Thursday 19 October 2017

Demi Lovato - Tell Me You Love Me

Demi Lovato - Tell Me You Love Me

Demi Lovato knows how to deliver a brilliant pop song, but she's never been one for subtlety - be it the explosive Heart Attack, the saccharine Skyscraper, or the flirtatious Cool For The Summer.

'Tell Me You Love Me' is no different. Lovato has a cracking set of pipes, but they're nearly always set to full volume. At times she really astounds - that piercing high note in lead single Sorry Not Sorry in particular - but for the most part, you wish she'd dial it down a touch.

It's most apparent on the ballads. She's noted that this is her most raw and soulful album to date, but tracks like You Don't Do It For Me Anymore and Cry Baby come off as overblown as she blasts out those lyrics. These are clearly personal tracks and she's living her pain, but sometimes a more hushed tone can convey so much more. Yet by contrast the album tails off with the mellow Concentrate and Hitchhiker that fail to grab our attention as the volume drops.

That's why it's the upbeat tracks that are more successful here. And where previous Lovato albums have hinged on a handful of singles, 'Tell Me You Love Me' has more consistent quality even with its range of styles. Sorry Not Sorry is pure 2017 pop; Sexy Dirty Love is all stomping disco funk; and Games is a squelching ode to 90s R&B. Daddy Issues is a major pop highlight, pairing its dark lyrics with vibrant, neon-lit synths and pulsing rhythms.

Then there are the tracks that sit in the middle. The coy, sensual Ruin The Friendship is Lovato at her best, offering muted vocals over slinky beats and that flirtatious giggle in the middle. Only Forever and Lonely see Lovato chasing a darker R&B vibe (with DJ Mustard producing the latter), but both feel like Ariana Grande knock-offs.

And that's the issue with Lovato: she's never been the most original popstar. That voice has got her this far (when she controls it) but the songs often let her down. Here she's finally hit a consistent streak, even if the album is lacking a true standout single.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Sorry Not Sorry
* Daddy Issues
* Ruin The Friendship

Listen: 'Tell Me You Love Me' is out now.