Demi Lovato has been on an upwards trajectory since finding her feet with her music in 2011 with her third studio album Unbroken. Moving away from the over-produced pop/rock of her first two albums, Lovato started to embrace her pop side and explore both her sound and her vocal ability. 2015’s Confident was her boldest record to date spawning the huge hit Cool For the Summer and the spine-tingling ballad Stone Cold. Almost two years on from Confident, Lovato has unleashed her sixth studio album Tell Me You Love Me.
Preceded by the smash hit single Sorry Not Sorry, Tell Me You Love Me promises to be Lovato’s most mature and impressive collection of songs yet. With co-writing credits on the majority of the record, Lovato appears to have really found her groove with Tell Me You Love Me. The vibe for the album is a mixture of R&B and pop with soul and an injection of the 80s. The songs take inspiration from the strongest moments on Confident and continue to evolve Lovato’s sound in the right way.
The feisty Sorry Not Sorry opens the album and for once, the lead single from a Demi Lovato album isn’t the best song on the record. The consistency on Tell Me You Love Me is welcome and this album is easily Lovato’s most cohesive to date. The atmospheric title track showcases Lovato’s prowess as a vocalist with an almost gospel-like chorus that catches you off guard. Buzz single You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore displays a different side to Lovato’s vocal abilities allowing her to use her lower register and vibrato without overdoing her belting. She performs some impressive runs and soars into falsetto on the goose-pimple inducing chorus.
The more experimental moments on the record are some of the best. Daddy Issues is unlike anything we’ve heard from Lovato before and the first 30 seconds features hardly any instrumentation until the jerky electro-pop chorus kicks in. Lovato had a well-documented difficult relationship with her late father and it’s not the first time she’s written about him in a song. Another highlight is the hushed sexiness of Ruin the Friendship where Lovato appeals to a friend to hop into the sack, even though it will probably irreversibly change their relationship.
Elsewhere on the record Lovato gets dramatic on the soulful Cry Baby, throws back to 90s R&B on the gently pulsating Games, and teams up with Lil’ Wayne on the understated hip-hop feel of Lonely. On the peppy Sexy Dirty Love Lovato embraces the 80s for a joyous guilty pleasure of a track.
Tell Me You Love Me is without a doubt Lovato’s best body of work to date. Confident was a stellar record but Tell Me You Love Me takes things up a notch. Lovato uses her voice in a variety of ways that fans haven’t heard before and pulling back on her powerful belt definitely allows the songs to breathe a little more. This album is the sound of an artist that is comfortable and confident with her music, and her abilities, and it’s a superb pop record.
Track listing: 1. Sorry Not Sorry 2. Tell Me You Love Me 3. Sexy Dirty Love 4. You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore 5. Daddy Issues 6. Ruin the Friendship 7. Only Forever 8. Lonely (feat Lil’ Wayne) 9. Cry Baby 10. Games 11. Concentrate 12 Hitchhiker Record label: Island Records Release date: 29th September 2017