Selena Gomez’s ‘Boyfriend’ Lyrics Capture the Struggle of Dating

Selena Gomez

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After a long wait and a lot of buzz, Selena Gomez dropped the song “Boyfriend” this morning with the release of the deluxe edition of her album Rare.

“Boyfriend” is a real take on the frustrations that come with dating—wanting more and to find the right person even if you’re happy on your own. It’s a mood, though one Gomez admits is dated. When she announced the deluxe edition of her album was coming out, she cautioned “Boyfriend” no longer represents her stance on dating, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many of you know how excited I’ve been to release a song called ‘Boyfriend,'” she wrote on her Instagram Story Monday. “It’s a lighthearted song about falling down and getting back up time and time again in love, but also knowing that you don’t need anyone other than yourself to be happy.”

“We wrote it long before our current crisis, but in the context of today, I want to be clear that a boyfriend is no where near the top of my list of priorities,” she continued. “Just like the rest of the world, I’m praying for safety, unity, and recovery during this pandemic.”

“Because of that, I’m personally donating to the Plus 1 COVID-19 relief fund as well as donating $1 of every order in my official store to the fund starting now. Rare (Deluxe), featuring ‘Boyfriend’ is out April 9th.”

Gomez first teased “Boyfriend” during her Jimmy Fallon interview in January. “There’s a few other songs that I couldn’t help but want to exist [that didn’t make the album Rare] so I can’t really tell when, but one of my favorite tracks is called ‘Boyfriend’ so I can’t wait for people to hear that one,” she said.

Her song co-writers Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter also spoke a bit about the song’s origin in WSJ magazine’s profile of Gomez, released back in January. Michaels said when they were song-writing, “I’ll text her to say, ‘What kind of mood are you in?’ One time she responded, ‘I’m feeling strong and happy,’ and then she said at the end of the text: ‘I really just want a boyfriend.’ I thought we should do a song about it. She got to the studio, and it all started flowing together.”

Tranter hinted of the lyrics then, “one of the lyrics is about a fine line between a want and a need. Yes, she wants a boyfriend, but it’s not a need. She’s okay on her own, and we all should be too.”

Gomez teased that lyric on her Instagram earlier this week: “There’s a difference between a want and a need. Some nights I just want more than me.”

Here, the full song to take in, with the lyrics below via Genius:

Verse 1:
I want a boyfriend
But I just keep hitting dead ends
Try to take a shortcut, but I get cut again and again
I want a boyfriend
Tell me, are there any good ones left?
I keep finding wrong ones, but I want love again and again
I want a boyfriend
I been up all night
Pretty restlessly
Think I might know why (Uh)
I’ve been doing just fine
But baby, I don’t mean
That I’m feeling anti you and me

Pre-Chorus:
There’s a difference between a want and a need
Some nights I just want more than me
I know that there’s a fine line between
It’s not what I need, but

Chorus:
I want a boyfriend
But I just keep hitting dead ends
Try to take a shortcut, but I get cut again and again
I want a boyfriend
Tell me, are there any good ones left?
I keep finding wrong ones, but I want love again and again
I want a boyfriend

Post-Chorus:

I want a boyfriend
I want a boyfriend

Verse 2:
I could phone a friend, use a hotline or something
But that won’t get the job done (Uh-uh)
‘Cause every time I try
Every time they lie (Uh-huh)
I get a little anty you and me

Pre-Chorus:
There’s a difference between a want and a need
Some nights I just want more than me
I know that there’s a fine line between
It’s not what I need, but

Chorus:
I want a boyfriend
But I just keep hitting dead ends
Try to take a shortcut, but I get cut again and again
I want a boyfriend
Tell me, are there any good ones left?
I keep finding wrong ones, but I want love again and again
I want a boyfriend

Outro:

I want a boyfriend
I want a boyfriend

News and Strategy Editor Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).

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