Features | Awards

The Jordin Sparks Award for Special Achievement in Labored, Horrible Metaphor

By Chet Betz | 13 December 2011

Demi Lovato :: “Skyscraper”
from Unbroken
(Hollywood; 2011)

For the discerning CMG reader this one’s probably pretty self-explanatory, but let’s recap: girl spends entire song comparing herself to a skyscraper. It’s a cringe-inducing gimmick in the grand contemporary pop tradition of “Bleeding Love,” “Fireworks,” and every Jordin Sparks single ever, this treating of a wonky analogy as if it’s the Holy Grail of songwriting. But Lovato out-Jordins Jordin with this one, melodrama at full-blast as she grates out her proclamation: “Go on and try to tear me down / I will be rising from the ground / Like a skyscraper.” I get it, sure, it’s a city girl’s anthem of empowerment—it’s just that it would be one thing if this skyscraper business was only a one-off line amidst a slew of other trite lyrics, but it’s the song’s sole focus and emphasis. This forces us to linger on the simile and lingering brings us to all kinds of probably unwanted connotations, like the fact that this Disney Channel diva is saying that she’s actually a cold, sterile, static product of engineering and modernism, owned by some multi-billion dollar corporation. On second thought, maybe the metaphor isn’t so bad, after all.