The Critics Corner | Albums

Higher Truth Pop superstar steps out into the light and bares soul in solid new album
Olly Murs
Album name: Confident
Label:  Safehouse/Island/Hollywood
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Rating: -- 4.5 out of 5

Review written by: Jake Boshold
Nick Jonas, left behind her position as a judge/mentor on The X Factor, became the face of the Human Rights Campaign's America's for Marriage Equality, and published two books, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year and Staying Strong: A Journal. Lovato has also recently been opening up a lot about the subjects of body positivity, LGBT rights, and being more confident about herself recently, all of which show how far she’s come as a person throughout recent years, considering her past of depression, self-harm, bulimia, and drug addiction. All of these recent issues Lovato has been discussing lately are brought up within the lyrics of her fifth studio album, her most personal yet, appropriately titled Confident.

On Confident, we find Demi giving herself more creative freedom than ever before. Her overall style hasn’t changed much, but lyrically, she’s a lot more raw and explicit, Confident is Demi’s first album to contain explicit lyrics. Musically, there’s little new about Confident, the production and melodies are a very similar style to her last album, minus a few key songs, but lyrically, on a few songs on the album, Demi’s reaching out on subjects she’s never sung about before.

An example of a change in pace of subject matter for Demi on Confident would be the album’s first single, “Cool For The Summer”, which has to do with a bi-curious sexual fling with another female, sung over a combination of Pop-Rock and Electronic instrumentals. Lovato has never been known for seductive lyrics, so “Cool For The Summer” was quite the twist in her song catalogue. The album’s title track, “Confident”, is pretty much Demi proving her critics wrong about her, it’s Demi saying that she’s holding nothing back this time, in the past she was ashamed of everything about herself, but now she’s proud of how she looks, so she’s showing more of her body, which some of her critics say is too revealing, but she sees her new image as a symbol of self-confidence rather than the image of a trashy Pop star. She’s breaking free of her past insecurities, destructive habits and has become a new person. The song is an upbeat positivity anthem sung over energetic drumbeats and brass instrumentals.

Demi further discusses the transformation of her self-esteem on the track “Old Ways”, where Demi explains how she refuses to go back to who she was before, she’s through playing with knives, she’s happy where she is and she’s not looking back. In the past, Demi has collaborated with female rapper Missy Elliot, but on Confident, she has two female rappers on tracks. The first being Iggy Azalea on “Kingdom Come”, who honestly, is just there for show. Iggy didn’t really make or break the song, she’s just there. The song itself, is a love balled over 808 drums, electric keyboards notes, and synthesizers, about both Demi’s love for her current boyfriend, Wilder Valderrama and Iggy’s fiancé, Nick Young. The other song on the album to feature a female rapper, is “Waitin’ For You”, featuring Sirah, who is mainly known for her frequent collaborations with Electronic musician Skrillex and is about waiting for the right lover to arrive.

Confident also features a few soulful songs, such as “Father”, which has to do with Demi dealing with the recent passing of her father, whom she rarely ever contacted since his divorce with her mother. Her father died of cancer back in 2013 and Demi also discovered that he suffered from a mental illness, which she found relatable due to her past mental breakdowns alongside being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. The song is sung in a Gospel/Soul-like style over a piano instrumental. Another powerful Soul-like track on Confident would be “Lionheart”, which is a powerful love ballad about two lovers facing the world together and empowering each other, the song also has quite a few metaphorical lyrics, along with poetic similes having to do with strength, empowerment, and overcoming challenges.

Confident is the beginning of a new chapter in Demi’s career. Demi has stepped out of the darkness and into the light, she is finally comfortable with herself and not afraid to be herself to her full potential. She has yet to come out with a truly unique project with a sound of it’s own, but not a lot of Pop stars have done that either, but if Demi continues to experiment with sounds and subjects outside of what she has done in the past, the possibilities are endless. Highlight tracks include “Confident”, “Lionheart”, “Father” and “For You.”
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