Confident is Demi Lovato’s fifth album and she hasn't really released much since 2013, where the Camp Rock star had last seen success. Is this a step forward in the right direction or just simply a stale release?
Demi's self-titled album, Demi, released to positive reception. I thought it was a good album with very strong tracks like Heart Attack really spearheading the chart success for many months. There were definite problems that could be seen with her previous release, where I felt In Case and Nightingale were probably the weaker tracks. Another album rolls around, and maybe Demi has it in her pockets to show us something unique?
One thing is for sure: Demi has brought that pop rock energy into her new album Confident, along with the singles like Cool For The Summer and the album title track that really showcases the power of the drums and beats. It definitely felt a bomb drop when I heard it for the first time through. Were the tracks great? Hmm.
If there's anything that revolves around this album, tying everything together and tethering it, it would have to be Demi's vocals. We all know about the 'that's why you use auto-tune and I don't' controversy but recently, Demi showcases impressive, soaring vocals, boosting some of the tracks to amazing heights. Father, Stone Cold, Yes, Kingdom Come, Stars (Deluxe Edition), Old Ways and a few others are without a doubt are some of the highlights of the album (bar an Iggy Azalea feature), all thanks to Demi's raw vocals that shrieks of hard-hitting diva sensation. While the production does shoot itself in the foot a few times in the album, she holds up the entire record on her shoulders and lifts it through to the finish line.
The genres on this track do shift and and change from track-to-track, keeping things paced and fresh. While the closer for the album, Father, does have a heart-breaking lyrical drapery to it, it doesn't have as much punch as it should have, considering previous tracks like Lionheart and Stone Cold appear as far stronger, vulnerable and impressive vocally that really echoes Demi's singing prowess.
While the vocals are effective and compelling, the production on the other hand really doesn't do itself any favours when it comes to doing and trying. The messiness of it sprawls through almost every track; that jarring bass drop after that amazing pre-chorus on Old Ways and the messy electric guitar riff on Cool For The Summer comes to mind easily.
I've seen many comparisons between Demi's albums with Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, and the comparisons and valid. While there is the provocative groove and dance vibe laced throughout this album, there are solid moments for when Demi is able to get time for her vocals to show-off. While others have faulted her singing in the past, there is no denying how much her voice has changed since the criticism started.
The deluxe edition has two additional tracks after Father, both of which I feel should have deserved to stay on the album. The tracks, Stars and Mr. Hughes, shares the pop-rock nature of the album and simply outshines some of the other songs like Kingdom Come and even Waitin For You and For You on the album itself.
The lyrical nature is very typical with some exceptions. Iggy Azalea's verse along with Sirah's on Kingdom Come and Waitin For You respectively deserve mentions considering the ineptitude of what they contribute to the tracks. It's shoddy, sloppy and adds nothing to the songs. While I do understand that producers want to invite more listeners, but there really isn't that the rappers can do to influence what the writers have already written. There are other tracks dealing with love, loss, regret and forgiveness. While there really isn't anything crazy to touch on, it's good to know that hopefully the list grows to be larger when the follow-up to Confident is released.
Confident is nothing short of compelling, pop-rock anthems along with gracefully embracing ballads that introduces a new touch from Demi. While the production doesn't necessarily match the star-studded status that the vocals attain, it's still relatively decent with some flaws on certain tracks. Overall the album is great and a must-listen for fans and pop lovers alike.
Essential: Stone Cold, Lionheart
Favourite Tracks: Confident, Old Ways (Deluxe: Stars, Mr. Hughes)
Least Favourite Tracks: Cool For the Summer, Wildfire
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.