Olivia Pinilis || Contributing Writer

Since 2008 when Demi Lovato became a household name following their role in Disney’s Camp Rock, I have been beyond inspired by her willingness to share her story. This honesty with the world started early on, when she first entered rehab in 2010. After sharing all about her struggle with addiction and other mental illnesses, she became well known for her inclination to be candid with the world. This continued into her near-fatal drug overdose in 2018, just a couple months after they released the painfully sad song “Sober” admitting to a relapse in drug use after six years of sobriety.

It took a little over two years for Lovato to return to music and the stage. This day came in January 2020, when she performed her new song “Anyone” live at the Grammys for the first time. This song was, as usual, beautiful yet heartbreaking. “I tried and tried and tried some more / told secrets till my voice was sore,” Lovato sang, with emotion that could be heard through everyone’s TV screen. Yet again, she showed her true self to the world, as difficult as that may have been. This is seen throughout her comeback album which was released in April of 2021, Dancing with the Devil…The Art of Starting Over. This album is crafted with such intention that it is split into two sections. The first half tells the story of Lovato’s experience with her relapse and the struggles she had to face after that tragic day. They tell a deeply personal story with tracks such as “ICU”, an impressive play-on-words expressing her thoughts during a time in the intensive care unit while also explaining her connection to her sister. “Dancing With The Devil” recounts the emotionally heavy story of dealing with addiction, with powerful lines such as, “Almost made it to heaven / I was closer than you know.”

The second section of the album takes a turn with the song “The Art of Starting Over.” She explains the importance of new beginnings and that even with this pain of their past she is able to start fresh. This turns into an inspiring song of rebirth in the aftermath of some of her life’s hardest challenges. Lovato is honest and charming with songs that talk about her fluid sexuality and gender identity, as well as an upbeat song surrounding her overcoming her eating disorder. Even with songs that appear to be less emotional than the first half of the album, Lovato successfully continues to share their life experience through her amazing lyrics and powerful vocals. I loved the strength shown by Lovato when singing tracks which fans suspect are about her ex-fiance Max Enrich. One of these being “15 Minutes” which explains that she won’t feel guilty for breaking something off with someone who was just looking for fame. Lovato ends the album with the sweet song “Good Place,” ensuring for her fans that even after these testing couple of years, she is doing okay now. A calm song with a beautiful melody was the perfect way to wrap up this complex album that is bursting with emotion.

Since 2021, Lovato has come out with their 8th studio album, HOLY FVCK. This has a completely separate vibe from Dancing with the Devil…The Art of Starting Over, and most of her previous albums as well. Here, Lovato continues to be her most authentic self, leaning into the more punk-rock side of her music. She explains to fans that this is always the music they have wanted to put out, but was worried about the reaction from the world. Although this music may not be what every fan wanted to see from Lovato, it is full of honesty, and you can see that she is finally settling into the type of music she truly wants to sing. As a longtime Demi fan, this album shocked me a bit, but I still learned to love every song. Now I sing “CITY OF ANGELS” and “HAPPY ENDING” everyday in the car, and I am thrilled Demi is succeeding in the way that she wants. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with in the future.

Olivia Pinilis is a Contributing Writer for The College Reporter. Her email is opinilis@fandm.edu.