Confident is the fifth studio album by Demi Lovato, released on October 16, 2015 through Hollywood Records, Island Records and Safehouse Records.
- Cool For The Summer
- Old Ways
- For You
- Stone Cold
- Kingdom Come
- Waitin' For You
- Mr. Hughes
After Lovato released her fourth studio album, "Demi" in May 2013, she confirmed in February 2014 that she was working on her fifth album, stating: "The sound just evolves into everything that I've been and everything that I want to become."
She also said, "I've never been so sure of myself as an artist when it comes down to confidence, but not only personal things, but exactly what I want my sound to be and what I know I'm capable of and this album will give me the opportunity to show people what I can really do."
The following October, Lovato's manager confirmed to Billboard that Lovato had "done some songs, but certainly the majority of it will kick off next year", following the Demi World Tour.
In February 2015, Lovato teased the album with a number of posts via Twitter, writing: "I've never been more confident in my sound. Never been so sure of who I am as an artist. Never felt this hungry and driven." She further described the album as "very authentic to who I am".
In June 2015, she confirmed that she had been in the studio almost every day, and would be releasing new music "very soon".
Lovato revealed to MTV News: "This time around, I was able to explore different sounds, and hone in [sic] on something that I'm really proud of." She also expressed wishes to work with rapper Iggy Azalea on the album.
Recording & Production
For "Confident", Lovato worked with music producers such as Max Martin, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Ali Payami, Jason Evigan, Johan Carlsson, Steve Mac, Stargate, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub, Babydaddy and Peter Carlsson.
Discussing the album's direction, Lovato told Ryan Seacrest that "I'm no longer serious", stating: "I'm done with the sob stories. New chapter, new life, new album, new single — this is a completely new Demi." She also revealed that it would feature "a lot of provocative songs".
The first songs "Confident" and "Cool for the Summer" among with "Stars" and "Mr. Hughes" were recorded at MXM Studios, Chalice Studios, Westlake Audio Studios in Los Angeles, California and Wolf Cousins Studios and Kinglet Studios in Stockholm.
Lovato co-wrote both tracks with Martin, Kotecha, Alexander Erik, Payami and Salmazadeh. The horn arrangement from "Confident" was provided by musician Jonas Thander.
The songs were both mixed by Serban Ghenea and mastered by Tom Coyne. Others songs of the album also were recorded at Rokstone Studios and The Hide Out Studios in London, United Kingdom.
"For You" was one of the first songs recorded for the album.
Describing how it was working with the producer Max Martin in the song's production, Lovato revealed, "I was just so excited to get to work with Max Martin on this song and his camp. I was so nervous when I went in. I wanted to put my everything into that performance because I knew that I was given the opportunity that I waited for for so many years to be able to work with somebody like him."
The ballad "Father" is the most personal song on the album. It is dedicated to Lovato's biological father, Patrick who died in 2013. The song was co-written by Lovato and Swedish musician Laleh Pourkarim who also produced the song and contributed on the background vocals.
Lovato said that recording the song was therapeutic in a way, and helped her reconcile her conflicting emotions. She said, "To know that it wasn't really his fault really was saddening to me. I wanted to write about it. I wanted to process it, and 'Father' really helped me do that."
Lovato and Pourkarim with Gustaf Thörn also co-wrote "Stone Cold" and "Yes." Jason Evigan wrote and produced "Old Ways" with Olivia Waithe and additional production by Scott Hoffman (credited Babydaddy).
"Kingdom Come" was co-written by Steve Mac, Julia Michaels and Australian rapper Iggy Azalea who features guest appearance on the song.
In an interview with MTV News, Lovato explained how their collaboration came together – and how Azalea knew exactly what to do without any idea what the song sounded like, saying: "When we finally made the decision of which songs were making the album I said, 'OK, I want her on this one.' So I called her and was like, 'Hey will you do a song?' And she's like, 'Yeah sure I'll go into the studio tonight,'" Lovato said. "I was like, 'Do you want to hear it first?' She's like, 'No it's cool.' I'm like, 'You're an amazing friend and I love you.'"
Mac also composed "Waitin for You" with Evigan, American rapper Sirah and Mitch Allan. He produced and played all keyboards in "Lionheart".
"Wildfire" was written by Ryan Tedder, Nicole Morier and the Norwegian production team Stargate who produced the track.
The album begins with horns that introduced the title track, "Confident" which features horns samples & finger snaps that back the entire track, and come to the forefront during the start of the chorus. Lyrically, the song talk about self-empowerment and confidence.
