If there’s one hurdle most Disney-affiliated artists will face during their career, it’s the time where they outgrow their past and shed their family friendly image for a more mature style. Right now, it seems like Demi Lovato is attempting to jump that hurdle. It can be a tough transition, but Demi’s contemporary Selena Gomez has been moving in a more mature direction for a while now, and it’s been a natural progression that has done nothing but help her career. Demi may be in a little bit of trouble, though.
Initially, Cool for the Summer fits the bill. It opens as a sleek and sexy synth-pop production that’s ready made for the summer season, but with a little mystery on the side. With her coquettish demeanour as she sings along with fittingly vague lyrics—Tell me what you want / What you like / It’s okay / I’m a little curious / Too—it gives the verses a distinctly playful vibe that really enhances the mood. When the chorus hits, it’s a completely different story; with an aggressive guitar-backed bridge leading into an elaborate chorus, the subtlety of the song all but goes out the window without any real fanfare. The bridge feels especially tacked on; while the verses and chorus do bear some similarity that could make them work together, the abrupt bridge breaks the flow rather than aiding it. What could have been a playful little song about sexual experimentation a la Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl instead becomes disjointed, with the verses and choruses hinting at two separate sounds for the song which may have worked separately but miss the mark when placed together.
It’s disappointing that this was the direction taken, as the introduction to the song had set high standards for what followed. By taking the bombastic route, the sly, hinting nature of the song was replaced with something contradictory halfway through, in turn working against the total package. Cool for the Summer is an interesting career move for Lovato, but in the end stands as an experiment that wasn’t quite as successful as it could have been.