October 27, 2015 Demi Lovato – Confident (Album Review)
At twenty-three years old, Demi Lovato has a lot to feel “confident” about. The Disney star alum has produced four top-selling albums since her music industry debut in 2008. Yet, the Pop/Rock singer-songwriter’s greatest triumph may be her latest album, released, October 16th via Safehouse/Island/Hollywood, simply entitled Confident. For her fifth overall studio record, Lovato worked with an all-star cast of Producer/Writers Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, Stevie Mac, Rami, and Stargate. Now on the scene for some time, many would argue Lovato has officially made the switch from tween artist to a full-blown powerhouse singer that is ready to take on the world without apologies on Confident.
Those still unfamiliar with the performer, Lovato started at a young age as an actress; however, in 2008 she rose to stardom while starring in the Disney Channel’s highly successful film Camp Rock, alongside the Jonas Brothers. That role led to her signing with Hollywood Records and the release of her first album, Don’t Forget, in 2008. Don’t Forget went on to debut at #2 on the US Billboard Chart 200 and became certified Gold by RIAA, selling 530,000 units. Her second album, Here We Go Again (2009), surpassed her first album sales, by debuting as #1 and became certified Gold by RIAA with 650,000 units. Her first single, “Here We Go Again,” became her first single to break the top 20 Billboard Hot 100, reaching #15 and became certified platinum.
In 2010, unfortunately Lovato’s personal health would lead to her hiatus from the industry to focus on getting well. Triumphantly, a year later Lovato released her third album, Unbroken, which addressed her personal struggle and was a theme that rang throughout the album. Her single “Skyscraper” became Lovato’s first top ten, along with having her receive her first platinum single. Her second single “Give Your Heart a Break” went on to become certified as triple platinum. It seems from her hardship, she was able to triumph with her connection to the listeners.
In 2012 and 2013, Lovato jumped on board the talent show The X Factor, mentoring and judging. It was in 2013, Lovato released her fourth studio album, Demi, and it went on to become her best first week debut of her musical career, with its sales being 110,000. Fast forward to May 2015, and Lovato revealed that Nick Jonas, her manager Phil McIntyre, and she would form an “artistic-centric” new record label, Safehouse Records which would be a collaborative partnership with Island Records. Thus, fans have her latest album, Confident.
Cutting to the chase, Confident starts off with its title track, which is a high energy, catchy Electro-Pop song with a very strong vocal performance by Lovato. Its message is simple be comfortable in your skin. Lovato addresses the issue of being “underrated,” and in many ways over the years her career may have been overlooked by her personal struggles. Although, Lovato’s vocals are so strong listeners cannot help but hear every emotion she feels leap out at them. Then there is “Cool for the Summer,” which was released as Lovato’s first single on July 1, 2015 and hit #11 on the Billboard’s Hot 100. Its theme is about a new outlook on life, which is do what makes you happy, and has been rumored to be a hint about Lovato exploring her sexuality. It is a fun Pop song where the music takes the audience on an upbeat ride while Lovato’s vocals are smooth and sultry.
Next is “Old Ways,” which is a song that seems to resonate with what Lovato may be trying to convey to listeners now that she is more mature and has found a new confidence in herself. The song is about slowing down and refusing to let old habits creep up. Vocally, Lovato sings over a traditional Pop song, then during post refrain, it turns into an Electro-Hip Hop sounding vibe. Her voice portrays a strength that can be felt in the heart. It makes the listener believe that a new day has come for Lovato and her old days of self-destruction are over.
Then there is the album’s promotional single “Stone Cold,” which was a harder song for Lovato to write, as it focuses on wishing her ex the best with their new love. A song that everyone will be able to relate to, again Lovato delivers a gorgeous big ballad vocal, with a taste of Gospel sung over a solo piano playing. A good comparison would be picturing Adele’s 2011 hit single “Someone Like You,” but with a hint of more Soul sounding vocals.
Confident features two songs on it that have guest appearances by female MC’s. The first song being “Kingdom Come” featuring Izzy Azalea. This song is all about finding that special person, your forever. This song may be seen as a ballad, but is infused with Electro-Pop as well as Techno sounding music and vocals by Lovato. When Azalea comes in, her rapping is smooth and completes the story. It is one of the strongest and more beautiful songs on the album that will connect very well with listeners. The other song on the album that features an MC is “Waiting for You” featuring Sirah. The message is about not being messed with or being pushed around by anyone. “Waiting for You” has Lovato starting the song off as strong, almost talking vocals. As the song builds, Lovato enters in with her famous soprano vocals, bringing chills down the listener’s spine. It is a strong message, and once Sirah comes in to rap, it ties the song all together.
Moving right along, “Lionheart” is a big ballad, with a strength, empowerment and inspirational message. Lovato provides soaring vocals that takes her audience on a journey with her. Then, fittingly, “Father” happens to be the last song on the album. One of the many songs on Confident co-penned by Lovato, the vocals sound extremely vulnerable and haunting. It takes on a eulogy type, almost grieving feeling which can be viewed as an open letter to her father. Lovato was estranged from him six years prior to his death. Lovato, singing acapella for the first section of the song, then a piano and string section comes in. It is a tearjerker for anyone, even if they do not connect to the lyrics, due to the moving nature of how Lovato delivers the song.
Confident may well be on its way to being Lovato’s strongest and most mature album to date. Lovato’s fifth release shows a side of her that is inspiring and that is un-apologetic. Lovato’s maturity and willingness to show that she is proud of whom she is and the women she has become is woven into the theme of Confident. Lovato is doing things her way, shedding her younger self skin and morphing into one of the industry’s most powerful female vocalist. Co-writing most of the songs, each has its own unique sound, with a powerful vocal performance, as always from Lovato. Lovato has proven she can sing with the best of them, from Christina Aguilera to Adele.
While her two singles already have done very well on the charts, if that is an indicator of anything, Confident is well on its way to become another successful album in Lovato’s repertoire. Lovato can now officially put behind her days of self-doubt and struggle, having now proved to the world that she is a stronger, more confident and mature women, who is happy with herself and where she is headed. She hopes others will take the message with them. CrypticRock gives Confident 5 out of 5 stars.