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Demi Lovato - Holy Fvck (Album Review)

Wednesday, 24 August 2022 Written by Laura Johnson

Photo: Brandon Bowen

“I know the girl that you adored, she's dead,” Demi Lovato sings on Eat Me. “It's time to fucking mourn.” The fourth track on her new album ‘Holy Fvck’ is a clear statement of intent from the former X Factor USA judge, who made it clear in the run-up to its release that it’s a return to her “rock roots.”

Reflecting the Warped Tour and ‘scene’ music that caught her attention as a teen, offering a gateway into hardcore and metal bands, Lovato delivers on her promise during the first two thirds of the album, offering up pop-punk pacing with metal riffs, pop sensibilities, and the kind of crude and uncomfortable lyrical imagery that’s synonymous with the genres.

“Don't wanna end up in a casket, head full of maggots,” she belts on Substance, while on 29 she delivers the poignant line, “Just five years a bleeder”, in reference to herself as a teenager.

The former finds her striving for something beyond the superficial, but the latter is a no holds barred dissection of a previous relationship that, upon reflection, was not the “teenage dream” she believed it to be. 

But though she is making strides personally, Lovato is not breaking new ground musically. She repeatedly falls into the trap of aping her influences too closely, and there’s more than one track here that recalls another. Dead Friends brings to mind the similarly-titled Against Me! song Dead Friend, from their 2014 album ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’, sharing the same sentiment and main chorus line. 

Equally, Heaven is indebted to Marilyn Manson’s The Beautiful People, swapping out anti-capitalist commentary for a thinly veiled track about masturbation, while poking fun at the religious rules that forbid it: “Going to hell 'cause it feels like heaven, if pleasure's wrong, cast me out like a sinner, I found myself with my two little fingers.”

The record, in fact, is littered with religious references: the cover sees the singer bound on a cross-shaped bed, while the powerhouse vocalist’s Christian upbringing is framed by the struggle to reconcile it with her recovery and empowered sexuality.

It’s interesting stuff, but ‘Holy Fvck’ is about five songs too long, and after the mood-shifting Bones struggles to maintain the intensity of its preceding tracks. The switch in gears is an intentional one, with the tracks that follow feeling less confrontational, more pop-leaning, and revolving largely around Lovato finding the love she was looking for on Happy Ending, where she also acknowledges the ongoing craving that recovering addicts must endure. “I got high, you name it, I've tried it,” she sings. “Sure, I'm sober now and everybody's proud, but I miss my vices.”

This gripe aside, ‘Holy Fvck’ gives a deep insight into the trauma that Lovato has unpacked to create these brutal, candid, infectiously catchy songs, with outstanding vocal prowess and hooks as sharp as the lyrics they deliver. And for that, she rocks.

Demi Lovato Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu September 22 2022 - WHEATLAND California - Hard Rock Live - Sacramento (USA)
Fri September 23 2022 - RENO Nevada - Grand Sierra Theatre (USA)
Sun September 25 2022 - PORTLAND Oregon - Moda Center at the Rose Quarter (USA)
Tue September 27 2022 - SAN FRANCISCO California - Masonic - San Francisco (USA)
Wed September 28 2022 - LOS ANGELES California - YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park (USA)
Fri September 30 2022 - LAS VEGAS Nevada - Venetian Theatre at the Venetian Hotel Las Vegas (USA)
Mon October 03 2022 - DENVER Colorado - Fillmore Auditorium - Colorado (USA)
Wed October 05 2022 - ROSEMONT Illinois - Rosemont Theatre (USA)
Fri October 07 2022 - DETROIT Michigan - Fox Theatre - Detroit (USA)
Sun October 09 2022 - WALLINGFORD Connecticut - Toyota Oakdale Theatre (USA)
Mon October 10 2022 - WASHINGTON District Of Columbia - Anthem - D.C. (USA)
Wed October 12 2022 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Met - Philadelphia (USA)
Thu October 13 2022 - BOSTON Massachusetts - MGM Music Hall at Fenway Park (USA)
Sat October 15 2022 - TORONTO Ontario - History - Toronto (Canada)
Sun October 16 2022 - MONTREAL Quebec - Olympia Theatre - Montreal (Canada)
Tue October 18 2022 - NEW YORK New York - Beacon Theatre - NY (USA)
Wed October 19 2022 - NEW YORK New York - Beacon Theatre (USA)
Fri October 21 2022 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre at the AvidXchange Music Factory (USA)
Sun October 23 2022 - ATLANTA Georgia - Coca-Cola Roxy (USA)
Tue October 25 2022 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Ryman Auditorium (USA)
Fri October 28 2022 - TAMPA Florida - Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Tampa (USA)
Sun October 30 2022 - HOLLYWOOD Florida - Hard Rock Live At The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Hollywood (USA)
Tue November 01 2022 - NEW ORLEANS Louisiana - Fillmore - New Orleans (USA)
Thu November 03 2022 - HOUSTON Texas - 713 Music Hall (USA)
Sun November 06 2022 - IRVING Texas - Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory (USA)

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