A BRIEF OVERVIEW
Self-titled albums have generally been the best way for an artist to introduce themselves, as this tends to be employed for a debut. It is quite uncommon, therefore, when a multi-platinum, established artist decides to use this as the title of her fourth album. I'm talking about Demi Lovato
, of course.
Trials and tribulations have always accompanied Lovato, both in her career and personal life. After releasing two acclaimed pop-rock infused albums whilst performing as a Disney actress on her show Sonny With A Chance
, the increasing pressure got to the young starlet. In October 2010, breaking point hit, making her drop out of her support role from the Jonas tour and checking into a treatment facility. Issues such as bipolar disorder, low self-esteem, and bulimia all gave a field day to the press and caused desperation amongst her millions of loyal fans. Thankfully, 2011 represented a new start for Demi. Unbroken
(her third album) was released during the fall of that year, and it alternated upon versing about her personal struggles (Skyscraper
) to presenting the listener with heavy-laden pop songs (Who's That Boy
). It's low debut sales, coupled with mediocre collaborations, set it short of some people's expectations. However, the general consensus was that it revealed a different side to Demi, with some excellent yet underrated tracks. One, however, managed to shine bright - Give Your Heart a Break
. Dance-pop inspired, this radio friendly song was a sleeper hit, taking 2 months to hit the pinnacle of pop radio, as well as #1 on Billboard's Pop Songs chart. This elevated its sales to platinum status, making it Demi's biggest hit.
Until Heart Attack
, that is.
Demi's lead single took just 2 months to hit platinum, which represented a turning point in her career. Building immense hype for her record, she has managed to secure a considerable audience that will surely be essential to the album's success when it finally drops, on May 14th. In the meantime, let's take a look at how 'Demi'
shapes up with individual track reviews.
INDIVIDUAL TRACK REVIEWS 1. Heart Attack
Familiarity is key, and Heart Attack
gives it major value. The placement of this track at #1, as well as it being the lead single, gives the listener a sense of recognition and it lays foundation for what else Demi has in store.
It's not shy of its flaws, however. Lyrics such as I can play 'em like a Ken doll, make em bounce like a basketball
are borderline generic. This would be an issue, if it weren't for the flip side - Demi is practically faultless in delivery. Her vocals are really, really impressive and the bridge and final chorus belt really showcase what sets her apart from her Disney counterparts.
It is no doubt Demi's best single to date. It's radio-friendly, pure pop goodness. In the context of the album, however, Heart Attack
doesn't do much to stand out. It's an above average effort that only does shine as a single. 2. Made in the USA
Pop is a very volatile market, and more often than not we find ourselves amongst charts and charts of subpar songs. However, Made In The USA
is perfection. This is a very high claim to make, but its selection as Demi's second single off this album just goes one step further to confirm my conviction that this is the best pop track on Demi
, and a huge improvement over Heart Attack
Right from the offset, the line Our love runs deep like a Chevy
might not cause heads to turn, but this is ingenious. Taking a slogan from a very well-known American company and applying it to a song whose main theme is love and the USA is fantastic, and really shows how little details make a difference.
When we get into the core of the song, its catchiness just keeps you on lock. Demi's vocals and the lyric fluidity are just seamless. It ends with a reiteration of made in the US(A)
, which can be interpreted as symbol of patriotism, as its vocalist is obviously American. The only thing you'll regret is not hitting that repeat button sooner.
It's everything a pop song should be. And then more. 3. Without the Love
The first verse of this song provides a great build up, in particular with the lyric And you work so hard to get me, just to let me go
. The chorus is a completely different story, however. Repeating We're good as a love song, we're good as a love song without the love
is just too much. It's a tad of a disappointment, as this is lyrically a great track (sparing the chorus).
The bridge is definitely its best part, with This is how water colors fade into destined memories
showcasing some great songwriting abilities. But in terms of overall production, it's generic. It feels and sounds like an Unbroken
leftover. 4. Neon Lights
Party anthem. Club banger. Remix gold. This is Neon Lights
This is the kind of song that can turn a boring night at a club to getting everyone on the dance floor. The heavy beats aren't anything new, but take Demi's vocals and you have an irresistible combination. It also adopts the same kind of catchy buildup elements that Psy
's multi-platinum Gangnam Style
has before the second chorus. A huge improvement over similar, much weaker efforts present on Unbroken
that mostly failed to impress. 5. Two Pieces
This is a song that draws some inspiration from Demi's sophomore album, Here We Go Again
, and blends it with elements of contemporary pop music. It is suited for nostalgic purposes. Definitely a great track that transitions between calmer, more intimate moments and a chorus that is sure to give it that pop feel and not set it apart from the rest of the album. 6. Nightingale
There is always that song that stands apart from the rest. For some, it's a catchy pop tune. For others, it's a ballad.
By its musical definition, a ballad is a love song that showcases emotions and favors talent and vocals over catchiness. It is a soul mover. Nightingale
not only does that, but it is perfect in songwriting and vocals.
The lyrics are simple, yet deep. Demi begs for a nightingale in her life, a guider, one that can be with her (can you be my nightingale?
