Demi Lovato, ‘Unbroken’ – Album Review
The wait is over, Lovatics! Demi Lovato's 'Unbroken' album has finally been released, and the songstress is making a full force comeback.
For Lovato, this year has been a time for healing. The 19-year-old recently finished a stint in rehab, as she was battling bulimia and severe depression. Thankfully, the singer is now back on track, and she is sharing both her joy and personal struggles with fans on 'Unbroken.'
Speaking to MTV about 'Unbroken,' Lovato said, "I think it's grown-up, but it's not too grown-up." She continued, "It's not tasteless. It's growing up with my fans. It's [like] I'm not a kid anymore, but I'm also not a full-grown woman either. So I'm in that in-between stage, trying to figure out where that is. So I'm figuring it out, just like my fans are."
On 'Unbroken,' the singer strays from the rock roots she originally became known for, creating more R&B, pop, and dance-driven songs. Here is PopCrush's review of the 15-track album, which includes her hit single 'Skyscraper' as well as several collaborations, including features from Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Jason Derulo, Dev and IYAZ.
1. 'All Night Long' Feat. Missy Elliott and Timbaland
What a way to open a record. Demi Lovato somehow got Missy Elliott, who hasn't really recorded any new material in the past few years, for a feature on 'All Night Long' -- not to mention production and vocals from superstar studio man Timbaland as well. This vivacious track is a hybrid of various genres that Demi herself has been inspired by, including a rockin' guitar riff, a hip-hop backing beat and a poppy vocal performance. This sexy party song is a surefire hit, since it makes you want to move those dancing feet and groove along. (Listen Here)
2. 'Who's That Boy' Feat. Dev
When PopCrush reviewed this track, which features electro hip-hop songstress Dev, we found 'Who's That Boy' to be one of the most standout, upbeat tunes we've heard from Lovato to date. This song was made for the club, since it talks about hunting for that special someone while hitting the dancefloor. 'Who's That Boy' features slightly naughty lyrics that make you wanna get your bad girl/boy on. The beat isn't overdone or forced, with an effervescent pop and hip-hop sound that harmoniously joins together to create a great, infectious tune. (Listen Here)
3. 'You're My Only Shorty' Feat. IYAZ
On this fun, uptempo, IYAZ-featured track, Demi Lovato hits a wide range of notes, channeling Mariah Carey as she takes her voice to glass-breaking heights. The dance pop song also features a light-hearted yet hard-hitting synth beat and clapping, as IYAZ tells Lovato that she's his one and only during the chorus. We dare you not to dance along while listening to this one. If you're not a dancer, this groovable tune will have tapping your toes along at the very least.
4. 'Together' Feat. Jason Derulo
Jason Derulo joins Demi on 'Together,' a track that will surely speak to many kids today. The singers trade verses as they sing about fighting through the hard times and rising above hatred. The R&B, drum-centric song has a bit of a tribal vibe going on, and also features an infectious chorus and passionate vocals from Demi -- she even gets her MJ on as she lets out a high-pitched "woo!" in the song's breakdown. Fans will definitely be clapping along to this self-empowering track.
'Lightweight' opens with a vocal arrangement that is reminiscent of the Chordettes' 1954 track 'Mr. Sandman.' Although the song isn't our favorite on the album, Lovato's vocals are pretty much on-point (minus a bigger note at the end where it feels as if she missed the mark a bit), as she moves between breathy, ethereal pitches to full-blown wailing. This track is about the vulnerability Demi feels about a romance, as she sings, "I'm a lightweight, better be careful what you say."
We have to admit it -- we were expecting a little more from the album's title track. 'Unbroken' opens with a heavy, industrial-influenced electro beat, giving way to swirling keyboards. While the beat sounds promising at first, Lovato's vocals don't seem to fit with the sonics. 'Unbroken' builds like a house song, climaxing in the chorus, but overall, this song isn't doing it for us. The electronic elements seem forced and like a mishmosh of computer bleeps rather than an organized arrangement.
