Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Demi Lovato – Skyscraper

Other rhymes she could’ve gone with: caper, vapor, tapir, Draper…


Michelle Myers: Here is a song that needs its context. Last year, Demi Lovato spent a few months in an inpatient psychiatric care facility, seeking treatment for bulimia, bipolar disorder, and self-harming. It was during the dark days before her treatment that she heard “Skyscraper.” She quickly recorded the song; when she was finished recording, she cried. During treatment, Lovato considered the possibility of re-recording “Skyscraper,” but upon release from the facility she realized she preferred the emotion of the original recording. So here it is, Demi Lovato’s deep psychic pain, presented with an earnestness that only a miserable teenager could muster.

Katherine St Asaph: Demi Lovato and team are fucking geniuses. After an avalanche of successively ickier headlines, the sort that would’ve gotten her trucked off to wilderness camp if she’d grown up as somebody other than Demi Lovato, the narrative for her comeback single was always gonna be, “Well, does this make up for the sex and drugs?” The genius was in cranking back the instrumentation, even on the bridge and not using the most obvious processing on Demi’s voice, changing the narrative to, “Wow. I didn’t know she could sing!” Very post-Adele. Very effective. Maybe her comeback could’ve also been in PR.

Anthony Easton: Lovely voice, with a bell-like clarity, and not too much over-emoting, but a little formal and more than a little bland. Refuses to scrape anything more than 5 stories. 

Al Shipley: I like Demi’s voice better when she’s not breathing into the mic and quavering emotively just a little too much, but it worked on “Don’t Forget.” It doesn’t quite work here because the instrumental textures are prettier than what they’re foregrounding. But mostly it’s that stupid tortured metaphor dragging everything down like the opposite of a skyscraper or something.

Alfred Soto: Girl, why the heavy breathing? You’re a compelling singer when the career of Katy Perry isn’t exerting an anxiety of influence.

Ian Mathers: It’s tempting to check out of this feast of mixed metaphors and rancid cliches, but there’s a strain to Lovato’s voice that, even if I didn’t have some dim inkling of The Troubles, would go some way towards selling the song. Usually when the singer tells us that we can tear her down (like she was made of glass, like she was made of paper), the implicit message is that the singer is immune to our depredations; here, it sounds more like Lovato is a phoenix than a monolith. It works much better than it should.

Jer Fairall: Self-Esteem Pop nearly gets its own “November Rain,” with only the expected grand crescendo failing to burst free from the seams.  Lovato’s totally game, though, turning in the most overreaching vocal turn by a pop star since Avril’s Alice in Wonderland theme, leaving this stranded somewhere between Idol-esque histrionics and pretty good cheese.  

Pete Baran: There is no denying Demi’s blockbusting voice; it was about the only thing that stood out in the otherwise banal Camp Rock films. But unfortunately the need for a redemptive ballad after being in Disney Rehab has led her to churn out Skyscraper. Perhaps like Selena Gomez she is worried that all the good song similes have been taken, because she wants this to be her “Stronger.” However there is a real problem with invoking a skyscraper as a sense of resilience a couple of months before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Jonathan Bogart: I can’t help it — when she lays on the Meaningful Rasp towards the end I get all emotional. Possibly this is because the first time I heard it I thought of it as a 9/11 metaphor, and I can’t shake the association.

Brad Shoup: A deliberately paced ballad. So deliberate, in fact, that it took me a few listens to understand that “paper” is supposed to rhyme with “skyscraper”. Lovato is mixed way up in the track, which leaves one plenty of space to contemplate her fine pipes as she strangles the text for the duration of the song. You’ll note that Kerli Kõiv is listed as a songwriter, but she’s delivered very little of her considerable nutty charisma to the final track; the party has swapped out pity for tea.

Michaela Drapes: I just can’t get past that “like I’m made of paper” is shoved in to make the tin-eared rhyme with “like a skyscraper”; even if everything else about this song was utterly perfect, I couldn’t let this slide. As it is, it’s just the icing on the cake of awfulness that is Lovato’s emotionally manipulative notice-me-look-at-me-PLEASE-NOTICE-ME histrionics. I would very much like it if Toby Gad never produced another “tearjerker” like this again (see also: “If I Were a Boy,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” et. al.), but I think that’s kind of like wishing for a pony or Prince Charming, really.

