It's a case of churning out the same stuff for Demi Lovato, when everyone is waiting for her to surprise us from left of field with a comeback at the top of her game.
It’s album number four, Demi’s been in the game over five years now and she's had quite a time of it in the industry.
From Jonas break-ups and rehab stints to landing a lucrative seat on one of the biggest shows America has ever seen. Audiences see Lovato squaring up to industry heavyweights Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid as well as leading teens with advice on mental health.
Without releasing anything for over two years, everyone is expecting Lovato to come back biting now she seems to be at the top of her game.
The 20 year-old is credited with co-writing almost every track on the album, and you would expect a lot more gravitas. It’s still mostly one-dimensional teen pop. It's an album constructed to try and top charts rather than a presentation of a fully-realised, expertly executed album with uniqueness.
The album hasn’t the transformative nature of comeback records like those before Lovato. Christina Aguilera released a Spanish language and Christmas album shortly after her debut. At risk of being written off, she then came back two years later with her most talked about release ever, Stripped. Similarly, after a three year break Britney Spears came out with In the Zone - a grown-up, ballsy release, with singles like Toxic and Me Against the Music. Even Lovato’s contemporary Miley Cyrus has had soft success and kudos for her coming-of-age Can’t Be Tamed phase.
Unfortunately there is barely a whiff of the above from Demi. Lead single Heart Attack is Lovato’s best foot forward with its catchy hook and strong Irish chart debut, but the album follows in trips and tumbles. Lovato belts it out on soft ballad Shouldn’t Come Back and pours her heart and delicate vocal into Warrior, which closes the album. Offsetting all this is a (thankfully) forgettable duet with Cher Lloyd.
The wailing, electro power ballad Never Been Hurt has one of the most over-processed, auto-tuned and annoying choruses known to man. Club banger Neon Lights is a better track, though almost a carbon copy of Taio Cruz’s Dynamite, and sounds like every other R&B chart song over the past five years.
For the next album, Demi - less Cher Lloyd, more Christina.