Tell Me You Love Me is the sixth studio album by Demi Lovato, released on September 29, 2017 through Island Records, Hollywood Records and Safehouse Records.
- Sorry Not Sorry
- Tell Me You Love Me
- Sexy Dirty Love
- You Don't Do It For Me Anymore
- Daddy Issues
- Ruin The Friendship
- Only Forever
- Cry Baby
- Smoke & Mirrors
- Ready For Ya
Following the release of Demi Lovato's album, "Confident," she told Latina that her next album would have a "more soulful vibe."
In October 2016, she announced via Twitter that she would be taking a break from music and the spotlight in 2017, stating: "I'm not meant for this business or the media."
However, Lovato revealed to Mike Adam in August 2017 that after doing charity work earlier that year, she felt rejuvenated and started creating music again, which eventually led to an album.
Lovato mentioned that a title and release date had been chosen, but she was not allowed to disclose them at the time. She also told MTV News that month she was influenced by many artists for the album, including Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera, and Kehlani.
She stated that the album was heavily inspired by Christina Aguilera's album, "Stripped", calling it "a breakout album that really transformed her into the icon that she is today."
Lovato stated that she worked with producers Pharrell Williams and Mike Will Made It, but their work would not be featured on the album.
"Tell Me You Love Me" opens with the first track and lead single "Sorry Not Sorry", which contains several synthesized effects such as handclaps, finger snaps, a distorted bass voice and club synths; these effects are intercepted with a heavy bassline, hip hop beats, minimal piano notes and backing chants.
Elias Leight of Rolling Stone magazine noted that Lovato expands to fill the track's empty space by "belting her non-apology with the vindictive force of someone who knows their actions are justified."
According to Lovato, "Sorry Not Sorry" is a song for the "haters" with the message "You know what? I'm good now, and sorry I'm not sorry that you may not be loving where your life is at the moment."
The title track is a gospel-influenced song described as a "booming ballad" by Fuse's Jeff Benjamin. It is instrumentally complete with horns, percussive drums, handclaps and wah-wah guitar lines.
Lovato explained to Billboard that "Tell Me You Love Me" is about "the vulnerability of coming out of a very serious relationship and having a tough time with it," and further commented that lines as "You ain't nobody 'til you got somebody," "calls out a big misconception."
Exhibiting influences from 1980s and 1990s musical styles, the third track "Sexy Dirty Love" has an uptempo danceable rhythm that blends funk and disco as well as "old-school" R&B and electro genres.
Due to its sonority, Mike Wass from Idolator associated the track with Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds" album. Lyrically, it narrates a thoroughly modern romantic encounter initiated via web with Lovato singing about fantasy through the phone in the first verse.
Composed in a compound time signature, "You Don't Do It for Me Anymore" features a slow tempo subdued beat and strings chords. During the song, Lovato uses her higher vocal register in a crescendo.
Billboard's Rob Arcand praised her vocal range writing it reach "near-Adele limits in melisma and virtuosity."
The lyrics reflects about a past situation in a negative relationship with an abusive partner with the singer expressing that its presence is not as necessary as before.
Although it's written in a perspective of an ended relationship, Lovato explained that the song is a look back at her personal struggles and addictions, saying: "I sang [it] with a lot of emotion because it reminded me of my relationship with my old self that I don't relate to anymore."
The electronic song "Daddy Issues" sees Lovato singing about a torrid affair with an older man explaining that she has some issues and certain behaviors caused by her relationship with her father.
In an interview with BBC News, Lovato confessed that the lyrics were ones she came up with, based off her own experiences.
Mike Nied from Idolator observed that in the track, Lovato "is hooked on some good loving, and she is content to keep things casual." Its synthpop production contains heavy stuttering synth drops and keyboard effects.
In "Ruin the Friendship", Lovato invites a special friend to take their relationship to a romantic level, appreciating his appearance and confessing her sexual intentions with him.
During the verses, she sings accompanied by a bass guitar and a tenor saxophone. With a melodic horn section during the chorus, the song features and contains a smooth, slow-burn atmosphere reminiscent of jazz music. Its sound also demonstrates influences from traditional rhythm and blues.
