Deep Cuts By The Dozen: Demi Lovato

 Deep Cuts By The Dozen: Demi Lovato

She’s singing for the new President this week, so it feels like a good time to make Demi Lovato the next subject of these Deep Cuts By The Dozen things; in which I look back at an artist’s 12 greatest non-singles.

These are just my personal faves, obviously, so let me know of any others that you think should be here, or any inclusions that you violently disagree with – Electric Angels remains on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Daddy Issues

So much of the brilliant, career re-defining Tell Me You Love Me album could easily be on this list, but my highlight is this dramatic, synthy song about going from 0-100 for someone who’s probably not that bothered. The stop-start bits in the chorus are a fantastic example of musical edging, and the payoff is awesome. “Daddy! Issues! Oh-oh!”


Without The Love

2013’s Demi album was so exciting because it was just absolutely stuffed with H-I-T-S: the vast majority of its songs could’ve been singles, not least this stunning midtempo track built around the killer line: “what good is a love song without the love?”. The lyrics are smart, the combination of piano and strings and backing “ooohs” is just gorgeous, and for me it’s the centrepiece of a really strong album.


U Got Nothin’ On Me

Demi’s early fling with pop-rock was at its strongest on second album Here We Go Again; which perfectly leapt aboard the sugary, guitary sound aced by Avril Lavigne, Hilary Duff, Kelly Clarkson and even Miley Cyrus in the years prior. This stadium-sized kiss-off in particular is a smash; Demi’s impressive vocals soaring over hands-aloft, lighters-in-the-air production.


Fix A Heart

Skyscraper was obviously the big ballad that anchored the Unbroken era, but there was another fan-fave downtempo moment on there too: Fix A Heart is a fragile, less-is-more affair; with lyrics about some emotional wounds being much harder to heal than physical ones. Given the discussions Demi was openly having at the time around her history with self-harm, the whole thing had particularly affecting resonance.


Trainwreck

It’s nearly 13 whole years since first album Don’t Forget was quietly released (it peaked at No192 in the UK), and sure, loads of it is pretty standard Disney-Channel-star-tries-the-music-thing fare, but Demi’s vocal is what really makes its standout moments shine; not least this jaunty little number about falling for someone who’s a bit of an endearing mess.


Aftershock

It’s not on Spotify, this; but as a Give Your Heart A Break b-side, it’s just a really fun, barnstorming dance-pop banger with some truly daft lyrics (“Body so hot, feel like they taze me” – sure!). Would I hold it in such high regard if it weren’t such a hard-to-find rarity? We’ll never know.


For You

I nearly put in Lionhearts in as a standout moment from the generally uneven Confident album, but there’s something about just how LOUD For You is that gives it the edge. OTT lines (“[I’d] nail my heart to the ceiling”) and epic instrumentation run rampant throughout, but after the tantalising “for… you… I’d… do… anything…” middle-8 explodes into the final chorus, all bets are off, and eardrums are at serious risk of permanent damage. Demi’s scaling the octaves, the backing vocals are nuclear, the beats are enormous… and by the end we’re exhausted but thooooooroughly exhilarated.


Something That We’re Not

Playful, effervescent, typical of the straightforward pop musique of the time (it wouldn’t sound odd on an early One Direction album, you know)… Something That We’re Not is just a really fun little track, and you don’t need to be told that master of the genre Savan Kotecha had a hand in the writing.


Hold Up

A hostage situation as the basis of a pop banger? Just call it the Carolyn Bigsby anthem! Hold Up was a big swing for Demi at the time; the Unbroken era as a whole being her first decisive step away from the pop-rock that had anchored her earlier work (actually it was hard deciding whether to put this or the similarly electric title track on this list). It’s very turn-of-the-decade in its almost JLS-esque production, and I still adore it now. What a chorus!!! What a middle-8!!!!


Catch Me

One of few songs in Demi’s repertoire to be written by her and her alone, this is a real God-tier fan favourite – it has 24 million streams on Spotify; pretty hefty for a pre-streaming-era song that was never a single. Obviously I wasted no time in being extra and In My Feelings with it when I was loosely seeing someone at the time 😳


Behind Enemy Lines

This song isn’t on streaming in any capacity, but it’s weirdly the live version from an iTunes-only EP that has a dear place in my heart. It’s an early indicator of just how good Demi is vocally; belting out this short and punchy little ditty with total ease. The end of the second chorus in particular? Divine!!!!


Sexy Dirty Love

It’s a shame that Tell Me You Love Me didn’t get more singles, because this would’ve sounded GREAT on the radio. Lyrically, it might tread a well-worn path in terms of being about having the hots for someone fit, but hey – it’s a great path! And Demi’s confident, slick delivery makes it an instant fave. I’m seeing a video with a hall of mirrors and classy lighting.


Honourable mentions: Unbroken, Mistake, Nightingale, In Case, Lionheart, The Middle, Solo, Every Time You Lie, Only Forever, In The Mirror, Lightweight

Shaun Kitchener

http://www.shaunkitchener.com

Scriptwriter for the theatre and TV (currently Hollyoaks) and freelance entertainment ~reportage.