Walking On Eggshells With Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato is releasing a new album and it’s making me really uncomfortable. It just seems that after her nervous breakdown at the end of last October and being released from rehab for “emotional and physical issues” this past January, it’s a little… too soon.

Demi Lovato is yet another one of Disney’s preteen queens, but only just. She has always seemed like Disney’s basement baby, outshined by Bieber himself, Selena Gomez, and America’s Trailer Park Sweetheart, Miley Cyrus.  I liken her to the Solange Knowles of the Disney Channel. She’s pretty, talented, but always last in line.

The thing that sets Demi apart from her peers with the mouse ears is that she can truly hold her own as a performer. The girl has a set of pipes, which is what initially landed her a big break with a starring role in the Disney Channel movie Camp Rock alongside The Jonas Brothers. Following the movie, she released her debut album Don’t Forget in fall of 2008. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, and went on to sell over 500,000 copies, which was surprising coming from an all but unknown artist with such a young demographic. Her sophomore effort, Here We Go Again, released summer 2009, hit #1 on Billboard and was well-received by fans and critics alike. After the two albums, a couple of tours with The Jonas Brothers, and the release of Camp Rock 2, the numbers had cemented her status a successful pop artist, even if most of America was still like “Demi who?

While Miley Cyrus was leaking nude pictures, ripping bongs, and getting more and more famous, Demi was hard at work and behaving herself. Or so it seemed. Rumors of hard partying would pop up every so often, not to mention whispers of an eating disorder. And there were numerous pictures of her on red carpets with visible cuts on her wrists. Uh oh… But no one seemed to pay much attention, because after all, Miley was the one grinding on a stripper pole at the Teen Choice Awards, wasn’t she the problem child?

Cut to October 30th, 2010. While on tour with The JoBros in Columbia, Demi got wind of one of the Jonas backup singers telling her manager about her alleged hard-partying ways and “inappropriate conduct” from the night previous. Not one to take things lying down, while boarding a plane to the next tour destination, Demi was all “bitch BYE” and punched the tattletale right in the face. After being confronted by her team, Demi was carted off to a rehab facility in Chicago for “emotional and physical issues.”

Demi later described this incident as a “nervous breakdown.” But this was no typical Hollywood starlet meltdown, where it’s an obvious, gradual, and very public spiral (see also: Lindsay Lohan). We are so used to watching celebrity downfalls in real-time–as they come stumbling out of clubs, get DUIs, and are carted off to jail–that we are almost desensitized to the “teen star goes to rehab” story. But this was a squeaky clean, often-overlooked Disney star getting sent to rehab before anyone got a chance to see there was a problem. This was different.

While Demi was seeking treatment, it was confirmed that she had been battling an eating disorder and self-mutilating habits for quite some time. While in treatment, it was decided that she would leave the TV show Sonny With A Chance–her starring vehicle on The Disney Channel–because she said that seeing herself on camera would make her anxious and would not be good for her recovery.

After being released in January, she was spotted around LA looking happy and healthy. Though the instances did seem a bit contrived–“Here’s Demi smiling while getting coffee!,” “Here’s Demi smiling while leaving the gym! (SHE’S OKAY WE SWEAR)”–everyone was glad that she was back. Now that her TV show would go on without her, she was free to focus on her recovery and her career in music.

Next Tuesday, her album Unbroken will be released. But I can’t help but wonder–is this a little too soon? Her first single, “Skyscraper,” is a ballad about overcoming personal obstacles… shocker. Didn’t see that one coming. In interviews, she’s stated that she recorded one version of the song before she went into treatment and then rerecorded it after she was released, but in the end, decided to go with the one she recorded pre-rehab. She said “My voice is a lot stronger now that I’m not ruining it by damaging it after every meal, and it just didn’t feel the same, and we kept the original one.” …oh. Really? That almost seems, dare I say it, gimmicky–almost cashing in on the eating disorder. I feel like the whole album is being rushed just to show that “She’s okay!” As if to say, “Look she put out an album! She’s recovered! Everything’s fine!”

I’m not saying that she and her team are trying to sweep the whole incident under the rug though. Surprisingly, she has been very forthright and honest about what she was dealing with and the things she has gone through. Instead of disappearing for months and only vaguely discussing the incident when forced to in interviews (as was the case with Rihanna after the Chris Brown incident) Demi has sat down with numerous media outlets and reporters, such as everyone’s favorite bite-sized reporter Ryan Seacrest (hey gurl!), and put it all out on the table. It was shocking to hear her say the words “eating disorder” and “cutting,” but after everything that has happened to her, it’s refreshing to see her confidently discussing it in hopes that young people will learn from what she’s gone through so they don’t have to.

But I can’t help but wonder, what if she hadn’t gone through all of this in the last year? What would the focus of the album be? Would there have been such a push to get it out so quickly? Demi has never been a top priority for her record label, Hollywood Records, and I just find it odd that she’s thrust back into the spotlight so soon after she’s released from inpatient rehab. I mean, did Lindsay Lohan go straight to the bars after being released from rehab? No. (Well… yes. Okay, bad example, but you get where I’m going with this.) It just seems like this is not only Demi’s recovery album, but her record company’s proof that “Hey, we didn’t fuck her up too badly!”  What if she took a little bit more time off to chill the hell out, and came back with a fun pop record in a year’s time? Wouldn’t that show just as much evidence of recovery?

