Friday, May 7th, 2021

Demi Lovato ft. Ariana Grande – Met Him Last Night

It’s the collaboration everyone, or at least everyone named Demi Lovato, was hoping for!


Leah Isobel: I’m inclined to forgive the thin songwriting here because sharing an experience of assault is already such a demanding task that it’s purely generous to make pop about it. And anyway, Demi’s showy performance says what the lyrics don’t or can’t. She’s a famously Big vocalist, with a voice made of equal parts musical theatre and pop-punk; that can work against her, but this subject matter is weighty enough that her abrasive high range and dramatic vibrato feel like the appropriate choices. She projects the anguish of survival big enough to be seen from orbit. I don’t know if radio pop, which privileges catharsis and narrative cohesion over messy human reality, is naturally suited for the subjective demands of an abuse story. I worry that offering up her trauma to us in this structure only inures us to it, instead of allowing her the space to heal and to understand what happened to her. But that could be just as much of a projection.

Michael Hong: Opposite to whatever experience Lovato’s been having, this works better when it goes up. Lovato and Grande produce some truly lovely harmonies, but when Grande works in her own style on the bridge it feels clumsy, not transcendent. Or maybe they were just doomed from the start, that the opening synthesizer sounds so chintzy it cheapens the entire experience.

Ian Mathers: Add this to the same pile as Christine and the Queens with Charli XCX, the one labelled “how did this make less of an impression on me than the work of either act alone?” I’m pretty sure I already forget how it goes, and I haven’t hit stop yet.

Samson Savill de Jong: This is big in all the right ways, it sounds grand, dramatic, like something of import is occuring in the song. Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande’s voices compliment each other really well, Grande’s higher flutier voice mollifying Lovato’s deeper and brasher instrument, and they make full use of this by harmonising and playing off each other constantly. After a fair number of listens the song’s charms have started to dim slightly, suggesting it might not stick around forever, but on the other hand I liked it enough to listen to it to the point of exhaustion, so that probably goes in the pro column.

Thomas Inskeep: If you’re gonna team up a pair of women with great voices such as Lovato and Grande, shouldn’t you at least give them a song worth their time — and ours? This is just empty calories, but in the worst possible way, like canned tuna-flavored cotton candy.

Juana Giaimo: “Met Him Last Night” is mostly a song that shows Demi Lovato knows how to control her vocals. She and Ariana Grande are on the same page, none of them covers the other and all the harmonising is really beautiful. I still feel it lacks something — the beat is definitely too simple, the rapping part a little too forced (“It’s 2021! We need to have a rapping verse!”) and the ending a little bit too abrupt. When it ends, it seems like a dream or interlude, but it’s one I enjoy.

Alfred Soto: A surprising comity between their voices keeps this duet alive for a while even when I imagine Miley Cyrus snatching this song from the two of the song and tearing that shit up.

Katherine St Asaph: There is already an ur-text of casual musical devil encounters, by who else, Tori Amos: “Not only could I sleep with my own male essence that I needed to find, but I woke up and realized that Lucifer wore a white suit and high heels, and drove a nice, cute white truck. And she was very happy.” This does not measure up — not with those dated synths out of “Africa.”

Andrew Karpan: Surprised by how much this works for something definitively buried in the hills of 2018 and dusted off in a world where the synths feel heavy and gothy, like something the Killers would put out as retro-kitsch. Smart on Grande’s team to concede the old tune over to Demi, who is able to thread through with that incredibly sincere line that she’s pulled off for the length of Dancing With the Devil, which, despite its mawkish subtitle, reveals itself to be one of the few genuinely riveting album experiences in a while. Landing right in the middle of the dramatic opus, “Met Him Last Night” is rich and villainous, steep lows and dizzying highs.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: All pop music is unreality but this feels especially like unreality — despite the structure of short, traded verses encouraging chemistry the two sound like they’re on different planets. It’s a well-structured, competent production, but nothing about this sounds lived-in or real — usually not a problem for a pop song, but certainly an issue for something that hints at vices and confession.

Reader average: [3] (3 votes)

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