“Substance” single art

There are few artists who are so young and yet have gone through so much as Demi Lovato. The talented, critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter has always seemed more mature than their years would allow, for better or worse. They have faced obstacle after obstacle both on and off stage, yet have persevered to become a proponent for a variety of social causes and the voice of a generation. As such, it’s no wonder that their latest pop-punk-tinged single, “Substance,” would ask some hard-hitting questions in the way only Lovato can.

“Substance” is ultimately about the superficiality of today’s world and how upsetting it can be to feel like this is all we have with which to live. Lovato points out in the pre-chorus how, “Woah, I know we’re all f**ing exhausted / Woah, am I in my head or have we all lost it?” before unleashing an unbridled tirade in the middle of the chorus: “Got high, it only left me lonely and loveless / Don’t wanna end up in a casket, head full of maggots / Body full of jack s***, I get an abundance.” They sound genuinely frustrated by the state of the world, which becomes more and more evident with each vitriolic lyric like, “But everyone’s acting like nothing is lacking / I think we might be crashing, everyone’s laughing / Time is just passing, yet nothing lasts” — not to mention the escalation of Lovato’s trademark belting as the song’s chorus repeats by the end.

Yet “Substance” isn’t necessarily an angry song. Rather, it points out through its pop-punk sound how it’s okay to feel frustrated by the world so long as you’re having fun while doing it — that one can rage against the superficiality of the world while aiming for better within themselves. “Substance” comes off of Lovato’s upcoming album, HOLY FVCK, and it’s no surprise that it sounds — and looks, in the case of the 2000’s-esque music video — like a loving tribute to pop-punk. Lovato sees this song and the album as returning to their roots, which fits the themes of “Substance” to a T. As Lovato says about the song:

“I’m so excited to share another taste of what’s in store for this album. We can all relate to searching for something more in life, and I want this song to make you feel like you’re having a damn good time while doing it.”

More effectively than any of their contemporaries, Lovato is able to reconcile the rebellious ethos of pop-punk into an anthem that resonates perfectly today, with a maturity and forwardness that’s all their own. The song is short but certainly not sweet — conveying all its cheeky anger and righteous eye-rolling at today’s modern world as only Lovato can.

Demi Lovato’s eighth studio album, HOLY FVCK, will release August 19 via Island Records. The 16-track album — available for pre-order here — will feature “Substance” and the already-released, acclaimed single, “Skin of My Teeth.” A 32-date tour to support the album will occur between August 30 and November 6 across North and South America — tickets are available here. In the meantime, be sure to get pumped up by watching the music video and listening to the Spotify for “Substance” below!

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