In recent days, Demi Lovato’s stirring new single “Skyscraper” has seemingly taken the world by storm (or at least the Internet). And, in what can only be described as “an incredibly refreshing change of pace,” the reason for its sudden surge in popularity has nothing to do with irony, our nascent sense of superiority or kittens (see: every popular YouTube clip in recent history, Rebecca Black’s “Friday”) and everything to do with the simple fact that she sings the hell out of it.
But, in saying that, I’m probably downplaying several other reasons for the song’s ability to cut through the din. Like, for example, everything that’s happened in Lovato’s life leading up to this point or how, because of that, she connects with the song in ways that most didn’t think possible. She reveals new depths with each note, and when she hits that last chorus, and her voice is pushed to the point of breaking, well, if you don’t get goose bumps, then there’s a pretty good chance you’re not alive.
In short, with one song, Demi Lovato has grown up before our very eyes. It’s sort of like we’ve all been handed this shiny new talent, seemingly out of the blue, and we don’t quite know how to react. So it’s fitting that such a career-making single now comes with an appropriately powerful music video, one that is bereft of any and all gimmickry (no elaborate costumes, epic set pieces or dazzling special effects) yet still manages to pack an emotional wallop.
Directed by Mark Pellington (a man who knows a thing or two about making iconic clips), “Skyscraper” is nothing more than Lovato belting out the tune on the barren terrain of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Sure, there’s some dramatically billowing fabrics and some shattered glass, but really, the song is the star. And that simplicity is perfect here, because the song provides all the pyrotechnics necessary.
There is also a moment, right before that knee-buckling final chorus, where Lovato looks directly into the camera and very nearly breaks into tears. I’m not sure if she’s acting or not, but I doubt it, and really, it’s not like it matters. Not when a singer connects to a song on such a visceral level, especially one who’s already been through the wringer. With “Skyscraper,” Lovato has not only proven that she’s capable of remarkable things, but that she’s a survivor too. And, really, there’s nothing more that needs to be said. Not when the song does all the talking for you.
What did you think of the “Skyscraper” video? Share your reviews in the comments.