I keep waiting for there to be a track on Selena Gomez's new album Revival that I don't care about, but that hasn't happened yet. In fact, I'm just starting to get more obsessed with it, and my newest obsession is figuring out who Gomez's song "Sober" is about. The lyrics describe a lover with whom Gomez becomes involved, but can't forge a true connection with because he's so involved with alcohol. She sings about it being "the wrong time" for both of them, because he's so wrapped up in drinking that there's no consistency between the night of passion when he's drunk and the morning after, when he's stone-cold sober.
You don't know how to love me when you're soberWhen the bottle's done you pull me closerAnd you're saying all the things that you're supposed toBut you don't know how to love me when you're soberWhy is it so different when we wake up?Same lips, same kiss, but not the same touchDon't you know that you do it just enough, but not enoughBut I know what's next, and I want so much
As soon as I heard those lyrics, my brain started racing through the options of who this could be? Could it be about Justin Bieber, like I'm almost sure "Camouflage" is? Or maybe Zedd, whom Gomez was rumored to have dated? Does he have a drinking thing? Did Bieber? Could Gomez be the one with a drinking thing? Who is Selena Gomez even dating right now? I went on quite the brain adventure.
But, at the end of the day, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but it turns out "Sober" isn't about anybody. And this isn't even speculation on my part; it comes right from the singer herself, who said this during an interview with Time promoting Revival :
'Sober' is one of my favorite songs, but it’s not even about one specific person. 'Sober' came from me and Chloe [Angelides], one of the writers, when we were sitting in a hall and talking about social awkwardness. I would hang out with people and they would drink and they’re so fun, then the next day it would be weird. I actually left that night and Chloe ended up writing 'Sober'. There were moments like that, little gems. It wasn’t too difficult, it was just, 'How am I going to say it elegantly and in a way that’s right for me?'
So there you have it! Sorry to rain on your parade — and mine too, honestly, because celebrities writing songs about each other is one of my favoritest things — but this song isn't about anyone. Or, it isn't about anyone specific, that is. Instead, it's really about everyone, at least to a small degree. It's about Gomez's frustration about how difficult it is to connect with people without that social lubrication, how everything comes falling away once the alcohol stops flowing, and how disappointing that is to experience. It must be even worse as a celebrity, to be honest, because everybody wants to be around you, but nobody wants to really know you.
I was as excited for a juicy reveal as the rest of you, but at the end of the day, I'm glad that not every song on this album is about a dude from Selena Gomez's personal life. Some of them are, yes, and, based on how open Gomez has been in the past, I have no doubt that she'll be honest about the ones that are, but it's refreshing to see her breaking away from that a little and growing up. It shows up in her attitude, it shows up in the music, and I couldn't love it more.