By Melissa Maerz
Updated September 14, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT
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There are two ways for pop stars to make a Survivor Album: either power-sing through your problems like Christina Aguilera, or make like Rihanna and dance till you forget what you’re supposed to be getting over. On her first release since checking out of rehab, Demi Lovato wants to have it both ways. She’s front-loaded Unbroken with leave-no-synth-effect-behind R&B (”You’re My Only Shorty,” featuring Iyaz), shy love-in-this-club tracks (”Who’s That Boy”), and Timbaland bangers (”All Night Long,” with Missy Elliott). So it’s a little unnerving when she gets to the album’s second half — the part where, as she told Ryan Seacrest, ”I’m singing about some issues that I’ve never even spoken about before.” Having struggled with cutting since she was a preteen, Lovato admits, ”I ended up with wounds to bind…and I just ran out of Band-Aids” on the hugely affecting ballad ”Fix a Heart.” The piano confessional ”For the Love of a Daughter” finds her picturing herself at age 4, begging her dad to ”put the bottle down” and keep his ”selfish hands” to himself. And then there’s ”Skyscraper,” an anthem so honest you can hear her voice breaking. Clearly it’s been a tough year for Lovato. But as Rihanna could tell her, sometimes bad years make great songs. B+

Download These:
All Night Long about curfew-busting with Missy Elliott
Bleeding-love ballad Fix a Heart


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  • Laura Hillenbrand
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