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Tell Me You Love Me [Deluxe Edition] [Parental Advisory]
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  • Recording information: Artcrime Studios; Big Noize Studio, Hollywood Hills, CA; Cheat Codes Home Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Encore Studios, Burbank, CA; Henson Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Hit Factory, Miami, FL; Jungle City Studios, NYC; Mission Sound, Brooklyn, NY; Rodeo Recordings, Santa Monica, CA; Sherpa Studios, Los Angeles, CA; SuCasa Recording, Los Angeles, CA; UMPG Studios, Santa Monica, CA; Venice Way Studios North, Vancouver, BC, Canada; VsTheWorld Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Westlake Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Photographer: Dennis Leupold.
  • Just prior to the launch of the album cycle for Tell Me You Love Me, Demi Lovato sat for an interview with MTV News to discuss her sixth album and wound up comparing her new record to Christina Aguilera's 2002 Stripped. Lovato intended the juxtaposition to highlight the album's heavy modern R&B influence but the two records also share a candid carnality that sometimes feels a bit too blunt. It's not just that Lovato can't resist peppering her lyrics with profanity -- the album is littered with conjugations of "f***," arriving on both ballads and uptempo cuts -- but she dispenses with niceties throughout the record, imploring a mate they should "Ruin the Friendship" and slide into bed, or telling a new love that "lucky for you, I've got all these daddy issues." Subtle the words are not and while the music occasionally matches this braggadocio -- "Daddy Issues" blusters with its stuttering synth drops -- on the whole, Tell Me You Love Me is subtler musically. Lovato's assertions that Tell Me You Love Me is steeped in R&B prove true, and it's not a monochromatic soul either. Opening with the strutting empowerment anthem "Sorry Not Sorry," the album runs the gamut from churchy soul to seductive slow-burners to showstopping ballads designed to showcase every single one of Lovato's diva moves. Although there are ghosts of traditional soul threaded through the record, the production is firmly modern, filled with electronic flair and allusions to hip-hop rhythms. It's a sound that suits Lovato, who has never positioned herself as a retro-soul singer but has repurposed older sounds for a fresh audience. She's usually done this with a pop bent, but with its cool surface, sharply constructed songs, and Lovato's controlled performances -- all elements that more than make up for her lyrical stumbles -- Tell Me You Love Me suggests soul may be her forte. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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