Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some child stars should just stop there, like Demi Lovato…

album review

Okay so Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake made it big as Mouseketeers by that doesn't mean every one will

Singer: Demi Lovato
Album: Demi

Despite a promising start to her career that helped her win over a massive fan base, Demi Lovato hasn't been as successful at defining herself as her more prominent Disney peers Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. After going from Disney princess to troubled teenager, then seeking treatment for “physical and emotional issues” in 2010 and subsequently leaving Sonny with a Chance, the former child star has put her acting career on hold and instead chosen to focus on music as well as joining the judging panel of the faltering U.S. version of The X Factor.

With the release of her fourth album Demi, however, her music career's lack of direction is becoming more apparent and feels quite confusing. Following two pop rock albums and one R&B tinged set, the singer has decided to tone down the urban flavours of her previous record in favour of bland bubblegum pop. On offer here are synth ridden dance tracks, uplifting ditties, and lovelorn ballads, all of which come off as nothing more than generic teen pop fodder.

There is little if anything about Demi that distinguishes it from music that, say, Katy Perry or Taylor Swift would make. In fact, the set feels like it pilfers elements from the pop charts and rehashes them to familiar effect. For instance, 'Made in the USA' feels Miley Cyrus-esque; 'Neon Lights' brings Rihanna, David Guetta, and Taio Cruz to mind; 'Nightingale' and 'Warrior' evoke Christina Aguilera; songs like 'Really Don't Care' (featuring Cher Lloyd) and 'Something That We're Not' channel Ke$ha; and 'Warrior' rehashes the singer's own previous single 'Skyscraper'. The tracks aren't necessarily shoddy; just unimaginative, generic, and lacking personality. And its run of the mill production doesn't do the material any favours either.

Also, the overdramatic, blaring vocals generally don't help the album. Displaying vocal chops is one thing; mistaking screaming for singing is quite another. Lovato does have the ability to deliver smooth vocal performances when she hones back her overly breathy dramatics and opts to convey something more tender. Softer songs work better for her, and subtler moments, like 'Nightingale' and 'In Case', make better use of her voice.

Ultimately, despite its title, Demi doesn't reveal who Demi Lovato really is, nor does it try to be personal and confessional like 2011's Unbroken. The only thing we do find out about her is that she is desperate for a hit. This is just another set of by the numbers teen pop that might be catchy and even enjoyable, but is also completely predictable, indistinct, and entirely forgettable. The singer sounds like she is still trying to develop her style and discover the direction she wants to take, and is, in the meantime, content with borrowing elements that have been successful for others and hoping they work for her too. Listeners who enjoy the current hits on the charts will probably like this album, but anyone who is looking for something that has a little more flavour and is a bit more distinct than average radio friendly pop is bound to be disappointed.

- By Sameen Amer
Instep, The News on Sunday - 16th June, 2013

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