Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Track by Track Review: Demi Lovato - Demi (Album Review)

Demi Lovato's long awaited 4th album. The album has been premiered on Youtube for her eager fans, but expect for its retail arrival on May 14th. The album is expected to land at either #2 or #3 on Billboard, with her best first week sales of 120,000.
Heart Attack- Already reviewed. Basically, it’s the song that made Kelly Clarkson kick a wall and scream, “Why didn’t I think of that!?” A

Made in the USA - The 2nd single is definitely radio ready, and is essentially a slower version of Heart Attack. The song is more of a slow jam, which will make it a good candidate for 'Summer Smash of 2013.' The real question is, can it really dethrone Miley Cyrus' song of similar name? A-

Without the Love- A ballad by Kesha standards, but not a true ballad for Demi. She throws some harsh accusations, "Why are we acting like lovers when we don't know each other?" Ouch. Might want to put a band-aid on that Joe. She definitely sounds hurt in this song, an area where Demi finds her home. B+

Neon Lights – This Ryan Tedder penned track is the closest to dubstep we get on the album, Demi shows off some impressive (albeit auto tuned) lows before taking the chorus to soaring heights. Unfortunately, it cant boast the true euphoria of a David Guetta or Calvin Harris track. B

Two Pieces - This piano led, somewhat electronic ballad is good, but its easy for it to be drowned out by the rest of the tracks. B

Nightingale - What the hell is a nightingale? *looks up wikipedia entry* OH. Thats weird. She's pleading for a boy to be her nightingale, yet the bird is associated with lament or violence. Demi, you're not turning into Rihanna now, are you? The song soars once the gospel choir kicks in, and it manages not to fall into cliche territory. Well done. A

In Case - Here we go, a standard Demi ballad. Quivering vibrato, voice cracks, bellowing belts, torn lyrics, it is all we could have wanted from Lovato. She doesn't want this boy to leave, but sadly it sounds like he's already gone. Bad experiences, good music. Fair trade right? A+

Really Don’t Care (feat. Cher Lloyd) – The most blatant pop song of the year, which is a very good thing. Catchy lyrics, catchy hooks, just catchy, catchy, catchy. Are the lyrics intellectually stimulating? No. But who cares? It would have been nice however if Cher got maybe a few notes after her rapped bridge, but hey, its still hard to criticize this piece of work. A++

Fire Starter - Despite this being a phenomenal song, it is a straight rip off of Jessie J's 'Laserlight,' but Demi pulls it off, so its okay. Expect to see the lyrics of this baby all over Tumblr and Twitter. It's SCREAMING for a No.1 placement on Pop Songs. Demi. Take this and run with it. Never look back. A++

Something That We’re Not – Like ‘Heart Attack,’ it starts off with deceptive guitars before moving towards a bubblegum pop sound (And it even comes with a ‘Never Getting Back Together’ spoken bridge!). It’s hard to deny that this song is just as infectious as the rest of the album, definitely a classic campfire jam right here for sure. A

Never Been Hurt – Easily the darkest song on the album, with thundering percussion and haunting lyrics. It summons up some of ‘Remember December’s’ classic guitar crunch, but maintains ‘Demi’s’ synth swagger. Lyrically, it’s some serious plagiarism of her own ‘Unbroken.’ “I’m gonna love you like I’ve never been broken,” has simply been changed to “I’m gonna love you like I’ve never been hurt.” Now if only Miss Lovato would give into the dubstep craze, because this song needs a breakdown. B+

Shouldn’t Come Back – About time we got a new ballad. Demi does what she does best here, which is emoting. She quivers, sounding as scared and broken as ever, nearly crying at some points. Similar to ‘For the Love of a Daughter,’ with the emoting and the blatant jabs at her father (All the birthdays you missed / I was just a kid) but the stripped instrumentation isn’t doing her any favors. B+

Warrior – A far cry from Kesha’s song of the same name, this unleashes Demi’s inner Xtina, which might not actually be a good thing. It feels way too similar to Aguilera’s own ‘Beautiful’. Again, weak instrumentation isn’t too helpful; neither is the autotune and overkill riffs. C-

Overall, Demi was accurate when she said that this album was chuck full of catchy pop songs. Where she was inaccurate however, was where she said this was her most personal album yet. It feels like she has stepped farther away from her openness on the 2nd half of 'Unbroken,' she has instead opted for the 'Queen of Pop' sound, which distances herself from this vulnerability. If it were anyone else, it would be okay, but because Demi prides herself on being so tangible, it is unfortunate that she has distanced herself. It is also sad to see her embrace a much heavier amount of auto tune, when she has already gotten some flack for it on the X Factor

With Demi losing her true characteristic, it is also hard to deny that this album is far from original. Nothing new is being brought to the table, and its filled with blatant rip offs of other songs that have already been sent to the Top 10 on the Hot 100. Thats what makes the album feel manufactured, it all feels like an attempt to finally secure Demi's removal of the 'Disney' image; to make her sound like every other big girl in the game.

While the ballad work is not Demi's best (though it could easily trump similar efforts by Gaga and Perry), and the pop songs may all sound similar, its hard to deny that this album is what she promised: Pop music.

Vocals: A-
Lyrics: B+
Instrumentation: A
Overall: B