Dancing With The Devil...The Art of Starting Over (TAOSA) is a huge step forward for Demi Lovato. Her latest 19-song long release showcases the best Lovato has to offer, with its stunning vocals and brutally honest themes throughout.
The first section of the album is where most of the songs are honest to the point of almost being difficult to listen to. Lovato tells the story of her relapse in sobriety and focuses on how lonely this moment feels. We begin with a simple but effective piano ballad 'Anyone', which is followed by the single 'Dancing With The Devil' which summarises the feel of the album with the lyric 'I told you I was okay, but I was lying', and ends with a sweet but heartbreaking song called 'ICU' which acts as a message to Lovato's younger sister.
You'll find throughout that this album really is about Lovato opening up about situations that are incredibly personal that had been briefly touched on before but had never homed in on how it really felt. Lovato is telling her story in all its harsh reality on the album, which then matches up with her recently released documentary 'Dancing With The Devil'.
Then, we enter the 'The Art of Starting Over' section, where we find the more upbeat songs that are more similar to the tracks Demi has released in recent years. However, just because the production and the tunes change, doesn't mean that the lyrical content gets any less harrowing. 'Melon Cake' and 'The Way You Don't Look At Me' and focus on the idea of body image and eating disorders, with intense lyrics like "But I'm so scared if I undress that you won't love me after" which put you right in that mindset.
However, what we do see throughout TAOSA is growth. We see a clear transition between the dark and difficult days, into themes of hope and relief, which perfectly encapsulates the concept of 'The Art of Starting Over'. Because of this transition of mood, we also see a variety of sounds on the album. The tracks range from slow and steady ballads to big band instrumentals, to pop-like and relatively upbeat tracks. This variation could seem jarring, but the songs all flow well into one another as Lovato keeps up her consistent approach to vocals and doesn't experiment too far with the sounds; nothing feels out of place.
Lovato also invites several artists to be featured with her on TAOSA, and it's the tracks with Noah Cyrus and Ariana Grande that particularly stand out as their voices so well complement each other
'Met Him Last Night' with Ariana Grande perfectly showcases the strongest part of both artist's musical talents: their vocals. The silvery harmonies on top of the sultry beat makes for a great listen. It takes on Grande's classic R&B feel with some instrumentals that build the tension throughout.
Dancing With The Devil...The Art of Starting Over ends on a high with her most uplifting songs being found at the end of the album, which show a definite hope for her future. This album is probably Lovato's best album to date. It feels not just honest, but mature, and really feels like she's grown into her own. Lovato has lived a troubled life and has gone through many struggles, but it's good to see her slowly overcoming them and allowing her music to track this progress.