Island Records (label)
15 September 2023 (released)
15 September 2023
With some of Demi Lovato’s most commercially successful records being universally and critically recognised as ‘rock’ albums, (her second studio effort, 2009’s ‘Here We Go Again’, debuted at number one on the U.S billboard 200 whilst her most recent release, 2022’s ‘HOLY FVCK’, became the first of her records to reach the summit of America’s top rock and alternative album charts), it’s no surprise that her first ever ‘greatest hits compilation’ features ‘rock remixes’ of the multi-platinum singer’s fan favourites. That’s right, ‘REVAMPED’ is a ten-track treat for the ears and audibly establishes Demi’s attempt to make her back catalogue truer to herself and what she most enjoys performing live.
One might think that a singer re-releasing their previous discography is primarily rooted in said musician’s desire to take ownership of their master recordings. We only have to look at Taylor Swift, arguably the biggest female singer/songwriter of the twenty-first century, to allude to this presupposition. However, Lovato’s decision to release reimagined rock versions of her classics goes much deeper than this. The New-Mexico born singer, who adopts both she/her and they/them pronouns, has been candid in recent interviews about how she no longer enjoys the theatrics of performing pop music. The costume changes, the dancing and the pressure to present herself onstage as a hyper-feminine pop star has long grown tedious. In fact, prior to the writing, recording and subsequent release of her eighth studio album, ‘HOLY FVCK’, Lovato held a ‘funeral’ for her pop music alongside her label and management teams – indicating the singer’s desire to pivot from ‘pop’ to ‘rock’.
‘REVAMPED’ opens with the album’s lead single, the rock version of 2013’s ‘Heart Attack’. For me, this is the strongest rework of any of the tracks on the record. Perhaps this opinion can be credited to the fact that the song was originally re-recorded as a mark of ten years since the release of the original and for that reason, it, for me, sounds more sonically cohesive. The unfortunate reality for some of ‘REVAMPED’s’ tracks is that they, for want of a better word, sound a bit ‘rushed’. In addition, it could be called into question why Lovato opted to remix ‘La La Land’ and ‘Don’t Forget’, both singles featured on their debut album of the latter song’s name. More specifically, both, in my opinion, are originally rock tracks anyway so its hard to envision how either could be reworked. Having said that, the album’s strengths, without doubt, outweigh its drawbacks.
Let’s talk collaborations for a start. ‘REVAMPED’ sees Lovato work alongside both the greats and newcomers of rock music, indisputably demonstrating the hitmaker’s passion for and commitment to the genre. ‘Sorry Not Sorry’, the third single released from the record, is a gritty, anthemic redraft of Demi’s biggest hit, featuring a guitar solo by nonother than Guns ‘N’ Roses superstar, Slash. Meanwhile, ‘Neon Lights’ goes even harder. With a ‘Bring Me The Horizon’ style riff and a vocal assist from The Maine, this quickly established itself as one of my favourites. The record also sees Lovato collaborate with the likes of ‘The Used’ frontman, Bert McCracken on ‘Give Your Heart A Break’ as well as Los Angeles guitarist, Nita Strauss on ‘La La Land’.
Above all else, the album’s greatest asset is Demi’s vocals. The originals were already vocally astounding and yet, Lovato seems to take her sensational singing capabilities to new heights on these reworks. If you need this verified, just listen to the new outros on ‘La La Land’, ‘Skyscraper’ or ‘Tell Me You Love Me’. Simply incredible!
From a lifelong Lovatic, the album is an easy four stars, bordering five if the track list was slightly broader. One can only hope that the release of ‘REVAMPED’ entails a tour, seeing as it’s been over five years since Demi was last in the UK!