Nick Levine from the site NME wrote that the song "fuses hip-hop horns and Joan Jett beats and has her bragging "it's all about me tonight". Critics noted that the song beat is reminiscent of Marilyn Manson's song, "Personal Jesus."
The second track, "Cool for the Summer" is introduced by a piano melody, followed by a buzzing synth beat that is accompanied by guitar riffs on the chorus. Musically, the song is styled in a rock edge with electronic arrangement. Lyrically, it is about sexually experimenting with a female lover during summertime.
In "Old Ways", Lovato asserts that she is glad to be rid of past habits and refuses to give in to temptation. The song uses a hip-hop arrangement in her production.
The album's fourth track is "For You", Maura Johnston of Billboard described it as a "majestic devotional". She noted the song "has a backup choir singing: "For you I would do anything" as Lovato sings about summoning strength, her performance making her inner power even more plain."
The album's first ballad, "Stone Cold" discusses the pain of watching an ex move on and be happy with someone else. The song incorporates pop and soul influences, and is centered on a piano melody, with a stripped down production aimed at highlighting Lovato's vocals.
"Stone Cold" received comparisons to Lovato's 2011 song "Skyscraper" and the work of English singer Adele.
The trap-inspired song "Kingdom Comes" features vocal appearance by rapper Iggy Azalea. Several critics noted that the song is comparable to Azelea's song "Black Widow" (featuring Rita Ora).
"Waitin for You" featuring vocals by singer Sirah. Musically, it's an R&B and hip hop song that starts with a "dark and atmospheric opening" and is characteristic for having "a massive beat increase which appears to result in a impending crescendo but then results in a beat-drop", similar to the album's sixth track "Kingdom Come".
"Wildfire" is a soul-pop song. In the song, Lovato, sings with synths and snaps floating around her voice.
"Lionheart", the sultry R&B song "Yes" and "Father" are all ballads where Lovato sings using higher vocal register.
The stripped down gospel song "Father" is dedicated for Lovato's biological father who died in 2013. It is the most personal song on the album
The twelfth track "Stars" is an uptempo dance-pop song while the last track of the album's deluxe edition "Mr. Hughes" is a "retro-R&B" song.
"Confident" debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 98,000 units (77,000 in pure album sales).
The album was certified gold by the RIAA and has sold 235,000 copies in the United States.
"Confident" received generally favorable reviews from music critics.
Awarding the album four stars at AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine writing, "the cumulative result is a messy, colorful modern pop record that is greater than the sum of its parts."
Annie Zaleski from The A.V. Club gave the album a B+, saying, "Confident is an impressive album by a pop star who knows what she wants—and also knows exactly how to get there."
The Guardian gave a mixed review of the album, saying: "Only a certain sheen that turns her vocals into a generic hybrid of Sia and Kelly Clarkson stops Confident from being one of the pop albums of 2015."
Mike Wass from Idolator gave a mixed review, saying, "There's no right or wrong approach, but if you're going to relaunch as an irreverent pop siren like Teenage Dream-era Katy Perry, you better have an album full of surefire hits to back it up. And Confident is lacking in that department."
Nick Levine gave the album 3 out of 5 stars, saying: "It's powerful stuff, especially from a singer who has bravely spoken out about her past struggles with depression, drug and alcohol abuse and an eating disorder, but ultimately Confident feels a bit relentless."
Glenn Gamboa from Newsday gave a more positive review, saying, "On Confident, Lovato's swaggering search for self is remarkably revealing, as she tackles everything from sexual experimentation to mental health issues to her relationship with her estranged father."
Writing for Billboard, Maura Johnston gave the album 4.5 out of 5 stars, saying: "Her willingness to own every step and misstep, and to show her audience how the rough times helped her become the woman she is, makes Confident a surprisingly compelling listen."
Tim Stack from Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B+, saying: "Over 11 tracks Lovato's energy is unwavering, sometimes to a fault. So it's a welcome relief that she takes a moment to reveal a softer side on the gospel-tinged ballad "Father," a tear-jerking tribute to her estranged late dad."
Richard Godwin from the London Evening Standard gave the album a negative review, saying, "She's more at home on the ballads such as Lionheart, while Kingdom Come, an atmospheric prowl featuring Iggy Azalea, all moody changes and trap beats, is a welcome respite from a personality record weirdly lacking in personality."
Patrick Ryan from USA Today gave the album 2.5 out of 4 stars, saying, "Confident is overall an assured step forward for Lovato, who should only hone her sound and style by the time album No. 6 rolls around."
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