Album Reviews

Demi Lovato – Holy Fvck

(Island) UK release date: 19 August 2022

Her eighth album is a rebirth that rejects everything – good and bad – that has gone before and embraces a new way forward

Demi Lovato - Holy Fvck “Came from the trauma, stayed for the drama,” sings Demi Lovato on Freak, the ferocious opening track to her eighth album Holy Fvck. It’s a line that perfectly sums up an incendiary breakthrough from an artist who has been through a lot, came through the other side and knows exactly who she is and exactly the music she wants to make. Chaotic, energised and thrilling, this is Demi Lovato at her very best.

The record is a headlong fevered rush that careens through its 42 minute running order. At times it’s bludgeoning like a sledgehammer, as on the heavy and overwhelming …Wasted, and frequently it’s like a buzzsaw, as on the hook filled turbo banger Substance. This is very much an album that represents all the elements of Lovato’s artistry. There are no concessions made.

It certainly chimes with the times with its heavier pop punk vibes in the vein of Avril Lavigne, Machine Gun Kelly, Olivia Rodrigo and Yungblud (who features on the opening track) but you don’t get the feeling it’s confected in any way. It’s a world away from the pop R&B in which she first came to prominence, but it feels fresh and exciting. This is exactly who Lovato is.

There’s something supremely satisfying about the supercharged rock sounds that propel songs like City Of Angels. In terms of sheer thrills this album delivers in a way that Lovato has never done before. However, to just see it as an album of rock bangers is to miss the nuance and complexity in Lovato’s writing. There’s a lot packed into these songs.

There are themes about finding yourself, about finding new love and new desire and rejecting all the trauma of the past and living with it and owning it. Imagery is used a lot, from the provocative album cover featuring the cross to imagery that meshes both darkness and light together. On Heaven, Lovato deploys the specific contrast between Heaven and Hell that represents the battle at the core of the album: “Going to Hell, ‘cos it feels like Heaven.”

Sometimes in pop you get that undeniable feeling of an artist making a real breakthrough and capturing a moment, ready to skyrocket to a new level. It feels odd saying that about an artist like Lovato who first found fame back in 2008, but Holy Fvck feels like a rebirth. A rejection of everything good and bad that has gone before and an embracing of a new way forward, with a new sound and a new creative spirit. A triumph.

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More on Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato – Holy Fvck
Demi Lovato – Dancing With The Devil… The Art of Starting Over
Demi Lovato – Unbroken