Across a career that has spanned seven studio albums and countless singles, Demi Lovato has built a body of songs that deftly chronicles the challenges of juggling 21st-century fame with a range of artistic and philanthropic causes close to their heart. We all know Lovato’s life has not been characterized by cloudless skies, but it’s their honesty and relatable real-life cut-through that has earned them millions of fans and a CV that contains many surprises.
The 2020 confessional opus Dancing With The Devil… The Art Of Starting Over was a confident return to form after another rough personal patch and impressed critics often more excited by TV appearances on Will & Grace and the US The X Factor. But it’s music that remains Lovato’s first love. Millions of sales and streams testify to the fact that, since their breakthrough in 2008, it’s the bond that has been hardest to break, whatever else life has thrown at them. The best Demi Lovato tracks reveal why.
20: You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore
Recorded for 2017’s Tell Me You Love Me, this icy confessional ballad is among the rawest of Demi Lovato’s extensive catalog. Their on-point vocals drive the track’s haunting melody, offering two possible narratives: a break-up with a lover or a sign-off to drink and drugs. In September 2017, it was picked as Tell Me You Love Me’s second promotional single and opened shows on Lovato’s subsequent world tour.
19: Made In The USA
Demi Lovato’s sound has evolved over the years, meaning that some of the pop-rock influences of their earlier recordings have now been largely left behind. “Made In The USA,” from 2013, is a pop-country banger that many thought could have been recorded by Miley Cyrus at a similar stage in their career. Picked as the second single from Lovato’s fourth album, Demi, it won Favorite Roadshow Song at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards.
18: Up (Olly Murs, featuring Demi Lovato)
“Up,” recorded with British solo star Olly Murs, was a huge international hit when it was released in late 2014. The song later turned up on deluxe versions of Demi, but truly deserves a wider hearing. Co-written by Wayne Hector, famous for his work with One Direction and Westlife, this melodic pop smash became Lovato’s first platinum record in the UK and has sold more than a million copies around the world.
17: La La Land
Demi Lovato’s friendship with Jonas Brothers is well documented and Demi’s career has been intertwined with theirs since Demi appeared on their Burnin’ Up tour. “La La Land” is one of the many songs they wrote with the brothers for their debut album and it’s typical of the power guitar-pop Lovato first became famous for. The song failed to break the US Top 50 but it became their first solo Top 40 hit in the UK, following “This Is Me,” their launch duet with Joe Jonas.
16: What Other People Say (Sam Fischer & Demi Lovato)
The Australian singer-songwriter Sam Fischer remains poised for a wider international breakthrough after the success of his 2019 single “This City,” but Demi Lovato spotted his star potential and loved this composition. Their appetite for a full-blown collaboration led to Sam’s demo being reworked as a duet and the track was picked as the second single from 2020’s Dancing With The Devil… The Art Of Starting Over in February the following year.
15: No Promises (Cheat Codes, featuring Demi Lovato)
This slinky dance track was recorded with DJ collective Cheat Codes and was a huge club smash in 2017. Sharing vocal duties with Trevor Dahl, Demi Lovato demonstrated how versatile their music was becoming when they reworked the track with an acoustic arrangement, supported by a haunting guitar lead that drew out the softer undertones of this gorgeous melody (it appeared on deluxe editions of Tell Me You Love Me). “No Promises” was further evidence of how in-demand Lovato was as a featured artist at this stage of their career.
The shocking backstory for the lead single from 2020’s Dancing With The Devil… The Art Of Starting Over chilled fans when it emerged it was recorded just days before Demi Lovato’s 2018 overdose and subsequent spells in hospital and rehab. Demi picked the track as a statement performance at the 2020 Grammy Awards to signal she was ready to face the world again, but the recording’s fragile vocals still haunt. “At the time when I was recording it, I almost listen back and hear these lyrics as a cry for help,” Demi told Zane Lowe.
Another shockingly raw confessional closed the Demi album and is a power ballad that seemed certain to receive a single release. With 12 other outstanding songs from the collection to compete with, however, it somehow got overlooked, but found its audience more slowly, building up a very impressive number of streams across many years. “That song was probably the hardest and easiest to write on the whole album,” Demi Lovato told Billboard. “Like I said in the first line: This is a story that I’ve never told/I gotta get this off my chest to let it go.’ I wanted to let it go.”
12: This Is Me (featuring Joe Jonas)
Not the The Greatest Showman anthem; instead the start of Demi Lovato’s musical story. Issued as the third single from the 2008 Camp Rock soundtrack, “This Is Me” marked a pivotal moment in the script for the Disney Channel TV film and became Lovato’s first US Top 10 single, peaking at No.9. Later recorded solo in Spanish (as “Lo Que Soy”), it’s a charming teen pop-ballad typical of the influence that Glee and High School Musical were having in this era. Light years away from the more sophisticated pop that Lovato records today, ‘This Is Me’ remains a perennial fan favorite.
11: Neon Lights
Perhaps the most out-there dance cut Demi Lovato has ever recorded, “Neon Lights” waves its EDM credibility with glow-stick abandon. Producer Ryan Tedder, of OneRepublic fame, admits he was confident he could rely on Lovato to master the track’s challenging vocal gymnastics. Unsurprisingly, the song topped the US club charts and became one of the showpieces of the singer’s Neon Lights Tour in 2014. This glorious dance banger was Lovato’s third single and was supported by one of their standout videos.
