Thursday, February 28, 2013

Demi Lovato has recorded a great single, and there's nothing wrong with that

Former Disney starlette Demi Lovato (rhymes with tomato) has never really troubled my ears before. She's had a couple of low-charting singles in the UK, but nothing you'd ever get truly excited about. Basically, she's the brunette Miley Cyrus.

Until now, that is. Following a career-making stint on US X Factor (where she proved a feisty foil to Simon Cowell, calling him "annoying and old") she's been back in the studio making a concerted effort to make a global hit record.

If that sounds calculated, it's because it is. Her new single Heart Attack is incredible, but cynical - built from all the best bits of the best pop songs of the last five years. It's got the whip-snap production of a Katy Perry single, the electro-acoustic strum of Taylor Swift's pop reinvention, the dumbstruck love lyrics of a Bruno Mars ballad, and an anthemic chorus straight out of Fun's big hook book.

The production, we're told, comes from Grammy nominated powerhouse "The Suspex" but a bit of poking around on the internet reveals that one half of the the duo is actually Lovato's old songwriter from the film Band Camp, who also worked on Hannah Montana and a bunch of other Disney projects.

All pedantry aside, Heart Attack is a great song. And what really sells it is Lovato's powerhouse voice - reminiscent of Christina Aguilera before she lost all sense of nuance and just started screeching like a hormonal cat. Carefully-accented and bursting with personality, she sounds sad in the sad bits and strong in the strong bits. It's an invigorating listen.

But be warned: you won't escape this song until 2015.

Demi Lovato - Heart Attack

PS: The song's message - "I'm scared of falling in love right now, so I'm putting my defences up" - seems to be pulled directly from Lovato's own life. In an interview with Elle earlier this year, she said: "It is very unhealthy when girls devote all of their time to a guy and forget their friends and family. I did that. I was always looking for distractions because I was so afraid of being alone. I have spent the last year focusing on myself and it's been incredible. More has come out of the past year than in my entire career so far, and I truly believe it was because I was taking care of myself and not focusing on guys."

Meeting Simon Cowell can't have hurt, either.

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