Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift have been besties since the mid-2000s, when both stars were on the rise. Taylor Swift dated Joe Jonas around the same time that Selena was seeing Nick Jonas, and the two “just clicked,” as Gomez recalled in a 2017 interview with KIIS-FM UK.
The two besties are now two of the most influential stars in the world. But they didn’t get here right away–each year, both women put out fresh new music that helped the world realize their talent. Let’s throw it back to some of the best albums and tracks that Swift and Gomez have released over the last decade.
Red (2012) and Stars Dance (2013)
In 2012, Swift released her fourth studio album, Red. Looking back, this is the album that really saw Swift taking a big step into the pop world that she now dominates. Her goal with the album was to experiment with as many styles an genres as possible, creating a country/rock/pop blend that gave us incredible hits like “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and the iconic “22.”
While Taylor Swift was starting to branch away from the sounds that put her on the map, Selena Gomez was still on her first try. Stars Dance was the first album she released under just her name; “The Scene,” her original group, was taking a hiatus. While this album was not as memorable as her later work, it was a great start to Gomez’s solo career.
1989 (2014) and Revival (2015)
A couple years later, Swift put out 1989, which would go on to win Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 58th Grammy Awards. Critics and audiences could all agree that this album was an absolute smash, introducing the world to pop hits like “Welcome to New York,” “Blank Space,” and of course, “Shake It Off.”
Selena put out Revival just a year after, a project that saw her really finding her own voice. Tracks like “Good for You,” “Same Old Love,” and “Hands to Myself” helped audiences see Gomez not just as an actress, but as a legitimate pop singer.
Reputation (2017) and ‘Wolves’ (2017)
Reputation, one of my personal favorite Swift albums, was not as critically acclaimed as 1989. However, this album marked a distinct pivot in Swift’s artistry. The hope and optimism in her previous album was replaced with a more cynical and emotional perspective, with honest, blunt, and beautifully shameless tracks like “Gorgeous,” “Delicate,” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.”
Right around this same time, Gomez was starting to land more and more feature spots on other producers and artists’ songs. “Wolves” with Marshmello is just one of many hits that took the world by storm with Gomez’s vocals. Other examples include Kygo’s “It Ain’t Me,” and “Back to You” from the 13 Reasons Why – Season 2 soundtrack.
Lover (2019) and Rare (2020)
In the last few years, both Swift and Gomez have grown up so much. Lover was Swift’s seventh studio album, while Rare was Gomez’s third. When compared with their previous projects, these albums speak volumes about how much these women have matured as they’ve navigated through life. These two albums even have similar cover art–simple, understated, and totally focused on their respective leading ladies.
Lover sees Swift experimenting once again with different pop sounds, while also returning to her country-music roots on certain tracks. She’s reflective and self-aware, singing about the beauty of falling in love on bubbly songs like “I Think He Knows,” “London Boy,” and “Paper Rings.”
Rare was pivotal for Gomez, who’s been increasingly outspoken about feeling pressure in the past to live up to the standards set for those in Hollywood when it comes to femininity. Rare seems to be an achievement born out of Gomez’s growing self-acceptance, with songs like “Look at Her Now,” “Lose You to Love Me,” and “Rare” celebrating every part of her personality.
I can’t wait to see what these two stars and best friends produce next as they continue their journeys through life together. If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that Swift and Gomez will only get better with each project, and we have a lot of amazing music to look forward to.