7. 'Fix a Heart'
This symphonic and emotionally-compelling track swells between pure epicness and mournful simplicity. Kicking off with a heavyhearted, melodic piano and a faint, steady drum beat, 'Fix a Heart' is about a broken spirit that can't seem to heal from the damage inflicted by a former lover. "Cause you can bandage the damage / You never really can fix a heart," Demi sings in the chorus. Lovato is truly a vocal powerhouse on this track, showing that she can sing sweet and softly only to later blow the roof off as she hits big, strong notes on 'Fix a Heart.'
8. 'Hold Up'
Lovato herself has a songwriting credit on this track, which is a combination of house music and mid-tempo electro-pop. During the 'Hold Up' verses, the fast-paced synth that plays throughout the chorus and intro gives way to a simpler, pop beat that is reminiscent of Katy Perry's 'California Gurls' or Kesha's 'Tik Tok.' Demi also sexes it up a bit, singing, "Hey stranger / I'm addicted to the danger / Of your touch / Now you're wanted / Better keep me as your hostage / Tie me up." Overall, this song is catchy, but we did feel like the chorus was lacking a bit.
Not a fan of this one. Even though Lovato's vocals are once again impressive, the music on this track is the exact opposite. 'Mistake' starts with a spastic synth, making us think we are about to hear another one of Demi's hypersonic club tracks, but it quickly does a 180 and turns into a ballad. Lovato fluently sings about moving on from a defunct relationship, but the song's arrangement leaves us scratching our heads in confusion, since the electro elements seems unnatural and forced with the classical piano sound that drives 'Mistake.'
10. 'Give Your Heart a Break'
Another captivating track from Lovato, 'Give Your Heart a Break' is a mix between contemporary pop and old-school pop from the '80s and '90s. This harmonious hybrid sound isn't surprising, since Billy Steinberg was a co-writer/producer, and he has worked with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and the Bangles in their heydeys. The violin in the beginning sounds like Coldplay's 'Viva la Vida,' but the orchestral element soon joins forces with a pounding, rhythmic drum that makes you want to dance along as Lovato sings, "There's just one life to live and there's no time to wait to waste / So let me give your heart a break."
'Skyscraper' is Demi Lovato's first single off of 'Unbroken,' and the darkly pretty song was the perfect comeback for the singer, considering the song's message pretty much sums up Lovato's current state of mind. Although her vocals aren't outstanding on this song, it's such a personal track for the singer that it almost doesn't even matter. As she really starts letting her voice soar towards the middle and end of the song, it's almost as if we are taking a journey with Lovato, battling through the difficult times she faced right by her side. (Listen Here)
12. 'In Real Life'
'In Real Life' kicks off with a slightly twisted, grim beat that reminds of a song that you might hear while riding a carousel at a carnival. This type of music adds to the song's lyricism, since Lovato is singing about a tumultuous relationship and the disillusions she suffers as she daydreams about the way it should be. Just like her song 'My Love Is Like a Star,' [see below] we feel Lovato is channeling soulful R&B divas like Mary J. Blige in the chorus and hook of the catchy tune, as she sings, "Then I wake up / And realize, realize, this is real life / Real life, this is real life / Real life (real life) / Real life.” (Listen Here)
13. 'My Love Is Like a Star'
This slower jam sounds like it could've been recorded by Mary J. Blige or TLC. Lovato's vocals are spot-on as she soulfully sings over the steady R&B beat in 'My Love Is Like a Star.' "My love's like a star yeah / You can't always see me, but you know that I'm always there / When you see one shining take it as mine / And remember I'm always near," Demi sings during the chorus.
14. 'For the Love of a Daughter'
This track is one of the most somber and serious songs on the entire album. Lovato gives it her all as she sings about a broken family, suffering through the pains brought on by addiction. Lovato also co-wrote this track, and it focuses on the relationship between a man and his daughter. The soft piano keys in the beginning give more emotional weight to this song, which carries some autobiographical weight as well, considering Demi's father hasn't been a huge part of her life in recent years. This one is a sad song, but also shows Demi's strength and growth into adulthood.
15. 'Skyscraper' (Wizz Dumb Remix)
Although we enjoy the stripped-down and swelling music that appears in the original 'Skyscraper' track, this Wizz Dumb remix takes on a more R&B feel and is just as good as the original. Drums and orchestral elements accompany Demi's vocals in the remix, giving this version a more symphonic feel, especially with the addition of its angelic backup singers. This remix is a great addition to the album, and is definitely worth a listen.