Demi Lovato
Holy Fvck


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sowing STAFF
August 19th, 2022 | 321 replies


Release Date: 08/19/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Came for the drama, stayed for the trauma.

Most of us have witnessed it all before: pop star gets fed up and goes ham on their own music by injecting it with heaviness, fuck yeah! The results are typically laughable, sometimes enjoyable, and rarely actually good. What separates Demi Lovato’s Holy Fvck from most of its insipid spiritual siblings is not only that it actually pulls off what it aims to do, but also that Demi’s roots have long been tied to rock/metal rather than the contemporary adult alternative pop hellscape that they’ve squandered the majority of their career in after graduating from Disney’s creepy farm system. Lovato has always cited acts such as Dimmu Borgir, Job for a Cowboy, Emperor, and Abigail Williams as influences – and while that doesn’t mean that they suddenly know how to write a rock album much less a black metal one, it does tell you that the passion and intent have long been there. In other words, this isn’t some one-off gimmick, it’s actually their musical preference and we just happen to be experiencing it for the first time. In a way, that immediately makes Holy Fvck a more honest work than some comparable pieces by Lovato’s contemporaries.

Holy Fvck is mostly just a fun, upbeat rock album. It’s not as “heavy” as many critics will proclaim it to be, but it does possess the ability to be catchy, anthemic, and immensely enjoyable. Most of the songs here check those boxes, making for a consistent batch of gritty, punky pop-rock bangers. The title track genuinely embodies Lovato’s rock aspirations, with blazing electric riffs wrapped around a tightly-woven melody, whereas ‘Eat Me’ is more of a metallic/industrial hybrid in the vein of Poppy’s I Disagree. ‘Substance’ is a spunky pop-punk number reminiscent of early-discog Paramore, ‘Bones’ is a mischievous and overtly sexual pounder (“So many feelings when you said my name / 'Cause I want you so bad that I need restraints”), and the late gem ‘Help Me’ is a swervy, unpredictable, and ecstatic rocker that also features Dead Sara’s Emily Armstrong. The pervading aura here oscillates between profanity-laced promiscuity and uplifting self-realization, and neither one feels at odds with the other. Between the uptick in energy and the endless wave of enormous hooks, Holy Fvck is an album that you can immediately derive pleasure from.

Perhaps what’s more surprising (and easily more important) than the music’s boisterous tempo is the depth on display across the entire experience. Lovato’s ongoing battle with addiction and mental illness has been well-documented, and throughout their career they’ve touched on these struggles (‘Skyscraper’, ‘Anyone’) – but whereas those songs painted them in a glossy, radio-approved (see: sugarcoated) light, Holy Fvck willingly delves into the ugly. ‘29’ immediately comes to mind, a song that calls out Wilmer Valdarrama’s penchant for dating much younger women – which includes Lovato back when Valdarrama was twenty-nine and Demi was just seventeen: “Finally twenty-nine / Seventeen would never cross my mind / Thought it was a teenage dream, a fantasy / But it was yours, it wasn't mine”, they sing after verses pointing out just how easily older men can manipulate younger women: “Petal on the vine, too young to drink wine / Just five years a bleeder, student and a teacher / Far from innocent, what the fuck's consent? / Numbers told you not to, but that didn't stop you.” While songs like ‘29’ immediately raise the stakes lyrically, even the album’s artwork – which initially seems like it’s laid on a bit thick with Demi posing in bondage atop a cross – perfectly symbolizes what they went through as a young star in the music industry. Lovato was part of the purity rings era of Disney, and they point to that culture as one of the reasons for their hesitation to speak up about the sexual assault that they endured as a teen. Much of Holy Fvck may seem like it’s lacking in subtlety, but this album is the equivalent of a middle finger – a visceral, reactionary outburst to bottled-up anger. Honestly, it’s long overdue.

It’s understandable to approach Holy Fvck with some skepticism. Everything on its surface makes it appear to be a glorified publicity stunt; the kind of pivot that artists make when they’re attempting to revive their own popularity – almost like a dying online publication resorting to shock-factor clickbait headlines in order to draw internet traffic. While this album similarly holds nothing back, it’s not an artifice either. It’s Demi Lovato ditching their indoctrinated pop formula in favor of the music they truly want to be making, all while going for the jugular in terms of scale. Holy Fvck is massive and over-the-top in just about every way, yet anchored by very real pain that lends substance to each grandiose moment. On the album’s curtain-call, Demi steps out of character while revealing rare vulnerability: “When we're alone, time floats away…we stare at each other” they sing, before delving into an even more intimate moment: “I can't wait to hug and thank your mother…I can't wait to show you, you'll see / I promise his heart's safe with me." Amid Holy Fvck’s contrasting atmosphere, the earnestness and trust in the audience feels magnified – especially by the time they launch into the track’s core confession, “So here I go speaking honestly / I think this is forever for me.” For Lovato, whose life for the past decade has been defined by various internal struggles, it feels like Demi is reaching for a place of stability and permanence. Even if they’re unsure of how they’ll arrive there, it’s a song that describes what they envision that moment feeling like. Time will tell if Demi keeps with this newfound heavier musical direction, but if it’s capable of inspiring such insights while creating a vision of hope, then I’d advise Lovato to stay the course.



