Demi Lovato – ‘Confident’

It's not exactly subtle, but the former Disney star's latest album goes some way to shaking off a cheesy past

When Demi Lovato sings “you’ve had me underrated” on this album’s opening song, it’s not hard to work out where she’s coming from. Though ‘Confident’ is the fifth album she’s released since 2008, until now this 23-year-old former child actor – whose CV includes US kids’ series Barney & Friends and the Jonas Brothers’ cheesy Camp Rock films – hasn’t fully managed to shake off her cheesy Disney beginnings.

Her 2013 album ‘Demi’ was actually pretty decent and spawned the UK Top Three hit ‘Heart Attack’, but this record’s first two tracks (and singles) finally establish Lovato as a serious contender. Title tune ‘Confident’ fuses hip-hop horns and Joan Jett beats and has her bragging “it’s all about me tonight”, while ‘Cool For The Summer’ is a massive EDM-tinged-tinged pop banger with lyrics hinting at an exploratory same-sex tryst. “Don’t be scared ’cause I’m your body type”, Lovato purrs on the chorus before whispering suggestively, “Don’t tell your mother!”.

Nothing else on ‘Confident’ is quite as much fun, but Lovato’s intensity never wavers as the album alternates between trap-influenced midtempo tracks like the Iggy Azalea-assisted ‘Kingdom Come’ and bombastic power ballads that show off her mighty vocals. ‘Lionheart’ sounds as though it belongs in an ’80s action movie, while ‘For You’ is so brilliantly overblown it makes Miley Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ seem restrained. Throughout, Lovato’s largely self-written lyrics (who else writes them?) match the musical bluster. “Fuck my bad habits, don’t act like you got none” she tells the haters on ‘Waitin’ For You’, a swaggering collaboration with Skrillex-endorsed rapper Sirah.

It’s powerful stuff, especially from a singer who has bravely spoken out about her past struggles with depression, drug and alcohol abuse and an eating disorder, but ultimately ‘Confident’ feels a bit relentless. Even closer ‘Father’, a lyrically raw and initially stripped down ode to Lovato’s late father, who died of cancer in 2013, ends with a full-scale gospel choir finale. But despite its complete lack of subtlety, ‘Confident’ hints there’s more to Demi Lovato than her unfortunate recent comments about crockery.

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