Is there anything more annoying in pop than an incredible single followed by a disappointing album?
Pretty much sums up Demi Lovato's career.
Give Your Heart A Break. Heart Attack. And now Cool For The Summer. It's an exceptional pop song. But then, you'd expect nothing less from Max Martin and Savan Kotecha. The coquettish sexuality that's not overplayed. The breathless vocal delivery. The reminiscence of Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl. The way the guitar unexpectedly launches in before the chorus. The vocal swoop on "body tyyyyype" that's like a musical slut drop. This song is far more than cool for just the summer.
But then you listen to the rest of the album and it's all PIPE DOWN DEMI.
There is only one volume for Demi Lovato's vocal and that is LOUD. This is fine when delivering edgier pop punk, but not every chorus has to be shouted. Even the Christina Aguilera ballads Stone Cold and closer Father just descend into nasal wailing. It leads to an album that is a relentless bombardment of the ears, despite an impressive vocal range. It's a shame as the album's sentiment is meant to reflect overcoming her past struggles of depression, drug abuse and an eating disorder, but whilst she displays plenty of passion, she's unable to tap into this with any vocal subtlety.
This would be more acceptable if the pop songs were up to scratch. They're not. Confident provides a brassy (literally) opener with Kanye-esque swagger, but elsewhere Old Ways has a non-chorus straight out of 2014, Wildfire is far from Ryan Tedder's best work, and the remaining tracks are largely overwrought power pop but without the hooks. That's before she takes a jolting turn into trap with
'Confident' is a disappointing album, then. Lovato has far more personality than so many popstars, but yet again she's unable to translate that into an album of actual bangers as opposed to just banging on. She should've written a song about mugs.
* Cool For The Summer
* For You
Listen: 'Confident' is out now.