ALBUM REVIEW: Holy Fvck – Demi Lovato

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The struggles of DEMI LOVATO aren’t exactly a secret; the pop singer has endured trauma, addiction and a life lived in the spotlight under the weight of expectations. Holy Fvck finally breaks all that and, for the first time in a long time, it sounds like LOVATO‘s actually having fun. Jettisoning those R&B elements and re-embracing the pop punk of her earlier work, Holy Fvck sits comfortably amidst what seems to be a current trend of pop artists delving into heavier pastures. Crucially, this never feels forced, likely due in no small part to their long-known love of rock and metal.

It’s obvious very quickly that this is an album about them still unpacking and dealing with the traumas they’ve experienced; “Am I only the one looking for substance?” she sings on the aptly-titled Substance, which in the context of their struggles with addiction and overdose, becomes more incisive and raw. On 29, the singer opens up about her experience with sexual abuse as a teenager as they reflect on turning 29, the same age as their abuser, singing “Far from innocent, what the fuck’s consent / Numbers told you not to, but that didn’t stop you,” and “Thought it was a teenage dream, just a fantasy / But was it yours, or was it mine?”. 

That characteristic bluntness extends to Dead Friends, too, in which DEMI LOVATO laments the loss of friends; while it’s never specified to what, there’s an undercurrent that this again is perhaps due to addiction or other mental health struggles that their friends were unable to make it through. All of this is to say, that the radio-friendly pop singer is, while not gone, certainly free to remove any constraints they might have felt and to make a record that harkens back to those rock roots. Sitting somewhere in the ballpark of MCFLY, BUSTED and radio rock in the vein of FOO FIGHTERS more recent output, Holy Fvck is a viscerally honest record. 

But, to be clear, it isn’t all great. Holy Fvck as an album is too long; 16 songs, even though most fall between two and three minutes long, simply means there’s too much and it runs on a little too long given the relatively similar sound across the album. There’s little experimentation or tonal variety, most songs sitting comfortably in that aforementioned pop punk meets radio rock space, with plenty of pop hooks proving they’ve not left the genre entirely behind. Those hooks are big though, particularly with the snarling Eat Me and the title track.

All that being said, Holy Fvck doesn’t need to be a genre-defying, boundary-breaking record in that sense; it’s already a huge departure sonically from the last ten years of DEMI LOVATO’s career in the pop/R&B world and, most importantly, is clearly the record they wanted to make. Instead of bowing to label pressures, there’s a sense of freedom and their voice throughout is as powerful as ever, despite being a little too processed instead of letting them truly shine. Is Holy Fvck groundbreaking? No, but arguably it never set out to be. What it is, is raw and honest reflections from an embattled star whose time in the public eye has cost them dearly, and they’ve at last found freedom in their roots. And surely, that’s enough.

Rating: 7/10

Holy Fvck - Demi Lovato

Holy Fvck is out now via Polydor Records. 

Like DEMI LOVATO on Facebook.

The post ALBUM REVIEW: Holy Fvck – Demi Lovato appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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