How Selena Gomez’s Sudden Return to Music Reverberated Through Young Hollywood

Hailey Baldwin had to do some damage control.

"The Dead Don't Die" New York Premiere
Theo Wargo

Selena Gomez hadn’t completely disappeared over the past two years. Though she’s kept a lower profile, she did manage to executive produce a hit Young Adult TV show with 13 Reasons Why.

So perhaps it’s only fitting that her somewhat sudden return to releasing solo music played sort of like the plot of a Young Adult novel across young Hollywood. Her two new songs, “Lose You To Love Me” and “Look at Her Now,” were almost the sonic equivalent of the time Serena van der Woodsen was spotted at a train station after a mysterious absence of her own (the scene that started it all in Gossip Girl).

Both of Gomez’s songs appear to have addressed her second breakup from Justin Bieber (we suppose some lines could also apply to the end of her romance with The Weeknd, though the internet at large seems to have forgotten about that). In particular, fans clung on to a lyric in “Lose You To Love Me” about how her ex moved on within two months. Gomez certainly isn’t denying that theory. Indeed, she seems to be aware that a certain amount of her fans do in fact view her personal life as a soap opera.

“It’s all very real to me, and I’m sure it’s just entertainment for other people, but I just—I think I had become numb to it, and it would be stupid of me if I didn’t acknowledge what I had felt because it would be inauthentic, and that’s everything I claim to be and do,” Gomez told Ryan Seacrest in a candid radio interview about the inspiration behind her songs (though she didn’t mention Bieber by name).

Key players within Gomez’s circles in young Hollywood reacted as one might expect.

“This song is a perfect expression of healing & my absolute favorite song she’s put out yet. A triumph,” Gomez’s longtime friend Taylor Swift wrote in an Instagram comment. “I love you so much.”

Swift elaborated on the comment in an interview with Apple Music DJ Zane Lowe.

“I’m so proud of her. She’s been through so much,” she said. “I’ve watched so much happen in her life and had a front-row seat to so much, and I’m so proud of her. She is such a revelation because now she’s making her best stuff. I am 100 percent convinced this is the best thing she’s done so far. Just from my perspective as her friend, I’ve just never been more proud. The things that she’s overcome, the situations that she’s risen above.”

Niall Horan, the former One Directioner who seems to have struck up a friendship with Gomez in recent months, replied to an Instagram post about her new music with double heart emojis, which did not go unnoticed by some eagle-eyed fans.

Others like 13 Reasons star Katherine Langford, Julia Michaels, and even Amy Schumer dropped their support in the Instagram comment section as well.

Any good YA plot needs some drama, and the internet decided to stir some up with Bieber’s new wife Hailey Baldwin. As celebrity gossip website Elle pointed out, around the time Gomez was premiering her new music, Baldwin was on her own Instagram posting a Spotify frame on her Instagram stories proclaiming that she was listening to Summer Walker’s “I’ll Kill You.” The theory that this was intended as”shade” picked up so much steam that Gomez had to respond to it in an Instagram live session.

“I do not stand for women tearing other women down, and I will never, ever be about that,” she told her fans. “So please be kind to everyone. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, if you’re my fans, don’t be rude to anybody, please. Don’t go off and say things that you just feel in the moment. Please, for me, know that that’s not my heart.”

On her end, Baldwin tried to dissipate any rumors of trouble by quietly liking one of Gomez’s Instagrams.

As it turns out, the real villain in this YA saga might have been drama-thirsty fans all along.

Of course not everyone in young Hollywood managed to get caught in the vortex. Cody Simpson took some time out of his whirlwind romance with Miley Cyrus to chill in a Speedo in Australia, Kylie Jenner chilled at Drake’s birthday party, and The Weeknd remained completely silent.