). And then she evokes the main characteristic this species of birds are known for - singing. This nightingale is unseen, but its melody is omnipresent (sing to me, I know you're there
It's a truly faultless song which majestically showcases her immense talent. And for me, it is the best on the album
. 7. In Case
Following the trend of Nightingale
, we have another, though slower and piano-only ballad. It verses upon the slim possibility of a relationship rekindling, should Demi's lover want the same as her. It's a very relatable song for all those who go through love's treacherous paths, and Demi delivers it brilliantly. In Case
puts Lovato's fantastic vocals front and center - an artist who can maintain a passion towards lyrics, keeping up with melody and delivering the end result simply with one instrument. 8. Really Don't Care (feat. Cher Lloyd)
The first thing that springs to mind when this song comes on is One Direction
's insanely popular hit What Makes You Beautiful
. And it's true, as its instrumental and song structure is practically the same.
Despite this, this song somewhat taints what was practically an immaculate album. Demi carries most of it pretty decently, which is a good thing, as Cher Lloyd
's contribution is neither here nor there. Her Nicki Minaj
-wannabe rap does little to impress, and it leaves no room for the imagination that this track would be better off without her. 9. Fire Starter Fire Starter
restarts the catchy flame as we are put under a fast paced song with humorous lines such as I'm a badass jumping off a moving train
to start the pre-chorus and express her volatile and daring personality. As for the lyric: There's an 'S' under my clothes on my chest where nobody else can see
, it is the key to this song and album overall.
Not only a tribute to Superman (in her case, Superwoman), but it also symbolizes her inner strength. 10. Something That We're Not
Who said only Taylor Swift
was capable of subtle shade? This song is filled with indirect gold! Not gonna happen dude
à la He called me up and I still love you
(We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
) almost seems like America's sweetheart made a cameo on this track. While the other is about denying a second chance, this one doesn't even give the poor guy a chance at a relationship.
Nonetheless, it's funny, the melody is catchy, and it leaves one wondering if this song targets a certain member of a particular popular band... 11. Never Been Hurt
This song rushes through you like a fast train on the way to a broken frame of mind, as Demi puts her love on the line, fearlessly proclaiming I will love you, like I've never been hurt
. It might end in disaster, but that isn't even on her mind as she, ever the optimist, desires to love. An everlasting love without lies or goodbyes.
Magnificent vocals as expected, great beat and an powerful love song with potential for more. 12. Shouldn't Come Back
This song is melancholically beautiful. As a reference to her biological father, this is her final farewell. For the Love of a Daughter
portrayed her childhood, as some sort of prologue. This is the the present: a wounded, vulnerable girl sings in an amazing display of heartfelt emotion. 13. Warrior
As we draw to a close, Warrior
is the appropriate finale. If Skyscraper
was praised for being the start of her comeback, this is certainly her anthem of strength as she stands, fearless and unbroken. Warrior
transcends love. It combines references from her childhood (There's a part of me I can't get back / A little girl grew up too fast
), the overcoming of her struggles (I've got shame, I've got scars
), and finally, the professing of her courage (I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can't get in
), ending with a line full of self-confidence. You can never hurt me again. FINAL APPRECIATION AND RATING The final rating combines appreciations made at the level of lyrical & production quality, vocal performance, replay value, and genre standout potential on a scale of 0 (disaster) to 10 (masterpiece).
Demi Lovato has moved on from her R&B dabble from the past era in Unbroken
to her comfort zone with her self-titled fourth album, Demi
. It was clear that Unbroken
was far from being her best effort, with quirky collaborations, and few truly amazing songs. Most of the tracks on that album remain underrated, and it was only with Give Your Heart A Break
that she managed to garner major audience.
Much has changed in the past two years. The music industry has evolved, and so has Demi's music - again. But this is a step in the right direction. It manages to take the crown away from what many consider to be her best overall album - Here We Go Again
- and provide a collection of extremely good songs overall.
The production includes lots of pop elements and notable figures into this album, some more subtly than others - from the Psy-inspired beat in Neon Lights
, to 1D's instrumental in Really Don't Care
and a leaf out of Taylor's playbook in Something That We're Not
, Lovato loves to mix the best and popular and make it something hers. Her lyrics, her rules. Something personal, yet modern.
The lyrical quality in this album is nearly faultless, with some nuances. Her vocal performances throughout, however, elevate this pop star to the level of Christina Aguilera
, Kelly Clarkson
, and other noticeable high-profile pop contemporary vocalists.
This album has a little for everyone. From pop gems like Made in the USA
, club bangers like Neon Lights
, nostalgia in the form of Two Pieces
, upbeat music lovers will adore it. And then we have the ballads, those beauties. The trio of Nightingale
, Shouldn't Come Back
is unprecedented in Demi's discography and a real joy to listen to.
Throughout all those songs, one thing is clear. This is very personal and beautiful album. It reflects her versatility and her talent as a singer and songwriter that packs in a ton of replay value.
And thus, after listening to it, everything becomes clear as crystal as to the reason why Demi decided to self-title her fourth album: every song describes a part of her
. FINAL RATING:
GENRE STANDOUT POTENTIAL (9.5):
REPLAY VALUE (9.5):