Though she has always been lumped in with the Selena Gomez’s and Miley Cyrus’s of this era (both musically and artistically due to shared history) there has always been something different about Demi Lovato. Musically speaking, there has always been a sense of depth and maturity that her peers have lacked, and her latest release ‘Demi’ is certainly no exception.
Right from the outset, ‘Heart Attack’ grips you with it’s catchy melody and sing-along quality, paving the way for Demi to showcase her power-house vocal range in full. This is a fitting opener, and the fact that it took over the airwaves long before this album’s release only serves to fuel the momentum.
The next few tracks carry the torch that ‘Heart Attack’ initially lit, carrying that energy with them and building upon the initial foundation of upbeat orchestration, thudding drum patterns, light strings, and subtle piano, once again serving as the backdrop for Demi’s vocals to shine. Much of this catalogue would be right at home in any club scene, with an assortment of rhythms that make the listener want to move with the music, regardless of dance ability (or lack thereof).
The album takes a tender turn with ‘Two Pieces’ where Demi sings: “These dark clouds over me, rain down and roll away. We’ll never fall apart, ‘cause we fit together like two pieces of a broken heart”. The lyrical depth, in combination with the piano-driven verses and powerful chorus makes this a stand out track.
This theme continues with ‘Nightingale’ and ‘In Case,’ which highlight the ballad section of this album. There is a minimalistic approach that works well on these tracks and plays to Demi’s strengths. With only piano and light drum and string orchestration, Demi’s vocals really shine here, which to some extent may sound redundant (being that there isn’t a track on this album in which her vocals don’t shine) but is true nonetheless.
Towards the end, as the record begins to wind down, we find ‘Shouldn’t Come Back’ which is the acoustic ballad of this album. Stripped-down with it’s old-time feel, the floating, almost airy acoustics pair well with the light string orchestration, creating an atmosphere unlike anything else on this record, almost as if stepping into a bygone era. This track finds Demi at her most vulnerable, with the soft melodies mirroring the fragile nature evident within. At the same time there is a quiet strength in that vulnerability, in having the confidence to allow for such scrutiny while inhabiting such an open position, and that is where this track truly triumphs.
‘Warrior’ is a fitting end to an album on which Demi proves herself to be her own woman, the final step in her transformation from Disney darling to full-fledged Diva. Demi has found her voice on this record in a way that is entirely new, adding a layer of introspection and depth that easily sets it apart from previous releases. ‘Demi’ is Lovato’s most personal record to-date, it seems only fitting, then, that it should bear her namesake.