Cool for the Summer (Jump Smokers Remix)
Label: Hollywood Records
Backed by ubiquitous pop brass, the former Disney star warns us, “I’m the boss right now,” and there’s no doubt Lovato controls the narrative. With this, her first post-X Factor release, she raises a fun racket, like that pool party a few houses down threatening to spin out of control. But the mood here is one of transition: old ways left behind (“it was fun playing with knives”) and experimentation ahead. Speaking of experimentation, the ambiguous ache of “Cool for the Summer” is a highlight, even if the tribute to her deceased father brings things to an emotional conclusion.