Likes: All Night Long, For the Love of a Daughter, My Love is Like a Star, Together, Skyscraper
Dislikes: Who’s That Boy, You’re My Only Shorty
Overall: Vocally strong. Not a superior record, but acceptable. Not as emotive as expected.
Considering Demi Lovato’s past work and her now known struggles with self-mutilation and eating disorders, her latest release “Unbroken” was anticipated to be a deeply emotional pop-rock album, expounding on the inspirational “Skyscraper.” Instead it’s a dance-sprinkled, pop-R&B tinged record mostly about love. If the album is a disappointment, it’s because it doesn’t live up to its expectations. Perhaps the scarcity in weighty, personal odes is due to the fact that, for whatever reason, Lovato only wrote 5 tracks as opposed to majority of the album (like she usually does). The change in writing contribution definitely shows in some parts of the album (hear the album sampler below).
Experimenting with another genre can run smoothly if it’s done carefully and your personality always shines through the material. With Lovato’s fairly soulful voice and styling, her first effort at pop-R&B would’ve been seamless if some of the songs were better fitted around her. The designed-to-be-commercial, inartistic pop-slush that is “Who’s That Boy” and “You’re My Only Shorty”, for example, are beneath Lovato’s ability and are more well suited for Kesha or a Disney newcomer who isn’t musically inclined. The harder edged “All Night Long” “In Real Life” and “Give Your Heart a Break” are much better attempts and the teen gets her “Best Thing I Never Had” (Beyonce`) on with “Mistake.” Lovato feeds into what was expected for “Unbroken” with the well-written “Fix a Heart,” “Lightweight” and “For the Love a Daughter.” The strongest tracks (“Skyscraper” and “My Love is Like a Star”) were co-written and produced by Toby Gad. I think he should definitely be called for the next album.
Quality lyrics and production are what usually make for a great record, but the shining star of “Unbroken” is Demi’s vocals, passionate and audibly stronger than ever. Her vocals are so improved and impressive, that they save some of the tracks from being dismissed. Independent of what was projected, “Unbroken” it’s an artist’s gutsy endeavor with a different genre and a showcasing of vocal growth. The piece may not be flawless, but it’s acceptable.