After years of work and effort, only a few ex-Disney Channel stars have managed to advance both their popularity and their reputations. Demi Lovato, after falling off the map in 2010 due to personal issues, managed to recapture the spotlight with her 2011 album “Unbroken.”
Now it’s been four years since Lovato’s return to the music world, and she’s not leaving the stage any time soon.
On Oct. 16, Lovato released her new album “Confident.” Although singles like “Confident” and “Cool for the Summer” were released prematurely, the rest of the album came as a surprise. Since its release back in July, the song “Cool for the Summer” has become a major hit, and has reached the ears of most younger audiences.
From the recurring piano riff to the guitars jamming in the outro, the song is easy for any pop music fan to love at first listen. However, after it reached about 500 plays on every pop radio station, the song became a little too familiar.
Fortunately, Lovato’s album provides a break from the repetitive airplay of “Cool for the Summer.”
Every song on Confident contains its own distinct style and complexity. Aside from “Cool for the Summer,” the album lacks the same energy-filled bubblegum pop songs of Lovato’s first album “Don’t Forget.” Instead it contains slower songs with powerful lyrics.
The album’s namesake, “Confident,” uses a heavy drum beat and brass horns to mimic the same power and energy provided by a full band performing in a football stadium. The song sounds engineered for workout music playlists across the country.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, “Father” is slow, raw and personal. While Lovato had never showed a great affection for her late father, the track’s gospel-style undertones, mixed with Lovato’s emotional lyrics, display her internal conflict on the issue.
The song’s dedication is powerful, and the personal meaning behind the track reflects a similar emotion as Lovato’s 2011 song “Skyscraper.”
The album features outside a few contributions by other artists as well.
The song “Kingdom Come” features Iggy Azalea, who adds in a verse near the end of the song. While adding a rap feature has the potential to increase the appeal of some pop songs, the effort felt unnecessary in this instance.
The song “Waitin for You” featuring rapper Sirah reflects a far more appropriate style for a guest verse, and ultimately comes across as a stronger blend of genres.
One consistent element seen throughout the album is Lovato’s distinct voice and vocal range. Lovato shows control over her range, and while most songs feature a few notes unreachable for the average steering wheel singer, she does not abuse her talents.
As a whole, the album acts as a successful continuation of Lovato’s rising career. Her style is no longer the style of a Disney Channel teenager, but instead that of a veteran musician who uses their experience to mold songs.
As a result, Lovato has the potential to appeal to an older, more mature audience with songs such as “Father” or “Stone Cold,” while continuing her popularity amongst younger fans with songs like “Cool for the Summer.”
In a time where gaining support and respect is as difficult for singers as jumping over a moving train, Lovato simply asks, “what’s wrong with being confident?”
You can listen to "Confident" below: