Hook-heavy tracks benefit from Demi Lovato’s prodigious singing
Women are on a roll on the pop charts this season—and we’re not complaining: After Janet Jackson and Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato is expected to seize the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 next week with the release of her fifth studio album, “Confident” (unless Pentatonix’s latest a cappella collection rains on Demi’s parade)—and, if that chart-topping triumph does come to pass, it wouldn’t be undeserved!
With a stellar voice that can give her contemporaries a run for their money, fueling moving ballads and groovesome pop-rock tracks that demand the kind of powerhouse singing that only Lovato’s prodigious range and performing caliber can pull off, the album doesn’t disappoint, as it zeroes in on the 23-year-old former Disney star’s newfound confidence.
Demi is sexier than ever these days, as the album cover demonstrates. —And, as she recently told Ryan Seacrest, “I’m done with sob stories.”
Fortunately for her latest compilation, it’s a statement that isn’t very precise. True, the Max Martin- and Ryan Tedder-enhanced repertoire features a string of electropop party swingers that pop aficionados can groove to:
—Like the music that frames the singer’s same-sex flirtations in the catchy carrier single, “Cool For The Summer,” and the gargantuan hooks of the title track (“You had me underrated/ This is my game/ And you better come to play”) to the fizzy “Stars” in the album’s deluxe edition.
The songs are even harder to resist when they reveal intimate details about Lovato’s telenovela-ready life, like her struggle with a negative self-image, bulimia, a bipolar disorder and other personal demons.
Demi “marches to the beat of the stars” as she forges a special bond with her love in the moody ballad, “Lionheart.” She stands up to bullies in “Waitin’ For You,” and displays understated grace in “Old Ways,” where she reminds herself to stop “watching the world from my doorstep” as she acknowledges the self-inflicted problems that only she can do something about.
In “Mr. Hughes,” she looks back at her first serious heartbreak, at age 13, when she fell in love with the football jock who led her on—and drove her into depression: “No pill or drink could ease the pain/ Now he’s got the blues/ ‘Cause his high school dreams never went too far/ He missed his chance to be with a star/ I forgive, but can’t forget your mistakes/ It’s time for you to pay!”
However, Lovato is more forgiving in the gospel-tinged “Father,” where she seeks closure for her troubled relationship with her estranged dad, Patrick—who succumbed to cancer two years ago: “Thank you, even if you started this whole war in me/ You left us alone/ I guess that made me who I am/ I know you were a troubled man/ You never got the chance to be your best/ I hope that heaven has given you a second chance!”
James Bond song for Sam Smith
How does Sam Smith’s James Bond tune, “Writing’s on the Wall” (for Sam Mendes’ upcoming “Spectre,” which commences its theatrical run in Manila on Nov. 6), compare to “Skyfall,” Adele’s Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning 007 theme song? The polarizing single is as schmaltzy as it is moody, generating as many naysayers as it has supporters.
Smith has big shoes to fill, because Adele’s song is widely regarded as the best Bond tune in years—“Skyfall” made Daniel Craig cry the first time he heard it!
If it’s any consolation, former James Bond Roger Moore has tweeted his support for Smith’s “haunting” composition—which took the British songsmith only 20 minutes to write!
Sam’s loyal fans were as quick and effusive with their support: Despite its mixed reviews, “Writing’s on the Wall”—about a guy who’s willing to risk it all for love—went straight to the top of the British singles chart on its debut week, making Smith the first artist to hit No. 1 with a James Bond tune!
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