"Only Forever" is a melancholic song about wanting the person you want to explore a new relationship with to make that first move or take that next step.
With a message of "giving someone chances that will last a lifetime," Lovato considered "Only Forever" as a sequel to "Ruin the Friendship". The song also has a connection with her personal experiences. Throughout the track, her vocals appears to be echoing over a minimal bassline.
"Lonely" is a duet with rapper Lil Wayne that finds Lovato as a protagonist expressing angriness and disappointment about the behavior of an abusive partner with Wayne's verses reiterating her feelings.
The song's production (handled by DJ Mustard) features sparse, ambient synths in contrasts with a trap-inflected minimalist beat.
A downtempo ballad with influences from rock n' roll music, "Cry Baby" makes use of a pounding piano, snare and bass drums, and electric guitar riff slides.
Lyrically, the song shows Lovato singing about experiencing a dramatic romantic situation that alternates her solid personality making her a fragile person. As she sings in the chorus, although her heart is the "hardest to break", a romantic interest made her cry and heartbroken.
According to Lovato, "Games" is about "playing games when I [she] got out of a relationship and started dating again." Alexia Camp of Slant Magazine commented that finds her "giving as good as she gets when her object of affection sends mixed (text) messages." The track was also noted for containing an instrumentation reminiscent of trap music.
"Concentrate" and "Hitchhiker" are midtempo numbers, where the usage of guitar is a predominant characteristic in their production. The former is a stripped-down song with the lyrics focusing on sexual themes as Lovato lust for her lover has her extremely distracted.
Idolator's Mike Wass noted that she "straddles the line between explicit and almost spiritual, but she manages to make the effort all about making love instead of rolling around in the sack with a fling."
The album's twelfth track, "Hitchhiker", is an optimistic love song about taking an emotional leap with a stranger.
"Tell Me You Love Me" debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 with 75,000 album-equivalent units (which consisted of 48,000 pure sales). It was certified platinum by the RIAA.
"Tell Me You Love Me" received generally positive reviews from music critics.
On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 72 based on six reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
For Pitchfork, Jamieson Cox stated that Lovato "has finally settled into a consistently compelling space: flinty, flirty R&B that’s just as thrilling hushed as it is at full blast", and noticed the improvement over her previous works, saying: "It gives you enough space to see Demi as something other than a no-holds-barred belter. You want to get to know the Lovato behind Tell Me You Love Me, something you can’t definitively say about any of her other releases."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote that the album "runs the gamut from churchy soul to seductive slow-burners to showstopping ballads designed to showcase every single one of Lovato's diva moves", giving the album 3.5 out of 5 stars.
The Herald Sun rated the album 3.5 out of 4 stars, deeming it "impressive" and felt "Daddy Issues" was the best track.
Writing for Idolator, Mike Nied gave the record 4 stars out of 5 and stated that "Demi finally hits her stride" with the album. He added, "Instead of sprinkling one or two hits among a lot of filler, the hitmaker has finally recruited the right team and found her voice over sparkling mid-tempos and frenetic bangers.
The album has the distinction of being her most cohesive and is one of the strongest to drop in 2017" and compared it to Christina Aguilera's "Stripped."
In a positive review, Aidin Vaziri of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Lovato "feels jilted, and conjuring the battle cries of pop predecessors like Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson, she unleashes on exes and backstabbing friends with the kind of vocal firepower best appreciated from a safe distance".
Los Angeles Times writer Mikael Wood praised the album's tracks as "catchy and funny and sexy and daring", and wrote that the album "presents a singer burning with purpose".
For Entertainment Weekly's editor Tim Snatc, the album "suffers for some of its excessive vocal fireworks." Giving the album a B rating, he felt that the best parts of the album are "on the first half and showcase Lovato's swagger, especially the standout gospel-tinged title track."
Writing for Rolling Stone, Maura Johnston stated the album "gets bogged down" in chilled-out trap pop. She later commented slow-tempo tracks like "Concentrate" balanced the downtempo and the energetic tracks.
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