Videos by American Songwriter
3.5 out of 5
It can’t be denied that Demi Lovato has a healthy host of hits under her belt. For years, she has been a fairly consistent hitmaker, churning out anthems left and right. Lovato decided to revisit some of her biggest hits in her latest release, REVAMPED. Unfortunately, even with little updates here and there, the release falls a little flat.
Hearing the words “Demi Lovato” and “rock album” leads to excitement at the possibilities. Lovato’s powerful vocals are begging for a rock flare. Her 2022 album, HOLY FVCK, did a lot to help establish her voice in that space. There is even a rockstar element to her straight-pop records. I envisioned a star turn for Lovato on REVAMPED where she would finally lean hard into the lane she has been threatening to fall into for years. Instead, it feels like Lovato did very little “Revamping” to her past hits, added a guitar line over the original production, and shared it with the world.
That’s not to say there isn’t a few shining moments throughout. Lovato’s vocals are as strong as ever. She adds a few intricate runs here and there and changes a few lines to make the songs more unabashed in their language.
The undisputed standout is “Skyscraper.” The inspiring track feels all the more so with Lovato’s matured vocals wailing over the hard-edge musicality. The 2011 track benefits from a production switch-up. The same goes for “Don’t Forget.” The new drop during the final chorus scratches an itch that has been there since 2008. It finally hits as hard as it needs to match the emotional core of the stunning ballad.
The same can’t be said for many of the other songs. “La La Land” is already rock-tinged. While the direction of the song is changed, it’s a lateral move. That is a qualm felt throughout the entire record. She wears ’00s punk rock inspirations on her sleeve, adding in Travis Barker-esque drums and staccato guitar lines that would be welcome at the Warped Tour. The remixes are not without merit, but they beg the question, “Did we need these new versions?”
Lovato seems to have had an impactful few years. She captures some of that journey in HOLY FVCK–particularly with the powerful “29.” She has announced that a new album “is in the works” and ceded that this album was more of a passion project inspired by the new rock direction in her live shows. However, it might have been more fruitful to hold out for a new project that furthers her story as an artist.
While REVAMPED is enticing enough as a filler project, it doesn’t hold up as a major release. Perhaps that wasn’t the point, but apart from a few powerful moments and some buzzy names, the album is a little lackluster.
That being said, Lovato seems to be coming into her own as a rock artist and her future in the genre looks bright. She already has the likes of Slash in her corner. With that in mind, we can hold out hope for her impending original release.
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV