Demi Lovato
Photo: Angelo Kritikos / Island Records

Demi Lovato Refashions Herself on ‘Revamped’

More than just having fun updating her work, Demi Lovato refashions herself and her music to reflect the person she is today, which is bold and defiant.

Demi Lovato
15 September 2023

Since the release of her eighth studio album, Holy Fvck, primarily influenced by pop-punk and hard rock, Demi Lovato has enjoyed somewhat of a change in image. It shouldn’t be surprising to devoted fans since she famously held a “funeral for [her] pop music” in a photo posted on social media at the beginning of 2022. But once it came time to reimagine her existing pop songs to coincide with the performance of new punk-rock stylings from her last LP, she needed to find a way to make them all work together on tour.

That process ended up being more fun for Lovato than she initially envisioned, and the positive reception of the reimaginings prompted her to consider re-recording older songs from her catalogue. The result is Revamped, the singer’s first remix album composed of ten new “rock versions” of some of her biggest pop hits.

Critics have already labeled Lovato’s remixes as a copycat of Taylor Swift‘s ambitious re-recording project, even though the circumstances surrounding the two are quite different. However, the popularity of new versions of previously recorded tracks in an artist’s discography has seen a vast increase in streams on music streaming services, indicating that many listeners enjoy hearing new life breathed into songs from over a decade ago.

Besides, Revamped feels less like Lovato trying to contribute to the current popularity of re-records and more like an attempt to rewrite her history, which is her right. Coming of age in the entertainment industry as a former Disney child star comes with its own set of complications without being burdened further by management and record labels pushing such an artist towards a particular sound or genre.

Indeed, her split from her toxic Disney management in light of her 2018 overdose likely caused some of her work during that reign to be difficult to return to. So instead of pretending they don’t exist, Lovato has taken to re-recording some of the songs that made her famous to reflect the challenges she’s faced and overcome and the better person she became because of it. Revamped sounds just like that, an update of a catalogue she might not necessarily like anymore but still appreciates, and sometimes that’s the best we can do.

Many of the songs re-recorded on Revamped had neared overplay status in their original versions, including but not limited to “Heart Attack”, “Confident”, and “Cool for the Summer”. But here, they sound better as alt-rock songs and give listeners a better shot at believing that Lovato is feeling more confident now than ever. She further updates singles like “Neon Lights”, “Give Your Heart a Break”, and “Tell Me You Love Me” with continuously flawless vocals and rock production that inexplicably works. The only track that doesn’t quite land as a rock song is “Sorry Not Sorry”, since most pop “diss tracks” aren’t meant to be translated into alt-rock stylings, no matter who’s singing them.

Lovato is grateful for her Revamped remixes since they have allowed her to fall back in love with songs she had since grown tired of performing, namely “Give Your Heart a Break”, which she reimagined into a duet with Bert McCraken. She described “Tell Me You Love Me”, the title track from her R&B and soul-influenced sixth LP, as the most difficult to transform into a rock song.

“The vocals are just so soulful on that one, and so trying to keep it soulful while also amping it up for this record was pretty difficult,” the singer told Billboard. But she seldom misses the mark during the re-recording process, likely because her current rock sound comes so naturally to her. More than just having fun updating her work, Demi Lovato refashions herself and her music to reflect the person she is today, which is bold and defiant.

RATING 8 / 10