Commentary Demi Lovato

Hit or Miss? Demi Lovato’s ‘confident’ approach to new album

There’s no question that Demi Lovato’s promotion for her upcoming album shows a sexier, more confident side of the former Disney star. “Cool For The Summer” is her sexiest music video to date, and the album cover for Confident is an airbrush masterpiece. But is this new Demi missing something?

I first felt the hype for Confident in February when Demi tweeted “Fuck trying to make music that will appeal to the masses for the sake of hit songs.”

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“It’s time to share my lane… MY SOUND.. Because no one can take away my individuality or copy my best work, which my fans deserve to see,” she continued, adding that she’s never been so confident in her music. “The only word that comes to mind is authentic. Very very authentic to who I am & the voice I have inside… What I can say is this will be my best work yet… Already game changing music and I’ve barely scratched the surface on creating this album.”

The words in bold stuck out to me most, and I wrote this post back then to share the news with everyone else. I was expecting Demi Lovato’s new music to highlight her already-brilliant songwriting and to be an “authentic” representation of the young woman behind the fame… Are we there yet? I don’t think so.

“Cool For the Summer” is an amazing radio hit and was only slightly watered down by the lackluster MTV VMAs performance. But was it a song only Demi could come up with? How different is it from her previous single “Neon Lights?”  The track isn’t “game-changing” in any way.

“I want to release music that is different, that I’ve never done before… and that showcases who I am and what I can do vocally,” Demi told ET Online in March. She also said she’d like to work with Eminem. So far, she’s failed at making either of these things happen.

Confident,” the fresh track from the album of the same name, is another hit — probably even more so than “Cool For The Summer.” “What’s wrong with being confident?” Demi asks in the track… again and again and again. I listened to the song five times in a row when it was released. I love it.

I also hate that I love it because it’s not what she promised. “Cool For The Summer” and “Confident” are catchy, repetitive, addicting radio hits that have less of her personality than previous works and rely on production for their success.

“Fuck trying to make music that will appeal to the masses,” she said earlier this year, while working on this new album with co-writer and producer Max Martin. For those who don’t know, Max Martin is a pop music producing legend. In recent years he’s been responsible for hits like Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” “Shake It Off,” “Style,” and “Bad Blood;” Katy Perry’s “Roar” and “Dark Horse;” Avril Lavigne’s “What The Hell” and the Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj hit “Bang Bang.” He’s also partly responsible for jumpstarting the careers of Britney Spears, P!nk, and Kelly Clarkson.

Any of the pop stars mentioned above could sing “Cool for the Summer” or “Confident” and not be considered “game-changing,” “authentic,” or “different.” Why should Demi?

The answer is she shouldn’t. I love Demi Lovato. She is in my “Top 5,” and I will support her career forever. At the beginning of this post, I posed the question “Is the new Demi missing something?” The answer is yes and no.

Yes. Demi is missing the fire that she had for this album last winter, and she’s missing the point: to be more like herself and less like everyone else, especially Max Martin.

No. This Demi is the same Demi that fans have fallen in love with — a strong, fierce young woman doing what is suggested by her label and adding a few personal tracks into the album later. Doing what’s popular hasn’t worked for her in the past, but with Max Martin at her side, Confident could be her best-selling album yet.

 

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