Album Review: Demi Lovato becomes more than just Demi-‘Confident’

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After a successful career with Disney and five albums, Demi Lovato has never looked better, and she finally feels Confident.  Her newfound confidence recently led her to strip down and pose for Vanity Fair magazine completely nude, without any makeup and no retouching work done to the photos.  A well deserved journey and outcome for Lovato who has been an avid speaker on her past struggles which included drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, an eating disorder and self-injury.

Fittingly, with a new image and a fearless strut, Demi returned to the music scene in 2015 with a summer tune, aptly titled “Cool For The Summer.”  Clearly going for some shock value while remaining modern, this “I Kissed A Girl” rehash was clearly  released strategically.  Sadly, the sultry, electronic pop-rock number was almost eclipsed by former friend and co-Disney star Selena Gomez’s “Good For You.”

Album opener and the title track was the second taste fans got to experience prior to the release of Confident. The militaristic alternative cut features bold lyrics capped off with Demi repeatedly asking “What’s wrong with being confident?”  An anthem for anyone to finally realize their worth or overcome personal struggles.

 On the album we hear different shades of Demi.  “Stone Cold” sees Demi Lovato put on here best Adele rendition.  The stripped back piano track showcases Demi’s vocals while describing how one isn’t truly over a past lover.  Think “Someone Like You,” although it comes off a bit forced, less authentic.  The Kelly Clarkson sized electronic power ballad “For You,” is an album highlight that would be suitable for the climactic portion of a big TV or film scene.

The media and comment section’s favorite person to attack, Iggy Azalea has a cameo on the track “Kingdom Come.”  Musically reminiscent of the dark “Black Widow” vibe, Iggy Azalea gives a nod to pop culture favorites including Blue’s Clues (“You never catch a Blue with out Steve”), the Olsen Twins, and even 90s sitcom Family Matters.  Not a bad effort, but by no means a “Fancy,” or “Problem” (Ariana Grande).

Surprisingly deluxe edition bonus tracks are likely the high point to the entire body of work.  “Stars” might be the closest thing to this albums “Neon Lights” if you were looking for an outright club ready party anthem.  The live in the moment anthem sees Demi sing about living for now and throughout the entire night because “[they] don’t need the light because [they’re] stars tonight.”  Bluesy “Mr. Hughes” has a melodic throwback quality to it, almost as if Demi stepped into her best Amy Winehouse impersonation.  The bratty, too bad you lost me kiss off doesn’t hold anything back.

What’s great about the album, Confident, is that Demi is probably in the best place she’s ever been in her life, musically, spiritually and beyond.  The project was likely a therapeutic release more for herself, than anyone else.  Unfortunately much of this body of work, doesn’t translate well or easily.  If you were hoping for the emotion Demi clearly felt on tracks like “Skyscraper,” beyond the emotional and well-sung ode “Father,” you’ll have to look elsewhere.  While the album features other songs that were capable of being deep, most of the songs feel uninspired and more strategic; as if Demi sung them in hopes of creating that Grammy nominated work she has spoken of.

If Demi Lovato really wants that Grammy nomination she has spoken about or a even a consolation prize, Hot 100 chart topping single, she going to need more compelling music.  A “Wide Awake” or least a “Wrecking Ball,” would suit her well.  Simply singing songs that allow one to show vocal range just for that reason isn’t going to cut it.  By now the world realizes Demi Lovato can sing.  From here on out it is going to be about selecting better materiel that listeners will connect with and relate to on a grander scale, if Grammy nominations/awards are the end goal.  In the mean time, fans of Demi Lovato can finally rejoice in a healthy, more Confident Lovato who may inspire them to gain more confidence themselves.


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