Cardiology Lessons with Dr. Lovato: Demi’s “Heart Attack” (Single Review)

by Bradley Stern


If the whole pop princess thing doesn’t pan out, at least Demi Lovato‘s got all the makings of a fine cardiologist.

“Heart Attack” is Miss Lovato’s follow-up to her massive 2012 smash “Give Your Heart A Break” (Get it now? She’s all about them hearts lately!), and the lead single from her first album since 2011’s Unbroken. It’s major.

And now that she’s got you right where she wants you…she’s kind of freaking the fuck out about it.

The track was produced by The Suspex (Mitch Allan & Jason Evigan), and, along with Demi and The Suspex, co-penned by Sean Douglas and Nikki Williams, the talented songstress behind “Kill, Fuck, Marry”—and MuuMuse’s Most Anticipated Act of 2013.

Beginning with a crisp, guitar-led verse (and a slightly jarring, stuttering intro out of nowhere), the song goes from JoJo-esque “Leave (Get Out)” melodic territory into full-on, explosive Kelly Clarkson “Let Me Down” screamo mode in about 30 seconds flat, putting the spotlight on Demi’s bananas o’clock vocal skills (and rampant insecurities) the entire time.

The lyrics are, admittedly, a little weird and childish in places: “When I don’t care, I can play him like a Ken doll/Won’t wash my hair, then make him bounce like a basketball.” What? For how long are you not washing your hair? Are you smelly now? That’s kind of a weird thing to say in general.

And then, there’s the semi-problematic “You make me wanna act like a girl, paint my nails and wear high heels.” A bit #LOL #TeenChoiceAwards, no? But I kind of love it for that exact reason? Maybe? Get back to me in a week.

But by the time we’ve hit the pre-chorus (“You make me glo-oo-oo-oo-ow!“), all minor sins are forgiven because those A-Fib-inducing runs (“Won’t let it sho-oo-oo-oo-ow!“) are not playing around. Not. A. Game.

Really though, it’s all about that chorus: “I think I’d have a heart at-AH-AH-AHHHHH-AH-ack!” It’s the kind of crashing, almighty chorus that sucks the air out the room and demands a giant dress billowing in the wind, all while a thousand dancers dressed as doctors fall to the ground and a giant stethoscope shatters into pieces on stage. (Actually, please make that happen, Hollywood Records.)

The bridge on this one is really amazing too, highlighting Demi’s masterful vocals and a more mature route lyrically (which I sort of wish she went for as a whole): “The feelings got lost in my lungs, they’re burning/I’d rather be numb,” she cries out. Total Clarkson. And that almighty harmonizing at the very end? SANG, GIRL.

Like “Give Your Heart A Break,” “Heart Attack” sees Demi toeing the line between post-Disney princess and Full-Fledged Adult Pop Star. We’re nearly there now, apart from the occasionally cringe lyrics–so let’s just pray there’s no song on the album called “You’re My Only Shorty, Pt. II.”

For enthusiasts of lipsync-for-your-life friendly tunes or endlessly repeatable, powerhouse tween-pop with a jagged edge of angst, this one’s an obvious win.

Welcome back, Demetria. Now go wash your hair.

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“Heart Attack” was released on February 25. (iTunes)

  • http://twitter.com/ItsCMaddox Claudio Maddöx

    Always in love with your reviews.

  • http://twitter.com/jessikacuicapuz BUY HEART ATTACK NOW


  • Mark S.

    It bothers me how great female pop vocalists (Pink, Demi) seem to keep converging at Kelly Clarkson. They had their own sound or approach to pop or pop/rock, but it seems in the wake of Stronger’s (the single’s) success they keep nearing Kelly territory. It’s like you can just swap out the singers, and these talented vocalists deserve more than that. I love Demi, but the song flatlines for me. The music is just a bit too generic and the tween lyrics don’t overcome what I agree is a great bridge and chorus. I think if Demi stuck with R&B infused pop, she needed to think more Dallas Austin/Xemomania Sugababes instead of Timbaland. I think pop/rock is a tough place with Pink and Kelly conquering. If she went full on electro-pop, she could’ve taken Xenomania from Girls Aloud. There are still so many gaps in the American pop landscape she could have accessed. Unfortunately, American artists don’t seem to take much stock in the larger global pop landscape for inspiration. They look at the last three or four major hits on American radio and try to go back over it, sounding as original as possible. Overall though, I think Demi succeeds, but as with most artists, her claims of maturity and artistic growth have proven to be a bit overconfident.

  • http://www.facebook.com/khv.ho Kim Ho

    Fair Review, I really like the song too and definitely agree with you, it’s a nice and logical follow up to “give your heart a break”, although it’s not ground breaking. I definitely think it will be a semi-hit for her. I was afraid on first listen, i thought she would go all dubstep on us, but fortunately I was wrong!

    Keep up the good work Brad

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaPingley Joshua Pingley

    I was hoping for a club banger based on the opening to be honest.

  • SpectrumSayYourName

    It sounds like a reject from a Kelly Clarkson collection. I like Demi Lovato and all, but girl, stop trying so hard to be like her. We get it, you like her because she’s quite cool (even if she’s curvy). But if I wanted to hear a music like Kelly’s, I should just listen to her voice not anyone else. I’ve stopped listening to Pink ever since she attempted to have a Stronger single success with Blow Me but she failed. Plus, EDM is leaving sooner than expected, why are you still releasing music like that? But at least, Kelly’s moving on to country now, she’ll do just fine there. I can’t say the same for you.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristopheRay Chris Lawson

    lol you can always make me laugh, love it