Look, let’s be objective here: Demi Lovato is a fucking good popstar. Sure she may not have the hits that others boast of, but she’s got enough of a solid back catalogue, she uses her platform for good, and boy can this girl sang.
The downside, as always? By the Christ does she need to learn how to control it all. Tell Me You Love Me feels like a statement being shouted at us as Demi does what comes naturally, which at this stage seems to be belting it out and hoping for the best. It’s a shame as she’s coming fresh off a peppy Jax Jones smash this summer, but there’s no subtlety or restrain in an album that’d be all the better for some.
It is, in a word, exhausting. And it may be the reason that Demi isn’t mentioned in the same breath as her peers; truth be told people are probably trying to catch their own by proxy after all absorbing those top-of-the-lung notes that trot out on either side of this record. Daddy Issues crashes with the grace of a sledgehammer, Cry Baby feels like the sort of ballad people stopped making in the early 00s, and Games just sort of sits like a lump in the league of Pop Album Filler 101.
Demi Lovato is better than the material she’s given here, so thank fuck for the mid-section of this album. Sexy Dirty Love could be a smash if it pared things down a tiny bit, but it’s certainly strong on melody; it’s also a relief to hear her hit a slow-jam sweet-spot three times over with Lonely, Only Forever and Ruin The Friendship (stay tuned for a well-judged brass addition on that last one). When Demi owns these intimate moments she shines, and Tell Me You Love Me certainly works better when it’s uttered as a whisper rather than a demand.