Review Summary: Demi's fourth studio album shows a little progress and certainly has a couple of strong numbers but aside from that it is still the whiter-than-white, clean pop image that nearly every artist in the genre goes for and fails completely at times
Demi Lovato. Those two words invoke a lot of hatred within much of the music world. She is a Disney singer who has calved out a career with rubbish recycled pop songs that use irritating choruses that are intended to be catchy and stupid, predictable instrumental work. To date she has released three albums, her first two being rooted in the Disney pop-rock territory that many people including myself love to hate. The third album she put out came after she was struggling with self-harm and addiction and landed herself in a rehabilitation clinic, and definitely echoes a little of the heart ache that she went through but never really lived up to the emotionally intensive potential that it had from her experiences and just felt like every other commercially-oriented album that has been released by every pop artist to date, despite the darker tones that it carried.
Her fourth album is self titled and is to be released in mid-May 2013 and follows pretty much the same predictable path as her previous album but there are actually a few key differences that make this a little more tolerable. This is not a good album by any means but definitely is not quite as bad as the three that came before it. Her first two albums were very bad and everyone should stay away from them, whereas 2012's Unbroken showed a little progress but not quite enough. Her fourth album is Demi and certainly doesn't do anything that will blow your mind but at least feels a little different and a lot better than anything she has put out to date.
Her vocals are obviously the center point of everything that she works on and they are pretty much listenable. She mainly sticks to a higher range but occasionally uses more of a mid range such as on the song Warrior and on Heart Attack. The song that best displays her voice is Something That We're Not, which unfortunately reminds me of a Rihanna or Keisha song and therefore should be stayed away from. The chorus to this song is the only highlight of it and it shows off how powerfully she can sing at times. Her voice on that particular track is strong and shows off a lower range as well but unfortunately the instrumental work is very sub-standard and this leads me to the main complaint I have with this album.
Aside from three songs that will be mentioned, the instrumentals here are all the drum-heavy and synth-driven ones that will be all over the radios in late-night clubs but do absolutely nothing fresh or inventive. The lyrics are also rather bad at times, in particular on the Heart Attack track. Thankfully some songs have better lyrics than on anything she has done to date and definitely stand out a little. Unfortunately tracks such as the track Heart Attack and In Case really do suffer from awful lyrics and the most predictable, pedestrian instrumental performances on earth. It seems as though every pop artist today feels the need to load their backing music with synths and nothing more and they just meander around doing nothing on here.
The good songs here are Warrior and Fire Starter. Warrior is hands-down the strongest track that Demi has released to date and is probably the only track I will continue to come back to. It has lyrics that are a lot deeper than one would expect from this artist, dealing with her own personal life and the troubles she has been through over the past few years, and how she is a lot stronger for it now. It opens up with the line "this is a story that I have never told, I got to get this off my chest and let it go" and from this point onward you know that you are in for a ride. The instrumental performance backing her voice is piano-driven and quite dark sounding but as the song progresses you realise that it is actually a very optimistic song saying that she is now a lot happier. Her high notes on this track are exceedingly pleasing, particularly during the chorus, and should do a little to silence the nay-sayers about her, but this one song really is not enough to do that. This is the only song on the album that really is good however, so make sure that if you are considering checking out this album, you check this track out first as it is far and away the best thing she has ever done or will ever do.
The latter of the two aforementioned good tracks, Fire Starter, suffers from abyssmal lyrics that go nowhere and really just feel like the same "i fancy you and want to be with you" lyrics that every pop artist uses. It is a shame as the beat here is surprisingly strong and Demi's vocals during the chorus are very good and the high notes are probably the best here. Aside from these two however the tracks are all picked from the same cesspool of nonsense as artists such as Katy Perry. The song Heart Attack was released as a single to promote the album and really was a bad choice. The chorus is irritating, annoying and does nothing for me, and the lyrics are as repetitive and predictable as it gets. Also annoying on this track are the electronic effects and synths that are so heavily present throughout and the fact that this song is the track she chose to open up the album really should not set a good feeling in your heart from the second you start to listen to it.
Nightingale takes the biscuit as being one of the worst songs here and it is this sort of song that really drags the album down. It has a very boring piano line that backs it up and lines such as "i kinda need a hero, but is it you" I could really use your melody, baby im a little blind" do nothing whatsoever except show Demi off to be a semi-illiterate idiot who needs to learn to write better than that. If she even wrote the lyrics to this release-she did not on her previous albums. Songs like this are the reason I have trouble recommending this album at all to anyone. If you want a good song then listen to Warrior and sections of other songs are not to terrible but the predictable structures, awful lyrics and bad instrumental performances are the real reason that Demi has not made as much progress as I would like to say she has.