Demi Lovato

Unbroken

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Breaking into a whirlwind schedule of filming Disney TV movies and touring the world with the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato checked into a treatment facility in the fall of 2010. Denying rumors of substance abuse, including allegations that she snorted cocaine “like a pro,” her management team confessed that Lovato was being treated for emotional issues that manifested themselves in bulimia and cutting, serious matters that can’t be swept under the rug, so Lovato attempts to clear the air via her post-treatment record, 2011’s Unbroken. Clearly, the title is intended to convey strength, while its lead single, “Skyscraper,” conveyed vulnerability, setting a precedent for Lovato specifically addressing her problems on “Fix a Heart,” where she runs out of Band-Aids to bind her wounds. All admirable attempts at honesty, yet these confessionals bear an uncomfortable resemblance to Lindsay Lohan’s autobiographical A Little More Personal (Raw), particularly when Lovato concludes the record with “For the Love of a Daughter,” its pained chorus echoing the sentiments of “Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father).” If Unbroken contained nothing but confessions it’d be an odd but possibly effective way to address her troubles. Instead, these stark ballads -- which Lovato doesn’t quite have the pipes to sing without straining -- are paired with a half-album's worth of songs that act like nothing is wrong in Demi’s world at all, that she can keep partying “All Night Long” and shaking her hips for her only shorty. Ryan Tedder attempts to push her onto the charts while Timbaland knocks off his own production of Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous,” the frivolity clashing with introspection, the presence of both undermining the substance of either. It’s hard to party knowing Lovato couldn’t quite handle the clubs, while it’s not easy to trust the melancholy flowing through the ballads knowing she’s ready to cut loose. One of these personas is an act, the question is which one.

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