10: Solo (Clean Bandit, featuring Demi Lovato)
Arguably the most successful collaboration of Demi Lovato’s career to date, the decision to pair with Clean Bandit led to “Solo” becoming one of the world’s biggest hits in 2018, with sales now sitting around the 10 million mark. Issued in May of that year, “Solo” made an immense impact almost everywhere, particularly in Europe. This catchy earworm remains in heavy radio rotation to this day.
The obvious pick as the lead single from Demi Lovato’s second studio set, Unbroken, “Skyscraper” is a soaring power ballad lent even greater momentum by Lovato’s fragile, at times almost breathless, vocals. With a resonant theme of inner strength, they seized on the track’s universal lyrics and secured Estonian co-writer Kerli Koiv’s permission to rush the project into the studio. Soul singer Jordin Sparks performs backing vocals on this critical and commercial hit, which peaked inside the US Top 10 in 2011. In December 2013, the UK winner of The X Factor, Sam Bailey, covered the track, making the coveted Christmas No.1 spot in the process.
8: Give Your Heart A Break
Another single from Unbroken, “Give Your Heart A Break” was composed by Josh Alexander and legendary songwriter Billy Steinberg, the latter of whom wrote Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and “Alone” for Heart. It’s a light-on-its-feet pop track that would have worked just as well in almost any rock era. Choppy strings add a layer of dramatic flourish and its clever, romantic video secured a decent-size US hit and a slot on many of Lovato’s setlists.
7: Tell Me You Love Me
The maturity of Demi Lovato’s later recordings was strongly signaled by this promotional track from the album of the same name. Issued to radio and social media in November 2017, “Tell Me You Love Me” is a blistering call to attention created by Kirby Lauryen, Ajay Bhattachraya and John Hill. The decision to work with a far-from-typical writing and production team paid dividends (John Hill had composed the huge hit “Feel It Still,” by Portugal. The Man) and lent this track fresh, sassy energy. The video for the song starred Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams and, despite not being an official single, still made the Billboard Hot 100.
6: Cool For The Summer
Pop legend Max Martin is behind this cut – one of Demi Lovato’s signature singles and a huge smash in 2015. Pop-rock underlays are beefed up by the breezy synth instrumentation, making for a blistering sunshine classic that signaled Lovato’s breakout as an international star. They promoted this track hard, with a performance at that year’s MTV Awards with Iggy Azalea, and an appearance on Saturday Night Live. “Cool For The Summer” became their third UK Top 10 hit, but, surprisingly, only peaked at No.11 in the US, despite a strong showing in the club charts.
5: Stone Cold
Picked as a promotional track for Confident, Demi Lovato’s fifth studio album, “Stone Cold” is a stripped-back piano ballad created with Swedish singer-songwriter Laleh Pourkarim. It was a daring move to issue the track, whose echoes of Sia and Lady Gaga signaled Lovato’s increasing belief in their ability to craft more ambitious soundscapes. While far too nuanced to become a huge commercial hit, “Stone Cold” adds layers of rich emotional depth to a gorgeous melody that has become one of Lovato’s most streamed songs to date.
Demi Lovato’s personal battles are well documented, and this confessional, beautiful ballad echoes the rich narratives of legendary singer-songwriters like Elton John and Billy Joel. In a live setting like the Tell Me You Love Me World Tour or 2018’s Rock In Rio performance, “Sober” became a sensational showstopper. Beyond those unique platforms, it’s a call for help and a heartbreaking, truly special ballad that is certain to build on its growing reputation.
The best Max Martin production Demi Lovato has ever recorded, “Confident” is a sassy R&B swinger recorded in 2015 for the album of the same name, offering the hook-heavy sass essential for radio. An all-star cast, including Lost’s David Fahey and Michelle Rodriguez, led a plot-heavy video treatment that stands as the most innovative of Lovato’s to date. They also performed “Confident” at the 2015 American Music Awards, delivering one of the highlights of that night’s show.
2: Heart Attack
This electro-pop classic marked the first time that Demi Lovato pressed all the contemporary-pop buttons. Recorded with Jason Evigan and Mitch Allan, who have worked with Maroon 5 and Jason Derulo, the song’s synthy baselines are lifted by an anthemic power-pop chorus, and the cut made inroads internationally, becoming Lovato’s biggest UK hit until the Clean Bandit collaboration, “Solo.” It’s right up there with their best songs.
1: Sorry Not Sorry
Sealing Demi Lovato’s status as a consistent hitmaker, “Sorry Not Sorry” is one of those songs that has developed a life of its own. Arguably their most successful recording to date, it was the track the cast of Will & Grace picked to sing as part of a promotional campaign to celebrate the singer’s first appearance on the hit US sitcom. Lifted from Tell Me You Love Me, “Sorry Not Sorry” was a big hit in every major market and its sassy tone is hard to place – it’s certainly not all-out pop, but it’s hardly an urban or rock track, either. Perhaps a bit like Lovato, it’s hard to pin down and is full of character.
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