Our own Sam Lansky summed it up thusly on his way to handing out a 4/5: “It’s not a deeply confessional album, nor defined by its sonic risks: Demi is polished commercial pop, but it’s as great as polished commercial pop comes. The ballads are appropriately squishy, the uptempo tracks are alternately sweet and sassy.” Clearly, we enjoyed the album. But the critical reception across the Web was all over the place. Read through to see our roundup of reviews.
:: Billboard praised Lovato’s risk-taking, saying, “The singer has a strong grip on her skills as a performer, but is still chiseling away at the formula that works best for her as an artist, and is unwittingly putting that self-discovery on display here. Demi may or may not launch Lovato to a new level of stardom, but it demands attention for fully capturing a singer’s personality at a fascinating moment in her career. It’s an imperfect album, but it’s better that way.”
:: The New York Times filed a pretty positive review, calling Demi an “often impressive fourth album” which “recasts Ms. Lovato, rightly, in the Kelly Clarkson mold of big-throated singers who have had quite enough, thank you very much.”
:: HitFix handed out at B-, saying, “For those who are looking for a largely uptempo album that fits squarely into much of the pop landscape on radio today, Demi will be a pleasing fit. For fans who gravitate toward songs like ‘Shouldn’t Come Back’ and ‘Warrior,’ Demi will serve as a sign of the depth that Lovato can reach.” The album’s weakness, the site argued, was “that too much of the music here is so generic that it could be any teen queen.”
:: USA Today rated the album a 2.5/4, saying it “has precious little of the soul baring she used to such devastating effect on 2011′s Unbroken. Instead, she sings earnest teen-pop of the sort that could segue from Icona Pop to Taylor Swift.”
:: Entertainment Weekly was rougher on the album, grading it a C+. “[Demi] sounds like such a decisive return to teen pop. Transformed from an edgier young woman back into America’s sweetheart, she’s doing the fallen-Disney-idol thing in reverse.”
:: The Boston Globe was the harshet, saying Demi “sounds like she’s trying to make up for lost time by dumbing down and eradicating whatever personality she can. Her voice, once a Kelly Clarkson blowtorch set to low, is now a Katy Perry arc welder, and she pillages Top 40 radio for whatever isn’t nailed down.”