Instead of going too edgy or staying a Disney princess, Demi Lovato’s Unbroken, which drops Tuesday, is a perfectly mature album without scaring away the teens that grew up loving the “Camp Rock” star.
Thanks to touches of Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé, Lovato will certainly win over a whole new fanbase. The album touts production and songwriting credits from A-listers like Timbaland, Ryan Tedder and Toby Gad, and while Demi got some assistance from artists like Missy Elliott, Iyaz, Dev and Jason Derülo, she’s the true star on the album.
Her big voice and sassy-yet-vulnerable attitude play up the album’s flirty tracks and moving ballads. The Missy and Timbaland collabo “All Night Long” puts Demi’s signature big voice over a pumping beat, Tim’s signature beatbox vocals and Missy’s always on-point rhymes.
The banger serves as the perfect setup up for “Who’s That Boy,” an equally party-friendly track that opens with a swirling, pumping beat. Lovato sings, “I’ve been staring at ya/ And I could do it all night/ You’re looking like an angel/ With the kind of body that needs a spotlight.”
The title track is an empowering disco song about being saved by love. “Give Your Heart a Break” and “Hold Up” are fun, smart dance songs about cute boys. “Give Your Heart a Break” features strings playing behind Lovato’s voice as she sings, “The day I first met you/ You told me you never fall in love/ But now that I get you/ I know fear is what it really was.”
Given Demi’s personal life over the past 12 months, the ballads could have easily been heavy-handed; instead, they are specific to her yet relatable. Also, they show Demi’s growth as an artist — lyrically and personally. On the sweeping doo-wop-inspired “Lightweight,” Demi sings about the struggle one feels when she is both inexperienced in love but also falling hard for someone.
“Fix a Heart,” another standout slow jam, is a piano-driven ballad on which Demi belts lines like “You must be a miracle worker/ Swearing up and down you can fix what’s broken/ Please don’t get my hopes up, baby/ How can you be so cruel?/ It’s like you’re pouring salt on my cuts.”
The album closes out with a remix of lead single “Skyscraper,” a perfect close to an album that balances feel-good party jams with deeply personal tracks about struggling with identity and love.