Edward Okulicz: You can tell from one listen that this song’s lyrical allusions to standing near-indestructible in the face of adversity is going to mean something to a lot of people who hear it. And Lovato sings it like it means something to her too. You can almost hear it as a higher-stakes spiritual successor to Taylor Swift’s “White Horse,” but as gamely as “Skyscraper” declares its strength, it unravels in poor lyrics (the “paper/skyscraper” rhyme, for instance) that all the conviction in the world can’t animate into real feelings. Almost earns its sweep and misery, but not quite.

15 Responses to “Demi Lovato – Skyscraper”

  1. “However there is a real problem with invoking a skyscraper as a sense of resilience a couple of months before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.”

    Actually, I’m with Jonathan here, I think that this adds something to the song, not subtracts from it.

  2. (I’m not American, see, so the 9/11 thing didn’t occur to me until you guys pointed it out)

  3. I AM American, and I didn’t make that connection.

  4. I made that connection before I heard the song (while reading promo copy, that is) but didn’t think about it while listening, for some reason.

    For what it’s worth, I really doubt any 9/11 reference is intentional.

  5. Ooh, that’s the missing key to what icked me out about this song! I couldn’t place what it was, but yeah. Um. Tacky, much? I have no doubt that the reference wasn’t intentional, but all and sundry in the Lovato camp were probably psyched when they realized the timeliness. I will eat my hat if this isn’t used in at least one network/cable news montage next month. Ugh.

  6. Anybody who doesn’t make the 9/11 connection is a MORON.

    Go run run run… = people running from ground zero
    Watch you disappear… = watch you die
    … yeah it’s a long way down = people jumping from the towers
    I’m closer to the clouds up here… = people dead and gone to heaven

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this single was fully planned and intentional by the people controlling Demi Levato and the western Zionist-controlled media.

    This song is blatantly profiting off of the deaths of more than 3,000 innocent people lost on 9/11, praying upon the empathy/sympathy of the general public… and going straight for their pocketbooks.

    It no coincidence that they put this song out one month before the 10 year-anniversary of 9/11. Don’t you remember Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” that just so happened to be released a few weeks before 9/11/2001, that ended up being a cash cow generating millions upon millions of dollars?!

    Wake up you sheep! Boycott this song!! Nobody should be allowed to generate such substantial profit off of the greatest attack in America’s history!!!

    This song is not any sort of “tribute”… It’s a disgrace!!

  7. Enrique Iglesias is psychic? I guess that explains how he knew that tonight he’s fucking me.

  8. LOLZ.

  9. Extra LOLZ for (I think) the first use of “Zionist” in TSJ comments section.

  10. I’m so glad I was able to bring the crazies. FYI, we are on the first page of results if you google ‘demi lovato skyscraper 9/11’.

  11. I’m just pleased to know that I’m finally working for part of the Zionist-controlled media. Now that I’m part of the conspiracy, do I get a tax break or something?

  12. Unless Demi Lovato was the 20th hijacker, I don’t understand what’s wrong with her making money. America has a long, honorable tradition of capitalizing on disasters with hastily-recorded singles. Demi Lovato = Blind Alfred Reed, CAN’T YOU FOOLS SEE

  13. Wait, so Enrique Iglesias knew about 9/11 before it happened?

  14. Just FYI: that comment was flagged as spam by WordPress. I let it through last night for the lulz.

  15. Funny… Enrique Iglesias is not psychic, nor was he aware of 9/11 before it happened. He simply got lucky with the timing of his single. The Demi Lovato Team is trying to replicate that success with the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 approaching… no luck involved here, just strategy.

    QUOTE: “America has a long, honorable tradition of capitalizing on disasters with hastily-recorded singles.”

    You call 9/11 a disaster? Hurricane Irene was a disaster. 9/11 was a staged “false flag” terror attack on its own citizens, orchestrated by criminal elements within the U.S. government, in order to manipulate public perception into supporting its agenda.

    War is to be sustained, regions are to be divided up, domination of oil is to be maintained, continual profits are to be reaped for defense contractors and permanent military bases are to be established as a launching pads against other non-conforming countries. Is this not what is happening?

    Get back to posting nonsense on your Tumblr account you hipsters.