s
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user ratings (80)
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
ValenDreth (4.5)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
August 19th 2022


42610 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is really happening...

gravityswitch
August 19th 2022


1348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

first

gravityswitch
August 19th 2022


1348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Lovato has always cited acts such as Dimmu Borgir, Job for a Cowboy, Emperor, and Abigail Williams as influence"

Is it a joke or did she really said that?



Substance was enjoyable, I'll listen to it.

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2022


17054 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Holy shit lol, I wasn't expecting this to get a 4. I guess I'll check it out and see if it lives up to that

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2022


5814 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yaaaaaas queeeeeen!



I am curious to listen to this record, the two singles I heard were decent pop rock songs.

AYakkingYak
August 19th 2022


25 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Definitely my favorite Demi album. I thought DWTDTAOSO was great, but this is much more authentic and is the album that should have been her comeback. The singles are the weakest in my opinion, but still great. Heaven, Bones, Eat Me, and Freak are all hard rock bangers, and Happy Ending is probably Demi's most emotional song to date. Love it.

cvlts
August 19th 2022


9890 Comments


Album Rating: 5.0

Definitely my favorite Demi album.

AYakkingYak
August 19th 2022


25 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^^^^ I rated it 5 before it dropped just to balance out the 1 star reviews lmao. It's probably a 4-4.5 for me. I think Help Me is the only track I was disappointed by.

proscett
August 19th 2022


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is fun

JoyfulPlatypus
August 19th 2022


435 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Well I'll be damned, if this is actually worth checking out then I guess I gotta give it a shot. I was NOT a fan of the first single at all, and I can't say I'm the biggest fan of her personality, but I'll give anything at least one try.

FreakMachine
August 19th 2022


1207 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I honestly used to adore this person (as long term users of this site might remember). My question is, Sowing : Is this genuinely that good? Like, someone on here giving a pop album from a particularly questionable pop singer and controversial human being a 4 is pretty rare, so is this actually worth the time of someone who loved both her early disney rock (with a review coming for Here We Go Again), and also Unbroken and her self titled, but who fell out with her after that?

Colton
August 19th 2022


17274 Comments


lol @ the notion of sowing 4ing a pop album (or any album) being rare

FreakMachine
August 19th 2022


1207 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"

lol @ the notion of sowing 4ing a pop album (or any album) being rare"

I seem to recall he/she gave Marina a good score, and i love marina so i guess props for that. Tbh , arse kissy as this sounds (and im drunk so it is arse kissy), sowing and the rest of the mods arent that bad at all. Sowing is always fair at least, and takes the time to reply .

pizzamachine
August 19th 2022


21495 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I predict Willie will comment next.

Willie
Moderator
August 19th 2022


20065 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

--"Lovato has always cited acts such as Dimmu Borgir, Job for a Cowboy, Emperor, and Abigail Williams as influence"



Is it a joke or did she really said that?--




https://loudwire.com/demi-lovato-crowdsurf-dimmu-borgir-2007-show/



https://www.wearethepit.com/2021/11/pop-star-demi-lovato-loves-crushing-metalcore-and-satanic-black-metal/



https://loudwire.com/demi-lovato-listens-to-metal-in-car/

Shamus248
August 19th 2022


584 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

she updated her pronouns back to she/her just FYI for everyone

STIGMATIZED
August 19th 2022


338 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Guess what? Demi gets heavy, and instead of airing her dirty laundry fucking incinerates it with a flamethrower. And even better, it doesn't really feel forced, pretentious or narcissistic (OMG!! A RARITY FOR ROCK MUSIC THESE DAYS!!!). modern classic

bloc
August 19th 2022


69181 Comments


Nita Strauss jumped the Alice Cooper train to tour with Demi, which already piqued my interest to hear this

Tundra
August 19th 2022


7686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

glad this got a positive review, MGK eat your heart out, this is how you do a modern pop rock album

cor22222
August 19th 2022


440 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I am the watcher of Sowing's ratings and you are too generous by giving the 4/5 for too many records, after all that times it means nothing to me, and I must listen to that records by myself :/



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