Review Summary: Stop ripping off your own song ideas and maybe youll release a good album Demi
After being subjected to many many hours of torture hearing pop singer Demi Lovato at my best friends' house, I gave her new album a listen when it was posted as a full stream the other day and I have to say it was surprising by the fact that she has improved a bit. I was like "wow" when I heard it... "wow, it doesn't fully suck." Of course, that is not to say that I actually like 2013's Demi because it is still a boring, dull pop album without a lot of redeeming features but it is a lot more average than anything I have heard from her before. Let's take a look at the music.
The first thing I noticed when I listened to the stream of this album a few times was the fact that the instrumental performances at least aim to do a little more than what I usually consider to be "generic pop instrumentals"-silly synth obsessed nonsense and rubbish drum beats. I heard some great piano work on Nightingale here and some cool acoustic guitar work on a couple of tracks that really surprised me. If you want a pop album that at least does something a little fresh then this is the album for you. From what I could gather from sites such as Wikipedia, Demi Lovato has had a rough few years and this album appeared to me to be her personal story and how she feels now and it was quite nice to hear an instrumental that mimiks these feelings. It was nice to hear a pop album where the instrumentals echo her inner torment but also her feelings of wonder toward what the future will hold.
My favorite song on here was Without The Love, which opens up with some nice acoustic work and vocal snippets over the top that I quite enjoyed listening to. I liked the lyrics as well and the way the instrumental seemed to fade away during the verse whilst the chorus was in stark contrast to this, with a lot of instrumental stuff dallying around in the background. I liked this song a lot. Other songs that I enjoyed were Neon Lights and Warrior. From what I have read and heard, Warrior is considered to be the best song here and it deserves this, with its deep and personal lyrics that I enjoyed reading along to listening to it and considering what this woman had been through. The vocal performance on Neon Lights is very good and the piano really adds a lot to it, with just a few piano notes mixed in among the vocals before the drums really kick in. I felt these three songs are the best I have heard from her so far.
I did not think that this album was very consistent and nor did I think that on all the songs she put in a good vocal performance. Usually with a pop album the artist should be the focus but on here I much more enjoyed reading the lyrics and hearing what the instruments in the background were doing than listening to Demi herself. Really Don't Care and Heart Attack are the two songs I hated the most off of here, and the former of the two really is an awful song. I hate Cher Lloyd as much as every other self-respecting British citizen and this song shows just why, and Demi's performance is really embarrasing to hear as well. The auto-tune is most present here and really was agripe that was unavoidable. Demi's voice is pretty monotonous and flat throughout this album I thought and on here it is as its worse.
Heart Attack and Made In The USA are the other two songs I hated and the first of the two is probably the worst song I have ever heard. "If I ever did that, I'd probably have a heart attack" Demi declares on it and I swear I nearly turned it off there and then. This is supposed to be an opening song so what on Earth was Demi thinking writing some rubbish like that...
Oh yeah, I forgot, she doesn't even write her own music...
The above point is really the problem I have with most pop musicians of my generation. Looking back at artists such as Michael Jackson who I really never experienced when they were alive, they could actually write their own music whereas demi Lovato can't. What is even worse is when guest appearences come on and think they add something to the song when they really don't. Look at Cher Lloyd. Her auto-tuned monotonous boring silly voice in that stupid talk-rapping style that is supposed to seduce young men but in reality does nothing more than annoy every person in the world because she is awful. Guest appearances add nothing and this album showed me exactly why.
Made In The USA is another song that was awful and trash and needs to be avoided. The chorus is supposed to be catchy. It isn't, it's just annoying and another thing that pins this album down as an average one in my mind. One thing that many pop artists can claim to have done is make albums with catchy choruses. Here, they are not catchy but I think they are just dumb and feel too forced. The fact that Demi really can't hold long notes and yet she tries in an attempt to get the silly young kids singing along is really irritating. People think she has grown up and that her target audience has changed to teens but she still goes back to doing things like forcing out sing-along choruses for all the little kids and that gets on my nerves alot. I was thinking at the time I listened "why are you even doing this"" Also the instruments on this song are literally scraping the bottom of the barrel-the drumming is predictable and are too loud and you really can't hear anything else beneath them. The only redeeming factor that Made In The USA has is the acoustic guitar that you can hear when the drums shut up toward the end. I quite enjoyed the acoustic here.
In fact, the best thing about this release all in all is the presence of an acoustic guitar and the fact that it adds a lot of depth to the music that would be missing otherwise. I feel that without it, this album would be almost as bad as everything else she has done but on songs like Something That We're Not it really saves them. That particular song has some atrocious vocals I think but the acoustic guitar really saved it from being just another pile of nonsense that I was forced to sit through. This song actually has a country-pop feel to it but is considerably better than other artists who do this style of music such as taylor swift because the instruments are at least listenable.
Another thing I noticed here was that half of the songs felt completely fresh but half of them felt as though Demi (or Demi's ghost writer) borrowed more than a bit from other artists. Made In The USA LITERALLY sounds exactly like the stupid Miley Cyrus song with a similar title. I kid you not, that is exactly why I feel this song is pathetic because It sounds exactly the same. Something That We're Not sounds a little too similar to a Keith Urban song for my liking. The unique songs such as Warrior and Nightingale add quite a bit to the album however and keep it feeling fresh and fun and quite new. She even rips herself off on Never Been Hurt-comparing the lyrics between this and her older material for review purposes, I realized that on Unbroken she states "Im gonna love you like i've never been broken." and on this particular song she states "I will love you, like I've never been hurt." It really is sad to think that a Disney pop artist is stealing her own ideas and slightly re-hashing them and serving them up on her fans' plates. It's like she said:
"Here you go, you've been a semi-loyal fan to me, but I'm not going to attempt to do anything new because that would take some real effort and probably kill off one of my remaining six brain cells"
Seriously, Demi, what was the point in ripping off your own material" I can't get nor see why she felt the need to do this at all. As well as plagiarising her own lyrics she also wrote some atrocious lyrics for certain songs (or whoever wrote them for her did). If you thought Rebecca Black and Justin Bieber are the pinnacle of terrible lyrics as I did, then prepare to be shocked by Heart Attack on this album as it is awful and atrocious and quite abysmil. The production is also not the best out there either and everything feels a little too densely mixed and unnecessary.
Demi Lovato's 2013 album Demi is an album that I think shows a little amount of progress but nowhere near enough to merit anything more than a 2. Stop ripping off your own ideas and songs, and you might be able to put together a good album yet Demi.