“Holy Fvck” album review: Demi Lovato says “Here We Go Again” by returning to their rock roots

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Maleigh Crespo

Demi Lovato performing on their “Holy Fvck” tour on Nov. 1st at The Fillmore in New Orleans.

Maleigh Crespo, Equity & Inclusion Officer

In mid-August, Demi Lovato dropped their 8th studio album, “Holy Fvck,” with lead singles “Skin of my Teeth,” a tongue-in-cheek banger that references their 2018 overdose, and “Substance,” a pop-rock bop about the lack of human connection in the aftermath of a global pandemic. 

Lovato describes this album as a “funeral” for their pop music and has openly admitted that it’s the only album they’ve written completely sober. While leaving a genre that has embraced the artist greatly with the success of songs like “Cool for the Summer” and “Confident,” Lovato eased into the pop-punk scene without skipping a beat. Their broad vocal range and effortless belting somehow seamlessly fit in the hard rock tracks on the album. “Holy Fvck” hit #1 on the top alternative albums Billboard chart and landed at #7 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Although the artist claims to have returned to their rock roots, it’s more reminiscent of their first two albums rather than returning to them. While their first two albums included edgier songs like “La La Land” and “Here We Go Again,” the artist was still signed to Disney at the time, and it showed. While those two songs are hits, they’re watered-down Disney versions of what “Holy Fvck” is, and Lovato recognized this because when performing the throwback songs, they didn’t hesitate to change the lyrics “throw all of your stuff away” to “throw all of your shit away.” 

The sixteen-track album didn’t come as a surprise to true Lovatics as we’ve all known that Lovato has had it in them, and many fans were happy to see Lovato finally embrace their true self through their artistry and music. Lovato has also fully committed to this new aesthetic by deleting everything prior to the album’s release from their Instagram account and wearing clothes that are more grungy and reflective of the album’s punk image.

As someone who has played the album repeatedly for weeks, watched Lovato perform the album live in the front row, and whose #1 Spotify wrapped artist of 2021 was Lovato, I’d say I can give an honest and authentic review of the album, so here we go… (again). 

  • FREAK – 9/10
      • This song, which features YUNGBLUD, was the perfect choice to start the album. It’s a song for misfits and, well, freaks.
  • SKIN OF MY TEETH – 8/10
      • The second track was the lead single for the album, and not only does it coyly discuss Lovato’s 2018 drug overdose, but it also poses as an anthem for recovery and a means of humanizing the struggle of addiction. 
  • SUBSTANCE – 9/10
      • “Substance” is the second single of the album, and it was my favorite song when it was released because it felt so relatable as a college student trying to make connections with people when everything was on Zoom. It felt like everyone and everything lacked substance, and Lovato found a way to put that disconnected feeling into a hard-hitting banger, and it works. They also played into the irony of the song’s title by making it be about human connection rather than substances or substance abuse. 
  • EAT ME – 7/10
      • Lovato said that this album was about taking back their power, and this song does that. With a feature from Royal & the Serpent, “Eat Me” is essentially a “fuck you” to all of Lovato’s haters and those who were unsupportive of them when they came out as nonbinary in 2021. 
  • HOLY FVCK – 9.5/10
      • “I’m the one she was afraid of. Now I’m what your dreams are made of / I’ll show you the light, with all the lights off.” Need I say more? Also, who can resist screaming “fuck” in between choruses?
  • 29 – 9.5/10
      • You’ve probably heard this hard-hitting anthem on TikTok as the background song to someone sharing a personal experience, and although Lovato has not said anything on record, fans have speculated that the song describes the tumultuous 6-year relationship between Lovato and their ex-boyfriend Wilder Valderamma, who was 12 years their elder when they began dating. Either way, the song has become a song of empowerment for so many, and Lovato’s vocals in the 2 minute song are incredible.
  • HAPPY ENDING – 10/10
      •  This song will never fail to get me in my feels. It’s soulful, vulnerable, and raw. And nothing could ever compare to watching Lovato perform this live. 
  • HEAVEN – 7/10
      • The religious undertones in this song may be off-putting to some, but I think the juxtaposition of religion and sexuality performed in this way is unique, and it makes for a helluva head-banger. 
  • CITY OF ANGELS – 9/10
      • I think it’s safe to say that this song is NSFW; nonetheless, it’s still an absolute banger, and one the most clever songs lyrically. It also highlights Lovato’s vocals beautifully. 
  • BONES – 8/10
      • This song is so out of the ordinary, and I love it. It’s fun, and it normalizes sexuality. There’s not much more to be said. I just love this song. 
  • WASTED – 7/10
      • Of all of the songs on this album, this one feels the most like Lovato’s old music. It’s not entirely pop, but it’s missing that edgy, punk feel; still, it’s a good song.
  • COME TOGETHER – 6/10
      • I really enjoy this song sonically, but lyrically, it feels too cliché, and in comparison to the other songs on this album, this one falls flat.
  • DEAD FRIENDS – 6/10
      • I don’t hate this song, but I don’t love it. It sounds like a scattered, stream-of-consciousness, and if this was a Sabrina Carpenter album, that might work, but this is Demi fvcking Lovato. While the song does portray the reality of survivor’s guilt in a powerful way, the lyrics fell short for me, but sonically, I do think it’s a nice addition to the album. 
  • HELP ME – 10/10
      • I knew I loved this song, but it wasn’t until I saw Dead Sara perform it live with Lovato that I became in love with this song. It’s two birdies up to unsolicited and unwanted advice that women get too often. 
  • FEED – 10/10
      • When I first heard this song, I immediately loved it. I’ve never heard a song that so poignantly describes how it feels to be constantly fighting an internal battle, and this song does that. The only downfall to this song is that it wasn’t included in Lovato’s setlist for tour. 
  • 4 EVER 4 ME – 10/10
      • This is the weepy, yet powerful love song that sappy hopeful romantics, like me, live for, and this was the best way to end this album. 

Overall, this album, to no one’s surprise, gets a 10/10 from me. While I’m still madly in love with Lovato’s previous album, “Dancing with the Devil: The Art of Starting Over,” this album is next in line for the throne.

 

“Holy Fvck” is now available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.

Illustration by Ariel Landry