Demi makes her return following a long and hard journey of struggle and recovery. Dancing With The Devil...The Art of Starting Over is Demi’s first album following her 2018 overdose and subsequent hospitalization and recovery. It is accompanied by her new YouTube docuseries, Dancing With The Devil, in which she and her friends and family recount the events leading up to the overdose and what followed after. It is a deep dive into Demi’s past struggles and why this album is significant. Her first performance following her year and a half-long hiatus was at the 2020 Grammy Awards, where she performed the first single off of the album, “Anyone,” which essentially represents a cry for help. At the beginning of the performance, she got overwhelmed with emotion, but after starting it over, she gave a powerful performance that marked her long-awaited comeback. A week later, she performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl, fulfilling her decade-old desire to do so.
The album’s lead single “Dancing With The Devil” is about Demi’s mindset when she overdosed in 2018. The music video is a reenactment of her trying to be brought back to life and her in the hospital. “ICU (Madison’s Lullabye)” is about her younger sister, Madison, and the moment Demi woke up in the hospital. Upon waking up, she literally could not see her sister who was standing by the bedside, hence the double entendre with “ICU.” Then comes the track titled “Intro,” and the song that follows is “The Art Of Starting Over,“ which represents the beginning of Demi’s journey toward recovery following the first three songs in which Demi was in a very dark place, still suffering.
There are four collaborations on the album. “Met Him Last Night” features Ariana Grande, and according to Demi, although Ariana played a big role in putting the track together for Demi, she did not originally intend to be on the track until Demi convinced her. “What Other People Say” with Sam Fischer is about both Demi’s past struggles with addiction and her family’s history with it. “Easy” with Noah Cyrus is a piano ballad about struggling to leave a relationship. “My Girlfriends Are My Boyfriend” featuring Saweetie is a trap, pop-rap anthem about the importance of having supportive friends.
In “California Sober” Demi embraces the reality of struggling with addiction. According to her, this song is all about moderation and the healing process: she sings “it doesn’t have to mean the growing part is over.” “Good Place” is a reflection of how far Demi has come in dealing with her struggles and her pride in where she is in her life today. She admits in the song that it took a while to get here, but she is in a good place now. This is a perfect end to the album. As Demi describes in her YouTube series, she has dealt with years of addiction, mental health issues, eating disorders, and has even been abused. Dancing With The Devil...The Art of Starting Over gave us a good look into where she was and how she got to where she is today.