Demi Lovato has always been sort of out of the norm in the music industry. When Disney darlings were barely or badly singing pop songs written for them, Demi was delivering spectacular vocals and writing her own material. Even still, she flew under the radar and never quite made it to the level her talent should have gotten her to.
Now thrust into the glaring spotlight by her rehab stint and personal story of redemption, she has a much broader audience and platform. But in a world where the Katy Perrys and Rihannas of the world are topping the charts and breaking records, where does she fit in? Demi’s hoping it’s right alongside them as she delivers her third album, Unbroken.
The set sees Demi playing around with multiple sounds. She dips into R&B with tracks like the Missy Elliott and Timbaland-assisted All Night Long, Who’s That Boy featuring pop singer Dev, and My Love Is Like A Star. She tangos with electro-pop/dance on Hold Up and the title track Unbroken, and deliciously takes on pop with Give Your Heart A Break, In Real Life and Together with Jason Derulo.
Always a strong suit for Lovato are ballads. She yearns on the stunning Lightweight: “I’m a lightweight/Better be careful what you say/With every word I’m blown away/You’re in control of my heart,’ she sings on the chorus, her voice growing more powerful as the song goes on. “I’m a lightweight/Easy to fall, easy to break/With every move my whole world shakes/Keep me from falling apart.”
Just as stunning is the gut-wrenching Fix A Heart. “And I just ran out of band-aids/I don’t even know where to start/Cause you can bandage the damage/You never really can fix a heart.”
With the good, comes the bad. Striking a low note and clearly arriving a year or two too late is the painfully dated You’re My Only Shorty. The use of the overused, out of date term “shorty” immediately makes this Iyaz-featured song sound like one that should have been released in 2009 or late-2010.
As a whole, Demi’s third album is a more-than-solid collection of well-written, well-performed, hit-worthy songs. All the same, there’s something disappointing about an artist as multi-talented as Lovato having to conform for a Hot 100 hit. Where she was once the exception to the actress-turned-singer rule, she’s now one and the same with the other pop tarts of today.