Demi Lovato has long been one of the under-recognized from the Holy Trinity of Disney Girls from 2009, never reaching Miley or Selena’s success despite her overwhelming pipes. Her last offering Confident (2015) was tailor made for mainstream success and Demi herself has said as much, that she made it with charts in mind. The project tanked despite “Cool For The Summer” being absolutely perfect for a summer smash. The lukewarm reception of the project lead Lovato to consider an extended hiatus from the industry but a Grammy nomination for Confident emboldened the singer with new validation.
The newfound encouragement lead to Lovato’s new album – Tell Me You Love Me. Lead single “Sorry Not Sorry” did a slow burn up the charts, eventually giving Lovato her highest peaking US single at #6. Onto the review!
Sorry Not Sorry 3/5 | I was indifferent to this as a single (CFTS was far superior) until I saw Demi’s performance at the VMAs. Sorry Not Sorry is perfect for the gym and anyone wanting to kiss off those who did them wrong.
Tell Me You Love Me 4/5 | The second single is a gospel tinged plea for love at your worst and most insecure. (Tell me you love me / I need someone on days like this, I do / On days like this).
Sexy Dirty Love 3/5 | This track could have been taken directly off of Christina Aguilera’s Lotus album. Frenetic and disco heavy, it’s a tailor made banger.
You Don’t Do It for Me Anymore 5/5 | In the vein of Lovato’s previous hit, “Skyscraper”, this soaring ballad sees Lovato singing to her past self and her well documented addictions. Written ambiguously to apply to a bad lover as well, this vulnerable track deserves the single treatment. (I see the future without you / The hell was I doing in the past? / Now that I’ve learned all about you / A love just like ours wouldn’t last)
“Daddy Issues” – 5/5 | When I first saw this title on the track listing, I was expecting something like Lovato’s previous works about her father – For The Love of A Daughter, Father and Shouldn’t Come Back.
All of which were ballads detailing their fractured relationships and hinting at physical and sexual abuse. (Sidenote: Shouldn’t Come Back is one of my favorite songs from Demi – it’s painstakingly sad and the way her voice cracks into tears throughout really sets the framework for a relationship where there is love there but it’s toxic. You want to believe in them but they just let you down). Instead this flips into a club banger about loving guys that leave you – all cause you got daddy issues. (I call you too much / You never pick up / Except when you wanna fuck / And I can’t get enough / You’re the man of my dreams / ‘Cause you know how to leave)
“Ruin the Friendship” – 4/5 | Rumoured to be about Nick Jonas, this jazzy sex laden track is about getting out of the friendzone and into something else. (Your body’s looking good tonight / I’m thinking we should cross the line / Let’s ruin the friendship). Demi has dated Nick’s brother irl so it might be a little weird but props to Nick Jonas if this actually happens because that’s the stuff of legend – hooking up with all three of the Holy Disney Trinity (Miley 3x. Selena 2x and now Demi). It’s sexy and it’s fun, the perfect soundtrack that all potentially bad decisions are made from.
“Only Forever” 5/5 | If “Ruin The Friendship” was the hookup, then “Only Forever” is the morning after. (You know when we get close / Can’t deny the tension between us both / And I don’t wanna pressure you, but I think you need to make a move). Slow and seductive, it’s about lingering in that in between before the relationship is official.
“Lonely” (featuring Lil Wayne) 2/5 | During her world tour in 2012, Demi covered Lil Wayne’s “How To Love” lending a new sincerity to the song. Now, years later the two collaborate on the only feature on the album. Profanity laden loneliness and desperation echo in each chorus. It’s not bad but it’s no standout as a ballad.
“Cry Baby” 5/5 | An exquisite balled that’s an encapsulation of toxic love and pride. (Congratulations, celebration / ‘Cause my heart is the hardest to break / Break up to make up / Just to wake up with mascara all over my face / And I’m no cry baby, but you make me cry lately)
“Games” 3/5 | After being ghosted by a fuckboy that left her lonely in the lead-up songs, Lovato finds her power in Games. (Careful when you play these games / You might find out the hard way that two can play). It’s anthemic in the way that “Sorry Not Sorry” is, especially when you have a fuckboy in your life and need to burn out that rage on a treadmill.
“Concentrate” 4/5 | This song is like an after sex cigarette. Slow and sultry, it’s a song that would make Mickey Mouse blush. (Baby, I’ll do anything you want / Lock me down like I’m your slave / ‘Cause ooh, when you’re done with me / I can’t even concentrate, concentrate)
“Hitchhiker” 1/5 | In the four months that I’ve had this album, many of the songs have grown on me over time but this one still hasn’t. It’s a shame it closes out the album because it’s so unremarkable in an otherwise fine body of work. At least the album ends on a happy note I guess. (I don’t really need to know, if my heart is in danger / ‘Cause as long as you’re the driver / I’m your hitchhiker, yeah)
Overall this is a decent album. It possesses similar themes to Confident. Daddy Issues, TMYLM, CryBaby and Ruin The Friendship are my most played tracks of the album. But my favourite Demi Lovato album will always and forever be “Here We Go Again”. While her more recent albums have leaned into R&B, Demi’s early and forgotten pop rock music has some of the best songs of her discography. Get into Got Dynamite, Everytime You Lie, Catch Me and before I link the entire damn album Falling Over Me.
Tell Me You Love Me is available on iTunes, Spotify and at all music outlets. Demi’s tour with DJ Khaled is due to start in 2018.