Eating disorders are another form of addiction, and I can’t help but feel like we’re jumping the gun with all of this, especially when she’s only just started her road to getting well. Is this the best time to put her back in the limelight? Wouldn’t that just make her recovery process that much more risky? Who knows. All I know is that I’m usually really excited for the release of a pop album, but this one is making me nervous. That, and the fact that the album includes a feature from Dev, that gremlin that made us suffer through the hook of “Like a G6” all spring. Oh, and Jason DeRulo makes an appearance. What, was Sisqo busy? But the newly released, Timbaland produced song “All Night Long” featuring Missy Elliott is a fun and energetic R&B track that is a departure from her last album’s very acoustic sound, making me very curious to hear what the rest of the record has in store for us.

Either way, I’m buying the album and am excited to see her come back as an even stronger artist than ever before. #TeamDemi TC mark

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WQXSSKAMOU4WCHKCWYMUKKKNU Aladin Sane

    Hey, I’m all for people conquering their demons and shit…but at the end of the day she’s still a Disney manufactured bore.

    • The Homie C

      And you’re stupid as all hell.

  • Funkyspecs

    I love Demi, and as much as i want to say that youre wrong, i cant say you are. and you have raised a valid point.

  • bopbah

    i usually wouldn’t have given much of a shit, but you had me nodding the whole way. 

  • guest

    i only wish someone had proofread this .. piers ? really ?

    • Guest's Guest

      I’m imagining a long wooden dock with mickey mouse ears perched precariously on the end…

  • Ben

    While I understand your point, this is an unfortunate theme throughout the music industry. Do you think Hollywood Records (Disney’s go-to for a quick buck in the field of “music”) is going to be any exception? What record label exec isn’t going to want to cash in on a comeback album?

    Whether or not it’s too soon for Demi to be back in the public eye, you have to have respect for her blatant honesty. I found it so refreshing and I’m sure there are many other people (you included) that feel the same.

    When is a person ready to face the world after struggling with something as emotionally and physically damaging as an eating disorder? Is there ever a perfect time? Personally, I don’t think a person can heal 100% from their inner demons. But they can face them head on with an honest outlook on the situation (Demi has mentioned that she expects to battle with self-esteem issues like eating disorders for the duration of her life) and a drive to help others with the same problems.

    • The Homie C

      Disney’s go-to? They own that label, dummy. Wikipedia can’t even help you.

      • Ben

        Your comment literally doesn’t make sense.

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    Very well-written with some nice points about our country’s intense interest in watching people turn into train wrecks — but who the hell is this girl? I seriously have no idea, which means I’m probably old. Ugh.

  • Josephine Mayhew23

    Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors therefore they don’t what she’s up for ,she hasn’t had a album in 2 years and the girl was in treatment for 3 months instead of a 30 day thing like most celebs than she waited 6 months before releasing a first single.Give the girl a break I’ve seen worse and she shouldn’t be singled out for getting her shit together and getting back to what she does best performing,her being happy and healthy should be a main priority not  if you think she’s ready or not because you don’t know her or her strength and people bounce back  faster than other’s just be lucky she didn’t go Lindsey Lohan route and just give up.

    Poud of u Demi mad respect.

  • Cassithomas

    *peers

  • http://twitter.com/fannylemon Tess McGeer

    I worry about Demi Lovato’s well-being way more often than is socially acceptable.

  • http://twitter.com/fannylemon Tess McGeer

    I worry about Demi Lovato’s well-being way more often than is socially acceptable.

  • Guest #2

    You have a very condescending tone and sound like an asshole throughout most of this piece. Put your opinions of Miley, Justin Bieber, etc. aside and realize that they are people with feelings, too. 

  • bored on a sat night

    Colombia** 
    NOT  “Columbia”.This may seem a very trivial mistake but  a population of 45million ppl will bitch about this.
    newayzzz..hope demi makes it to da top~~!!

    • danielle

      pretty sure the 45 million residents of colombia are not reading tc

  • Guest

    not really sure if it concerns you at all as to whether demi is ready for another album. if she went through the eating disorder, let her “cash in on it.” also, spellcheck.

  • kim

    can’t believe i just read an entire article about demi lovato’s recovery. that’s about 5 minutes of my life i’l never get back. and who the fuck cares? if she’s fine, she’s fine. straight and simple. at the end of the day, she’s just another manufactured disney bubble gum popstar.
    way to over-analyze.

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/10-signs-youve-actually-lost-your-mind/ 10 Signs You’ve Actually Lost Your Mind | Thought Catalog

    […] You know all of the lyrics to Demi Lovato’s latest single. And that’s about all of the information your brain can retain these days. […]

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/10/10-signs-you%e2%80%99ve-actually-lost-your-mind/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] You know all of the lyrics to Demi Lovato’s latest single. And that’s about all of the information your brain can retain these days. […]

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