“What’s wrong with being confident?”
Demi Lovato‘s 2015 single became a proclamation ranging from music lovers to sports teams. There was a new hunger in Lovato’s music as the world was getting a glimpse of where the singer could go when she foregoes all previous limits. “Sorry Not Sorry,” the first song from Lovato’s latest album, Tell Me You Love Me sets the tone from the album. A fiery, R&B-laden anthem, if you want to make a statement with the first track of your album, this is the way you do it.
Take a look at the covers of these two albums and see the symbolism. “Confident” shows Lovato taking hold of her capabilities and displaying them to the world. The cover of TMYLM is just Lovato’s face in black and white. The title and cover goes hand in hand. In order to love her, you have to be able to handle who she is right now.
Tell Me You Love Me pulls no punches and that’s exactly where it draws it’s strength. The album is a mirror, a journal, and a confessional booth. This album shows that a woman can be sexual without it carrying some negative connotation that society has stamped itself on over time. There are things that need reconditioning, both about Lovato and women in general. It’s time to dispel this notion that a women embracing her sexuality is a show of uncouth or weakness. These collection of songs both finesse power in showing emotional vulnerability in lost love and the thrill and lust of a new one.
In twelve tracks, Lovato weaves through many different emotions and roles. “You Don’t Do It For Me,” which is a temporary slow down from the first three tracks is a permanent goodbye to the Demi everyone once knew. When you shed your skin, in an emotional sense, that’s being ok with being forthcoming in many possible ways. “Ruin The Friendship” and “Only Forever” go hand in hand. An instance where there’s a possibility of crossing the line between friendship and lovers, where sometimes, it’s frowned upon. With being forthcoming of these emotions, Lovato asks us to confront that and maybe, confront our own insecurities on what would be taboo subjects.
Vocally, Lovato shines more than ever. R&B music puts singers in a setting where they can explore their vocal abilities and there are instances, like the chorus of “Games,” where Lovato is able to utilize her prowess and creativity in one setting. All in all, there are an even amount of songs that dabbles in both up and down tempo. From the “You Don’t Own Me”-esque style of “Crybaby” to the retro combination of synths and keyboards of “Sexy Dirty Love,” Lovato naturally fits in all these settings.
The album ends with “Concentrate” and “Hitchhiker”. Both tracks begin with Lovato’s voice with guitar chords in an open setting that could serve as a point for future acoustic covers down the road. In both songs, Lovato serves as a seductress and devoted lover. “Concentrate,” a song that will surely be the subject of many romantic get-togethers in the future, draws from early 90’s R&B – the church cadence is still apparent.
In an interview with People magazine, Lovato noted that Christina Aguilera‘s trans formative 2002 sophomore album, Stripped as inspiration for TMYLM. It’s not just because of both artists’ jailbreak from their early Disney days, it’s that both were able to break out this box of what people thought they were in spite of it. Confident saw Lovato making breaks in that cocoon of forming into a role defiant, assertive woman. Tell Me You Love Me is Lovato breaking completely out of it, where all her experiences, good and bad, has shaped the essence of her inner and outer beauty as a butterfly.
Rating: 7.9 out of 10