Demi Lovato is a work in progress | Inquirer Entertainment

Demi Lovato is a work in progress

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 10:11 PM May 24, 2013

LOVATO. Sings about her troubled life in fourth album.

Appearances can be deceiving. As a precocious 9-year-old, Demi Lovato may have danced and pranced with the purple Tyrannosaurus rex in “Barney & Friends,” and later shared the spotlight with the Jonas brothers as a peppy teen princess in “Camp Rock.” But, ruling the teenage roost doesn’t always guarantee happiness.

Throughout her stellar life, Lovato had endured severe bullying, eating disorders, self-mutilation and depression. So, when she sings her moving hit single, “Skyscraper,” she means every word: “Do you have to make me feel like there’s nothing left of me?” —So much for a Disney-like life!


Unlike another nice-girl-gone-bad, Lindsay Lohan, however, Demi admits that she’s a work in progress—and desperately wants to get better. In between singing gigs and her mentoring chores on “The X Factor,” Lovato, now 20, has been living in a facility for more than a year now to avoid a relapse.


“Demi,” her intimate fourth album (which bows at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 this week), reflects her troubles, especially when the pounding, formulaic hooks of its pop-driven first half begin to settle down—from the dance-floor sizzle of “Neon Lights” and the radio-friendly carrier track, “Heart Attack,” to the Miley Cyrus/Katy Perry-inspired knockoffs, “Made in the USA” and “Fire Starter.”

It’s hard to resist the catchy riffs of the rousing “Something That We’re Not,” and the positive vibe of “Really Don’t Care,” her collaboration with lovely model-turned-“X Factor” winner, Cher Lloyd.

Like “Skyscraper,” “Nightingale” is a hopeful ode about a bruised girl who yearns for some light “to guide her home.” “Two Pieces” is a midtempo musical parable about troubled young people who find comfort in each other as they beat the odds.

In “Warrior,” Demi feels herself getting stronger. And in the wistful “In Case,” she dreams of a day when she could “let it all go.”

Jamie Cullum

CULLUM. Expands eclectic sound in “Momentum.”

We’ve been a fan of Jamie Cullum since 2004’s “Twentysomething.” He bowled us over, not only with his jazzy iterations of well-loved standards (“Singin’ In The Rain,” “I Get A Kick Out of You”) and show tunes (“I Could Have Danced All Night”), but also with his sophisticated funk-and-soul originals (“Mind Trick,” from “Catching Tales”).


In “Momentum,” his immensely satisfying sixth album, the 33-year-old singer-songwriter further expands his eclectic brand of crossover jazz by incorporating a multigenre approach that recalls Quincy Jones’ exhilarating fusions.

The draw of the ubiquitous Stomp box is inescapable in his uptempo charmers—from the hook-heavy melodic sprawl of “Edge of Something” and the jaunty “The Same Things” to the finger-snapping “Anyway” and “Everything You Didn’t Do.”

The British singer’s reimagined covers are cleverly realized: He gives Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale” a noirish downtempo with a hip-hop twist, courtesy of rapper Roots Manuva. And “Pure Imagination” reeks with melancholy—a perfect tune to play late at night.

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Cullum exudes ravishing soul in the torchy “When I Get Famous,” then turns strikingly ruminative in “Get A Hold Of Yourself” and “Save Your Soul,” where he comes clean about a romance gone awry—a familiar theme in his compositions, like “Nothing I Do” and  “These Are The Days.”

TAGS: Demi Lovato, Disney, Jamie Cullum, Music, The X-Factor

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