Demi Lovato Is Single, Soulful and Ready For the Kill on ‘Tell Me You Love Me’: Review

It’s been a long two years since Demi Lovato last strutted onto the charts and into our hearts.

Those with memories of her longstanding rivalry with fellow Disney expat Miley Cyrus may remember that their contest was, in its original iteration, about the charts. Early in the 2010s, both made large, opulent guest-packed grabs at world domination: the Timbaland-featuring Unbroken in 2011 and the Mike WiLL Made-It-produced Bangerz in 2013. Miley’s powerhouse anthems, more in tune with trap’s eventual takeover of pop radio, made the numerically bigger impact, but both artists made a point of disavowing their efforts as products of some less authentic versions of their selves.

“I got sick of the songs,” Demi said of the biggest charting hits of her career only two years later. “When I would play them onstage, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t play these anymore.” (Miley would do the same, albeit only earlier this year, notoriously disavowing her hits as flirtations with hip hop culture that didn’t represent the self she now identifies with.)

But this has been Demi’s project from the very start: “Don’t Forget,” the glittering power-pop meets Smashing Pumpkins blast from her debut of the same name drew a line in the sand between the kind of singer she wanted to be and the peppy Camp Rock personality she desperately wanted to leave behind. It was this determination hiding behind the cameras that had many labeling her “the least musically predictable of her Disney class,” capable of pulling off delicious summer bangers right alongside tearjerkers confronting issues like self harm and anorexia.

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