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Demi Lovato - Topic

Here We Go Again Play

Like Britney Spears before her, Demi Lovato pretty much admits in the title of her sophomore album that she's serving up more of the same the second time around, but unlike Britney, that may not have been Demi's intention. For Here We Go Again, Lovato makes a relatively clean break from the Jonas Brothers, who penned much of her debut, Don't Forget, drafting sensitive AAA singer/songwriters Jon McLaughlin and John Mayer presumably to give Lovato a bit of mature veneer, a subtle shift buried underneath the relentlessly cheerful Radio Disney production and Lovato's irrepressible spunk. Both sonic characteristics tend to camouflage Demi's biggest moves away from teen pop -- the fussy balladeering of "Falling Over Me," the mock-Mraz jazz-pop "Every Time You Lie," the sober soul searching of the Mayer collaboration "World of Chances," the Celtic flair of "Gift of a Friend" -- which also happen to be the very things that make Here We Go Again not quite as much fizzy fun as Don't Forget. Not quite as much fun, but still fun, particularly when Lovato tears into hooky power pop like "Here We Go Again," "Solo," "Remember December," and the stomping "So Far So Great," the theme song to the TV show Sonny with a Chance, songs that are ideally matched to Lovato's adolescent energy and spirit, which remain her most appealing qualities. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Demi [Bonus CD-R Track] Play

Her return from darkness out of the way, Demi Lovato returns to the serious business of stardom on Demi, her fourth album and the first positioned as the work of a true adult. Maturity is a bit of a tricky business on Demi, as it finds her copping modern trends without quite shaking off the studio system that fostered her. The latter is problematic, resulting in half-baked exercises in pageantry -- such as the "Skyscraper" rewrite "Nightingale" -- and the occasional cultural dissonance, like when she tells a suitor "you try to take me home like you're DiMaggio," a name not heard in a pop song for almost 25 years. Unfortunately, a lot of these stumbles arrive early in the record, but the back half of Demi shifts into a place where the studio professionalism and blatant cash-ins click. She brings in Cher Lloyd, from the seventh season of the British X-Factor, to rap on the brightly brickwalled kiss-off "Really Don't Care," she skips through the wildly appealing "Something That We're Not" -- quite easily the purest and best piece of pop here -- and deliriously rips off Katy Perry's "Firework" on "Fire Starter," which is shameless in its appropriating the prior hit's construction and progression but not its attitude. This second half is strong enough to make some of the earlier, tentative moments seem a bit better -- this is particularly true of "Made in the USA," which cops Miley's "Party in the USA," but it's not quite so fetching an exploitation as "Fire Starter" -- but ultimately, this isn't an album of purpose, it's a collection of moments, and it has just enough good ones to solidify Demi Lovato's comeback. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Unbroken Play

Breaking into a whirlwind schedule of filming Disney TV movies and touring the world with the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato checked into a treatment facility in the fall of 2010. Denying rumors of substance abuse, her management team confessed that Lovato was being treated for emotional issues that manifested themselves in bulimia and cutting, serious matters that can’t be swept under the rug, so Lovato attempts to clear the air via her post-treatment record, 2011’s Unbroken. Clearly, the title is intended to convey strength, while its lead single, “Skyscraper,” conveyed vulnerability, setting a precedent for Lovato specifically addressing her problems on “Fix a Heart,” where she runs out of Band-Aids to bind her wounds. These stark ballads are paired with a half-album's worth of songs that act like nothing is wrong in Demi’s world at all, that she can keep partying “All Night Long” and shaking her hips for her only shorty. Ryan Tedder attempts to push her onto the charts while Timbaland knocks off his own production of Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous,” the frivolity clashing with introspection. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
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