love Song,” from the third SG & The Scene album, 2011’s When The Sun Goes Down. The song also came with a wickedly fun video set up as a karaoke session, also featuring outlandish clips of Gomez hoola-hooping, driving in a virtual world, and being washed away by treats after hitting a piñata.
8. Selena Gomez – “Slow Down”
Appearing on her 2014 compilation album For You, “Slow Down” is one of the catchiest highlights, with flirty lyrics, “If you want me, I’m accepting applications/ So long as we keep this record on rotation,” and an instrumental drop after the chorus that is pure electro-pop heaven.
7. Selena Gomez – “The Heart Wants What it Wants”
The intro of this video is one of the most instantly arresting video intros. Many consider this Gomez song to be a heartbreaking open-letter to Justin Bieber, her shining star of a young love endlessly referenced and inspected in the public eye. The musical progression mirrors the lyrics, starting bare and almost timid and slowly building in strength and confidence. It’s a passionate single that marked a new era of Gomez’s career, the truly grown and intimate artist we know and love today.
6. Selena Gomez – “Same Old Love”
“Same Old Love” is one of those songs you feel in your bones the moment it begins. That simple, straightforward piano riff and those snapping fingers are the stuff pop hook dreams are made of. Gomez comes in strong and powerful, and the rasp in the chorus makes you just fall in love. You can really hear songwriter Charli XCX’s fingerprints all over it. Ross Golan, Stargate, and Benny Blanco also helped create this killer tune.
5. Kygo with Selena Gomez – “It Ain’t Me”
Fans were tickled pink to hear KyGomez was a thing, even before a note of this raw, pop-house anthem saw release. Now that it’s here, we know it’s the best darn Kygo song out so far, and it’s one of Gomez’ best performances for sure. It’s a tad tropical, vulnerable, and stirring. It’s a musical backbone for anyone who needs that extra push to stand up for themselves in the face of bad love. It’s the perfect tune for the lovely young woman Gomez has become, and that vocal chop of a post-chorus is everything.
4. Selena Gomez ft. Gucci Mane – “Fetish”
Fans were a bit taken aback when “Fetish” dropped back in 2017. The seductive track about having a fetish for someone had an equally as seductive visual — Gomez eating fruit very slowly, dousing herself in dirt and rain, and touching glass. Though she’s wearing a summery yellow dress, there’s something pretty evil and dark about it all…and we’re here for it.
3. Selena Gomez with A$AP Rocky – “Good For You”
This is the one you put on when you’re getting dressed for your super hot date and you just feelin’ yourself so hard, it’s almost x-rated. Gomez is entirely seductive on this tune, and tapping A$AP Rocky for the feature verse was a smooth move. “Good For You” was the lead single for Revival, letting fans know right away we were in for a much more adult experience.
2. Selena Gomez – “Bad Liar”
Listeners were skeptical when they heard that Gomez’s new single sampled the Talking Heads bassline from “Psycho Killer,” but when it was finally released, it was clear that it was a good track. David Byrne even gave it his own personal stamp of approval, with his spokesperson saying he liked the song and “wholeheartedly gave his permission.” It’s easy to see why he liked it — the bassline is prominent, with the rest of the instrumentation staying pretty minimal and yet another catchy chorus from Gomez.
1. Selena Gomez – “Hands to Myself”
This Selena Gomez song captures everything there is to love about her from start to finish. It’s catchy and danceable, it’s powerful and affirmative, it’s sensual and intimate. It showcases every facet of her musical personality, and most of all, it’s really fun to listen to. Gomez has actually referred to it as her favorite on the Revival album, which might mean its her favorite overall, and why shouldn’t it be? Even if it were a bad song, that little “I mean I could, but why would I want to” just blows everything else away. It’s perfectly sassy, and we all could use a little more sass in our step.