Demi Lovato’s release of the “Dancing with the Devil” music video recreates the singer’s 2018 near-fatal drug overdose, sexual assault and the harrowing recovery that followed. From the green jacket she wore that night to the drug dealer standing over her unconscious body.
Hospital tubes sewn into her neck meant to pump out her blood, clean it, and pump it back in. The video ends with a sponge bath, the sponge dragging over her “survivor” tattoo in the same place those neck tubes had been in.
Each detail is crafted to bring deeper meaning to an already unexpectedly powerful song.
“Dancing with the Devil” is one of many in Lovato’s album of the same title and serves as a powerful promo to her YouTube documentary series also titled “Dancing with the Devil… the Art of Starting Over.”
The lush melody of this new album shows off Lovato’s talent. She belts out her story and stuns anyone listening. To a casual listener, they might just assume that Lovato sounds great because she worked to improve her voice.
Those who watch the YouTube series will realize her voice sounds so revitalized because of the forced two-year vocal rest she went through as she fought for her life. Her lyrics and the power behind her voice exposes the raw pain and healing she’s had to go through.
In the second episode of her latest documentary, she talks about just how bad the July 24, 2018 overdose rocked her six-year sobriety.
“I had three strokes,” Lovato says. “I had a heart attack. I suffered brain damage from the strokes. I can’t drive anymore. And I have blind spots in my vision, so sometimes when I go to, like, pour a glass of water, I’ll, like, totally miss the cup because I can’t see it anymore. I also had pneumonia ’cause I asphyxiated, and multiple organ failure.”
The explanation of her story certainly gives a new life to lyrics like “playing with the enemy, gambling with my soul/ It’s so hard to say no/ When you’re dancing with the devil.”
“Dancing with the Devil” leads off with her 2020 single “Anyone,” a compelling ballad and the first singing appearance since that life-changing overdose.
Other notable songs in the album include “What Kind of Lover I Am.” The song acts as a dating profile, allowing Lovato to blow off some steam and force herself to goof off.
But the tone changes again with “Melon Cake,” a musing of her struggle with eating disorders and a constant reminder that the harshness of life is always looming around the corner.
The album, though it seems like a typical pop-sounding album at surface level, is so much more than that. It’s a real, honest look into the most intimate parts of Demi Lovato’s life. It’s her story, her struggle, and her therapy all wrapped up in one.
There’s a raw energy to it that makes every song compelling, even if the lyrics might not seem earth-shattering.
To all those that listen to the album, or even a few of the songs, also watch the YouTube documentary series the album accompanies. It flips the whole perspective and affirms Lovato’s place in the music industry, one that so many critics had tried to strip away from her back when she was continuously producing music.