Demi Lovato’s ‘HOLY FVCK’: Came From the Trauma, Stayed For the Drama


Demi Lovato poses for “HOLY FVCK.” (Courtesy Brandon Bowen)

By Evan Beesley


Demi Lovato has been a recurring staple of the young adult pop culture reservoir for nearly two decades. Her star lives on the cusp of mainstream entertainment and the alternative zeitgeist. Lovato managed to marry these two worlds on Aug. 19, 2022 when she dropped her eighth studio album, “HOLY FVCK.” This album serves as the apotheosis of Lovato’s persona and seems to provide both dedicated and new fans a diverse and nuanced view of her life and work up until to this point. 

This is Real, This is Me: Demi’s Career

Lovato’s career as a child actress and singer began to take off after her breakthrough role in Disney’s 2008 TV movie “Camp Rock.” She continued to work with the Disney Channel, which was an impetus to her well-documented traumas including struggles with eating disorders, specifically bulimia nervosa, body dysmorphia and substance abuse in the form of alcoholism and a variety of painkillers. In this time, marred by struggle, Lovato began to form her persona as a pop-rock star with a thrilling voice. From the burgeoning of her career, Lovato has always been praised for her astounding range and vocal emotion she emits while performing and recording.

As she grew into her adulthood Lovato began adapting maturer styles and influences in hard rock as well as R&B. Lovato’s struggle with opioids reached a head in 2018 when she overdosed on laced pills she received from a friend. These traumas would eventually go forward and inspire her latest album “HOLY FVCK.”  Lovato presents herself as a woman who has evolved into a new Demi, a healed Demi, a Demi who understands the trials and tribulation involved in modern stardom.

Finally Twenty-Nine

“HOLY FVCK” was released to rave reviews and peaked at the Billboard 200 at No. 7. Critics have once again cited Lovato’s emotive ability and her breathtaking musical range as well as her evolution of character.

Almost every track draws heavily on one of Lovato’s trauma. In “WASTED,” she explores her relationship with drugs. In “29 “ she speaks on her taboo relationship with an older man. Her suicidal ideation is the theme in “HAPPY ENDING,” and her commitment to others and herself is focused on in “4 EVER 4 ME.”

This album feels as vulnerable and real as ever; Lovato truly holds no bars. This unabashed honesty really pulls the listener into the music even when phrases might seem repetitive or derivative. Especially when compared to her earlier works, “HOLY FVCK” expresses Lovato’s rock sensibilities. The songs often lash out into screamed portions punctuated by high beltings that sit wonderfully in her realm of abilities. While a softer side of her voice is showcased at times in songs like “FEED” and “4 EVER 4 ME.”

The album, however, lacks a real ballad or mid-tempo song the likes of which are common for many artists in her genre. Her darker turn in tone and lyrics are certainly noted in songs like “HEAVEN” and “CITY OF ANGELS,” The former being an anthem to her sexual fluidity throughout iconic Los Angles locations. This darker and more mature ethos suits Lovato as a person whose private life has almost constantly been in the public eye.

A Woman Reborn

Altogether the album, in my opinion, is a terrific sample of Lovato’s greatest skills. It showcases her vocal empathy, vocal prowess and vulnerability in the musical style and especially in the lyrics. Lovato is an artist who has been put through the crucible of childhood stardom and a youth that was punctuated with difficulties that were often blown up for the press.

Rather than retreating from these pains and trials Lovato embraces her past and turns it into something deeper and full of meaning. “HOLY FVCK” is the perfect summation of the life and career she has led up to this point. It is a poignant statement to a world, which in many ways, has wronged her. The album boldly states that she is an artist who is angry. An artist who will not give in despite what she, or anyone else, has to say.


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