Demi Lovato Does Her Best Katy Perry Impression in ‘Cool for the Summer’
“Cool for the Summer” leaked early yesterday, but today Lovato officially released it into the world. And while her fans appear happy to hear new music — Lovato last released an album more than two years ago — many of them are noting that the song sounds less like a Lovato song and much, much, much more like an early Perry song.
Thematically, “Summer” dips its toes into the same waters Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” explored back in 2008. In “Summer”‘s pre-chorus, Lovato sings, “Got a taste for the cherry / I just need to take a bite.” Considering “I Kissed a Girl” is only seven years old, it will be impossible for listeners not to draw a comparison to Perry’s subtler “cherry Chapstick” line. In the chorus, Lovato continues her coy same-sex flirtation, proclaiming, “Take me down into your paradise / don’t be scared ‘cuz I’m your body type.” It’s just as exploitative as Perry’s song, though its dependence on terrible innuendo — at least Perry came right out and said it! — makes it somewhat more insufferable and ever-so-slightly offensive.
It speaks to the thoroughness of Lovato’s, uh, homage that, in addition to sounding like any number of Perry songs (but especially “I Kissed a Girl”), the song melodically echoes Jessie J’s “Domino,” which itself featured an incredibly blatant aping of Perry’s style. In short, this song is such a ripoff of Perry’s work that it also rips off pre-existing ripoffs.
Still, “Summer” is not a bad song. It’s catchy. It’s playful. (Considering Lovato’s usual heavy-handedness, playful is more than welcome.) The Max Martin production is nice (if a little too noisy in parts). Normally, Lovato sounds strained and screechy in her music, but not here. She sounds relaxed and happy, confident even. She sounds like a superior pop star. Unfortunately, in this case, that superior pop star is not Lovato herself.