Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Demi Lovato – Confident

Truth in advertising.


Sonia Yang: Maybe I’m reading too much into it and Demi doesn’t have a huge feminist agenda, but “Confident” moved me in a “times sure have changed for the better since I was a teenager” way. We’ve gone from an era when young girls were taught to be modest to a fault and tear each other apart for any deviation to an era when young girls are learning to acknowledge their own abilities and accomplishments outside of seeking external validation. The pounding beats, repeated insistence “What’s wrong with being confident?” sound equal parts proud and pleading, and the pre-chorus (“so you say I’m complicated / that I must be out of my mind / but you’ve had me underrated”), synthesized brass, and snaps lend a theatricality reminiscent of Britney Spears’ “Circus,” and Demi makes it clear that she, and not the media, calls the shots. And I’ll be damned if the video is not a jab at the patriarchy: two women pitted against each other by a white man of authority and taking him down after realizing they’re in the same boat and joining forces? Come ON.

Cédric Le Merrer: What is wrong with being confident? The obvious answer is that you may think you can pull off a martial lean in feminism anthem a la Run The World by enrolling Max Martin to recycle his beloved Gary Glitter glam stomp into a fanfare, confident in your own belting’s ability to emerge conquerant over the clatter, and that you may fail. Confidence can get you pretty far: Beyonce’s aura is powerful enough that no one remembers that Run The World was not that big a hit. Demi’s aura, however, I have more doubts about.

Katherine St Asaph: What’s wrong with being confident? It produces the most boring, most tension-free and prescriptive pop songs, that’s what. But this is more in the vein of “I’m the Kind of Girl,” “Some Girls,” “Womanizer,” a brash glitterstomp I tend to overrate. (Try not to speculate about whether the producers were actually trying to redo “Black Skinhead” with a “Problem” chorus.) The beat calls for a blare, Demi delivers that blare, and the result will sound great for a month or so.

Alfred Soto: A master of the sustained yawp, Demi Lovato needs tracks that blare and stomp. The marching band rhythm sounds ungainly; her voice has no place to rest. Confident she is, no doubt. But confidence can be sinister too.

Nina Lea Oishi: You have to get at least a little bit hyped hearing the production of “Confident”: those deep kicks, crowd sounds, and horns make the track sound it like it should be blared out of the loudspeakers of a football stadium. And yes, of course, the message (“what’s wrong with being confident?”) is important, well-aligned with Demi’s brand of “female empowerment without apology.” Yet combine both factors and the result is a track that’s slightly heavy-handed, missing the actual confidence of “Cool for the Summer.”

Will Adams: Ah, yes, because nothing says “confident” quite like Gary Glitter drums.

Megan Harrington: Guys, what’s Poot Lovato?

Thomas Inskeep: Lovato’s performance on SNL this past weekend sold me: sexy and self-assured, her vocal on this is a thing of joy, and the elements of “Confident” — the brass, the drumline, the chanting chorus behind her, the fingersnaps — back it up. And this sounds insanely good coming out of a car radio. It’s not “Cool for the Summer” but nothing else is (“Summer” is still my favorite single of 2015.)

Juana Giaimo: In “Cool for the Summer,” Demi Lovato was also confident, but it was reflected in her silences and subtlety; it showed she knows how to control herself. “Confident” is instead about showing off that confidence and her powerful vocals are suitable for this. However, with the insistance and repetition of her confidence, I start to doubt if she really is that confident. 

Andy Hutchins: I don’t think the world <i>needed</i> a watered-down version of “Black Skinhead” that trades all the menace for triumphal horns, let alone one that is also a rhetorical question about confidence sung by a woman who seemingly lacks the gumption to tell legendary scumbag Wilmer Valderrama to piss off in her real life, but here we are. One question: What producer or engineer is responsible for making the hook sound almost like “What’s wrong with me? I’m confident?”

Reader average: [5.16] (6 votes)

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5 Responses to “Demi Lovato – Confident”

  1. I guess this is one of those songs that reminds everyone of something different – my initial reaction was “Can’t Be Tamed” + “Black Skinhead,” so I guess there’s some degree of consistency with the latter comparison? It’s okay, but vastly inferior to CFTS in terms of catchiness and confidence.

  2. Also lol @ Megan, and I like how Katherine’s and Cédric’s blurbs start the same and arrive at different conclusions.

  3. Yeah that’s a nice juxtaposition.
    I also like how we’re split on referencing Black Skinhead and Gary Glitter. We could have mentioned IKissed A Girl too.
    And that SNL performance is pretty great, much better than the studio version IMHO (if you ignore the horrible live mix and butchered Coll For The Summer intro)

  4. You’re welcome!