Music Review: Demi Lovato, "Unbroken"
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Label: Hollywood Records
· Official Site
by Paul Schultz
Published: October 24, 2011
After you get past the handful of shitty dance club bangers on Unbroken,
you actually find something worthwhile to consume on Demi Lovato's third
full-length solo album. It might be somewhat polarizing to Lovatics -- as Lovato’s fans are affectionately called
on the soundtracks to Camp Rock, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam or Sonny With A Chance,
Disney Channel programming all of which starred the Lone Star lovely.
Whereas her previous albums Don't Forget (2008) and Here We Go Again (2009)
accentuated guitar, bass and drums, this latest batch goes for the dance and R&B style,
at least initially.
But just when you think Demi's burgeoning vocal talent is destined to be buried
in studio gimmickry, that wall of sound is eventually stripped away to reveal a
girl that can actually sing. Her raspy and breathy vocals are utilized
with emotional fervor, and you realize that she doesn't even need a band to convey
her message. So, when you get to the elegant "Lightweight," a
nod to her eating disorder or "For The Love Of A Daughter," her daddy-issues song
(co-written by The Academy Is... front man William Beckett).
Demi Lovato had to leave Camp Rock sometime.
That's what makes the opener "All Night Long" all the more headscratching.
For someone having issues of bulimia and cutting herself, starting out with a
big party song wouldn't seem like the best idea. Timothy Mosley, Jim Beanz, Jerome Harmon, Missy Elliot, Lyrica Anderson, Nire, Garland Mosley,
Joseph Angel, and Lovato wrote it. That's right... it took nine people
to craft a song. It's about as impersonal as you might imagine. Missy actually asked her to rap on “All Night Long,”
and it's pretty cringeworthy.
The title track is one last stab at pure dance floor fodder, throbbing trance
as Lovato sings, "I'm gonna love you like I've never been broken." It is a
transition to the vulnerability you'll find on the back half of the disc, only
toned down for contemplative consumption. The piano-driven, "Fix a Heart," is
plenty heartfelt, while "In Real Life" highlights some surfer synth on a pop
tune more reminiscent of her past output.
Demi Lovato, "Unbroken"
01. All Night Long (Featuring Missy Elliott & Timbaland)
02. Who's That Boy (Featuring Dev)
03. You're My Only Shorty (Featuring Iyaz)
04. Together (Featuring Jason Derulo)
07. Fix A Heart
08. Hold Up
10. Give Your Heart A Break
12. In Real Life
13. My Love Is Like A Star
14. For The Love of A Daugther
15. Skyscraper (Wizz Dumb Remix)
The album takes on its most autobiographical tone with the morbid power ballad,
"Skyscraper," a vocal tour de force of brutal honesty (“Would it make you feel better/To watch me while I bleed?”)
It is rightly her highest charting single, peaking at #10. A "Wizz
Dumb Remix" of the song is also included, which basically just adds a drum
backbeat. I hope the guy that got paid for that one took his check and
Unbroken starts with the most shallow, least interesting songs, all designed to be singles, devoid of any depth.
All of them feature some guests from the high profile Timbaland and Missy Elliot, to the newcomer Dev and Jason
Derulo. It is when the guest go home that the record takes a welcome schizophrenic
turn to something real. You may miss the old rocker chick blasting one aggressive pop-rock
number after another, but maybe those days are over. Lovato is not the
same person, and she is boldly facing maturity through her music.
Demi Lovato will have the honor of performing the national anthem at Game 5 of the World
Series on Monday, October 24th between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals,
currently tied at two games apiece in the seven-game series.