Breakups are a bitch. Demi Lovato knows this, so she’s done us a solid and put all those maddening, complicated feelings into her brand new album, Tell Me You Love Me.
The 12-song set largely chronicles Demi’s losses and victories in the game of love, from the fuckboy tell-off “Games” to the revenge anthem “Sorry Not Sorry.” And, when applied to an all-too-fresh breakup, the album basically serves as a bible to newfound singledom. In that spirit, let’s take a look at the seven stages of a split, as told by Tell Me You Love Me.
Shock - “Lonely”
The first and most brutal stage is the one where you’re desperate for answers and determined to understand what happened, at any cost. On “Lonely,” Demi believes her heartbreak is wildly unjust, belting, “All you do is leave me fucking lonely / Knees on the concrete, cut up and bleeding / For no goddamn reason.” She continues mourning her lost love by poetically admitting, “The smoky sun, our fatal run / It ended too soon.” Lil Wayne, meanwhile, puts it a little more succinctly: “Gave your ass directions to my heart, and your ass busted left.”
Denial - “Tell Me You Love Me”
Demi’s not going down without a fight, especially when she needs a relationship — this relationship — to feel happy. “I don’t know who I am without you,” she pleads, adding, “I don’t know what I’m living for / If I’m living without you.”
Misery - “You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore”
Here, over a super subdued beat, Demi’s the one initiating the breakup, but that doesn’t make it any less hurtful. The melismatic way in which she sings “you don’t do it for me anymore” is equal parts determined and devastating — it just sounds like heartbreak.
Bargaining - “Only Forever”
Here’s where things get tricky. Basically, you’re in this super low, post-breakup rut, and you decide that the only way to make the pain go away is to win your ex back. Demi channels that message on “Only Forever,” when she sings, “What if I meet somebody else who doesn’t leave me on the shelf? / I’ll give you one more chance.” Hate to say it, but even if that last-ditch attempt works, it’s rarely sustainable. That leads us to...
Anger - “Cry Baby”
Demi is a strong-ass woman, so she’d understandably get furious when a guy challenges her toughness. On “Cry Baby,” she belts, “Congratulations, celebration / Cause my heart is the hardest to break / Break up to makeup / Just to wake up with mascara all over my face / And I'm no cry baby, but you make me cry lately.” She’s MAD, but she’s not rolling over anytime soon. In fact, she’s about to get her game face on.
Affirmation - “Sorry Not Sorry”
It’s happening: Demi’s shaking off her breakup, realizing she’s better on her own, and simply slaying solo. Cue “Sorry Not Sorry,” a monster of a flex anthem where Demi boasts that she’s “out here looking like revenge,” and no, she won’t apologize for it.
Restart - “Hitchhiker”
Finally! Demi can see clearly now, the rain is gone, and she’s ready to move the hell on. Rebounding is all about seeing hope in someone else, and Demi finds that on the album’s final song, “Hitchhiker.” “I was walking down this broken road / I was stranded, I was all alone / Always played it safe when it came to love / Until you came and picked me up,” she sings to her lucky new flame, before she presumably drives off into the sunset with him... and hopefully never has to repeat these steps ever again.