Release Date: Sep 20, 2011
Record label: Hollywood
In the past year, Demi Lovato faced rehab and lost her role on a Disney Channel sitcom, her princess-next-door image shattered. On her third LP, her newfound vulnerability sometimes makes for good songs: "Would it make you feel better to watch me while I bleed?" she challenges an ex (or a tabloid-fixated public) on the tear-jerker ballad "Skyscraper," her voice becoming a sinister whisper. But Unbroken is mostly sunshine and slumber-party hooks, complete with reggae doo-wop ("You're My Only Shorty") and Lovato's ditzy seductress act on "All Night Long." She's grown into her voice.
There are two ways for pop stars to make a Survivor Album: either power-sing through your problems like Christina Aguilera, or make like Rihanna and dance till you forget what you’re supposed to be getting over. On her first release since checking out of rehab, Demi Lovato wants to have it both ways. She’s front-loaded Unbroken with leave-no-synth-effect-behind R&B (”You’re My Only Shorty,” featuring Iyaz), shy love-in-this-club tracks (”Who’s That Boy”), and Timbaland bangers (”All Night Long,” with Missy Elliott).
Unbroken is a strange beast, an abomination of sorts, a fully-realized album with an extra head and shoulders sticking out of the midsection. It feels like a record company’s doing, as if Demi Lovato had 10 perfectly good songs ready to go and just before they got the green light, some suit somewhere whispered “psst psst My December psst”, and the label threw a ton of money at her manager so she could go make some pop songs. She did, and every single one of them got put right at the front of the album.
Breaking into a whirlwind schedule of filming Disney TV movies and touring the world with the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato checked into a treatment facility in the fall of 2010. Denying rumors of substance abuse, including allegations that she snorted cocaine “like a pro,” her management team confessed that Lovato was being treated for emotional issues that manifested themselves in bulimia and cutting, serious matters that can’t be swept under the rug, so Lovato attempts to clear the air via her post-treatment record, 2011’s Unbroken. Clearly, the title is intended to convey strength, while its lead single, “Skyscraper,” conveyed vulnerability, setting a precedent for Lovato specifically addressing her problems on “Fix a Heart,” where she runs out of Band-Aids to bind her wounds.