Carla Thomas opened her 1966 hit “B-A-B-Y” with a breathy, girley, highly pitched:
Baby, ooh, baby. I love to call you baby…
Selena Gomez’s also opens her current hit, “Rare,” with a breathy “baby” but it’s not girlish, rather, it’s grown up and sensual, and quickly progresses to
Why don’t you recognize I’m so rare?…
You don’t do the same for me
That’s not fair
And I’ll bet there’s somebody else out there
To tell me I’m rare, to make me feel rare …
Every day, happy couples refer to each other as “baby” and nobody is complaining, but Pop music amplifies bits and pieces of the zeitgeist, and when a superstar like Selena Gomez touts self-respect and self-empowerment as a reflection of a cultural trend that she herself embraces, she’s also influencing millions of her young girl fans, and perhaps shifting the impact and meaning of the word “baby” to a new generation.
“Rare” is mid-tempo, catchy, airy, smooth and gooey. It’s #16 on the Top 40 chart, and has over 56 million YouTube views.