By Giulio Riso
Published: October 4th, 2017
It was a great week for music lovers. Miley Cyrus came full-circle and released her sixth studio album, “Younger Now”; Tamar Braxton, the youngest of the Braxton sisters, released her third and “final” album, “Bluebird of Happiness,” and after 15 years, Shania Twain is also back with her album “Now.”
Yet, amongst all these new releases, critics all over have agreed that the standout album released last Friday is that of pop vocal-powerhouse, Demi Lovato. “Tell Me You Love Me” is Lovato’s sixth solo release and is what many are calling her best album to date. The album finds her completely involved with production and songwriting, having written and co-produced nine out of the 12 tracks on the album. However, we can’t go without mentioning the fact that this album almost never happened. That’s right, last year Lovato stated that she was going to take a break from music and possibly retire from the scene completely after receiving heavy backlash for expressing her opinions on matters surrounding Taylor Swift and her “squad.”
Luckily, however, following her Grammy nomination for 2015’s “Confident,” Lovato was inspired and returned to the studio to create some more magic. Inspired by Christina Aguilera’s 2002 coming of age album “Stripped,” “Tell Me You Love Me” is a collection of R&B/Pop gems that find Lovato exploring her sound and voice more deeply than ever before.
The album opens with her summer smash hit “Sorry Not Sorry,” which sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Tell Me You Love Me” focuses on her voice more than anything else. Each song of the album showcases Lovato’s unearthly range and vocal maturation, sometimes better than others. Songs like title track “Tell Me You Love Me” and the show stopping “Cry Baby” are perfect examples of how much Lovato has grown, both as an entertainer and as a vocalist. Other songs like “Concentrate” and “Daddy Issues” are a tad more risqué than we’re used to hearing from Lovato, so they might take a few listens before we learn to appreciate them.
Since Lovato promised this album would focus on her, there is only one feature: the Lil Wayne assisted “Lonely.” The DJ-Mustard-produced track is a sexy R&B rendition about a failed relationship. The song itself is a slow-burner, and the excessive use of the f-bomb might throw some off. There has been much buzz around two particular tracks,– “Ruin the Friendship” and “Only Forever,” which are rumored to be about the same person (we’re looking at you, Nick Jonas). The first, a sexy jazzy number finds Lovato’s voice stripped back, the vibe of the song transporting fans to another world, while the latter is a mid tempo ballad that is sadly shorter than it should be. Overall, “Tell Me You Love Me” will divide critics and fans. Vocally, it is most certainly her best album yet, but some people might be thrown off by the brute honesty of the lyrics.