Demi Lovato – ‘Demi’ (LP)
Lovato performs Heart Attack.
Just a few weeks ago Lovato finally achieved her break-out UK hit in Heart Attack; a track so instantaneously catchy that even the rather pop-wary playlist team of BBC Radio 1 couldn’t resist it’s charm. As such, this record, her first real chance at showing the UK music-buying public exactly what she’s famous for, is a pivotal moment in Lovato’s international career. Luckily for her, it’s a solid set of radio friendly pop tracks.
As opening track and lead single Heart Attack draws to a close, it’s pretty much a case of ‘more of the same’ from the X Factor star, with Made In The USA and Two Pieces striking the perfect balance of radio friendly choruses and interesting instrumentation. Nothing here is particularly ground-breaking, and some tracks sound suspiciously like some of the greatest pop hits of the last couple of years, but Lovato’s sheer vocal power and convincing performances ensure that this record veers away from any sense of musical anonymity.
At the heart of Demi is pure, unadulterated fun. Whether it be in the Cher Lloyd-assited bubblegum pop of Really Don’t Care or the mid-tempo groove of Without the Love, there’s a sense of passion and dedication running through the record. Fundamentally however, Lovato’s vocals place her far above her contemporaries. Whereas Gomez purrs, Lovato roars, and Demi is all the better for it. The sheer force behind Lovato’s vocal power makes tracks like ‘Nightingale’ even more enjoyable; the vulnerability that she pours into her vocal performance is tangible in every note.
It’s not all fantastic; the David Guetta-esque Fire Starter is a horrendously generic slab of predictable factory-line pop, and other tracks too feel similarly unremarkable at times. Indeed, for all it’s strengths, Demi is disappointingly safe. Indeed, Lovato is a fascinating character; her chemistry with Simon Cowell made for must-see viewing on The X Factor USA‘, and her personality is bubbly and infectious. More often than not, this uniqueness is lost in the music, and the result is a fair bit of pop-by-numbers.
Demi doesn’t shock; it certainly doesn’t warm the heartstrings like it’s painfully truthful predecessor Unbroken. Yet, what it does do is firmly place Lovato on the map as a popstar in her own right, away from the Disney foundations that propelled her to stardom in the first place. Demi ticks all the boxes for a great pop album, and nearly succeeds. Indeed, it’s only the lack of musical spontaneity that lets it down. Here’s hoping that album five takes a few more risks that an artist of Lovato’s popularity and vocal ability can afford to do.