Somewhere in the dead of a night a small but dedicated band of sweaty record company executives crept into the bedrooms of Miley Cyrus and Kelly Clarkson armed with swabs, scissors and nail clippers in a bid to obtain DNA samples of said pop starlets (look, that’s as far as I’m taking this theory alright…behave). They then proceeded back to their secret labs and proceeded to blend said DNA, they then added it to a vat of bubbling chemicals , then waited for a suitable gestation period and voila…you had Demi Lovato.
For the uninitiated Demi is an ex Disney kid from the States who while relatively unheard of on these shores is something of a big name across the pond. The reason I make lighthearted mention of Cyrus and Clarkson is because quite frankly there are many many similarities, not just in the road taken to get where they are (both her predecessors did a lot of growing up in the public eye whether it be through reality television or coming up through the ranks of a kid’s TV show).
Demi brings her debut (Don’t Forget out today on Hollywood Records) to the table at the age of sixteen. Which immediately makes my inbuilt cynicism’s alarm bells start to ring. I mean all you have to do is look at her forebears and what you are essentially seeing is a very young cash cow being milked to the extreme with a potential burn out story waiting in the wings by the time she hits the age of twenty.
The album itself takes a precision look at what is selling right now and hones it to perfection. This is an album of mercilessly machined pop, polished to a blinding shine and armed to the teeth with hooks, hooks and singles a plenty. The ringtone/lunchbox/merchandising market must already be salivating.
There’s no question that there is merit in the production values of this album and for someone so young Demi has a powerful voice and a style that is without question in vogue right now. There are the obligatory uptempo pop rock numbers (La La Land, Get Back), then of course there are the melancholy piano laced tracks (Don’t Forget) that will work wonders on the teen audience when their first boyfriend/girlfriend dumps them and they need a soundtrack to their depression. They will listen to stuff like this before they discover cheap cider and sitting in the park and develop somewhat firmer musical tastes.
As a whole this entire album is an exercise in market manipulation (but then what isn’t?), taking a developing talent and putting it on the treadmill. There’s a part of me that hopes a UK audience is a little more savvy than to let itself be led by this kind of stuff, but saying that I’m not holding my breath.