Personnel: Demi Lovato (vocals); Mike Manning (guitar); Mike Reid (drums).
Audio Mixer: Serban Ghenea.
Recording information: The Honda Center, Anaheim, CA (02/13/2014).
Photographer: Rankin .
Her return from darkness out of the way, Demi Lovato returns to the serious business of stardom on Demi, her fourth album and the first positioned as the work of a true adult. Maturity is a bit of a tricky business on Demi, as it finds her copping modern trends without quite shaking off the studio system that fostered her. The latter is problematic, resulting in half-baked exercises in pageantry -- such as the "Skyscraper" rewrite "Nightingale" -- and the occasional cultural dissonance, like when she tells a suitor "you try to take me home like you're DiMaggio," a name not heard in a pop song for almost 25 years. Unfortunately, a lot of these stumbles arrive early in the record, but the back half of Demi shifts into a place where the studio professionalism and blatant cash-ins click. She brings in Cher Lloyd, from the seventh season of the British X-Factor, to rap on the brightly brickwalled kiss-off "Really Don't Care," she skips through the wildly appealing "Something That We're Not" -- quite easily the purest and best piece of pop here -- and deliriously rips off Katy Perry's "Firework" on "Fire Starter," which is shameless in its appropriating the prior hit's construction and progression but not its attitude. This second half is strong enough to make some of the earlier, tentative moments seem a bit better -- this is particularly true of "Made in the USA," which cops Miley's "Party in the USA," but it's not quite so fetching an exploitation as "Fire Starter" -- but ultimately, this isn't an album of purpose, it's a collection of moments, and it has just enough good ones to solidify Demi Lovato's comeback. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone (p.84) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he choruses boom; the production has a high-gloss sheen....Lovato is good company, and her voice has gutsiness and character."
Billboard (p.39) - "[S]he croons about love on the boisterous single 'Heart Attack,' heartfelt ballad 'Nightingale' and lovely closer 'Warrior.'"