Believe it or not, I'm a 39-year-old male who has come to like 17-year-old actress/singer Demi Lovato. I say again! I'm a guy on the doorstep of 40 and I actually like both of her records! Her 2007 debut, "Don't Forget", was a very enjoyable pop/rock record that showed a sense of Adult Contemporary maturity that is lacking in the sound quality of her Disney Channel counterparts such as Miley Cyrus (although I do enjoy some of her songs), her real-life BFF Selena Gomez, and Ashley Tisdale. Let it also be known that in terms of vocal talent, Lovato appears to be the best among the four.
On her second effort, 2009's "Here We Go Again", she continues to expand on her ever-growing maturity in terms of sound and production. The songwriting is simple but effective, which gives it that unique balance of being a record that your young daughter would sing along to, but you'll find yourself dancing along with. With remarkably catchy songs that highlight her apparent four-octave range (?), both of her albums appear to be a hybrid of Tween Pop sensitivity & Adult Contemporary maturity.
Clocking in at just over 46 minutes over 14 tracks, the album's opener, the title track, is a rockin' cut that could've done without the final cymbal crash at the very end. "Solo", "U Got Nothin' On Me", "Everything You're Not", & "World Of Chances" are solid, thoroughly enjoyable tracks that are just comfortable to hear. "Catch Me" & "Gift Of A Friend" are outstanding slow ballads, but "Everytime You Lie" is the standout song here, a wonderful slice of R&B/Jazz-tinged pop that could be easily used in a party/club scene in a TV series like "Melrose Place", "90210", or the now-departed "The O.C.".
As the primary star of [the Disney Channel Original Series] "Sonny With A Chance", it's only fitting the album closes with the show's theme song "So Far So Great". The sing-songy arrangement is a bit daunting, but this girl gives it a spirited "YEOOWWWW" at the end and redeems it nicely. But Lovato deserves a lot of credit for being able to hold this record together with a vocal range that seems to be beyond her 17 years of age (as of this writing). Yeah, she's no Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey or even Beyonce' and she's not trying to be. Truth be told? She's not SUPPOSED to be .... and she SHOULDN'T be!!!
Take into account that both "Don't Forget" & "Here We Go Again" were released by a major label (Hollywood Records) NOT affliated with Disney. That speaks volumes about the impression they had about Lovato's talent and the sound she managed to create a mere two records in. Solid and consistent, "Here We Go Again" is just an infectious, catchy, and just plain comfortable record. Her vocal talent & sound will mature with age and that should be expected. When that does happen, it's possible she'll give the aforementioned ladies a run for their money.
Key Tracks: "Everytime You Lie", "Here We Go Again", "Gift Of A Friend",
"Falling Over Me", "Catch Me".
Honorable Mention: "So Far So Great" (only for Demi's "YEOOWWWW!" at the end).