I chose to analyze two different songs because there are a variety of terms and ideas within psychoanalytic criticism that all contribute individually to bring the criticism together as a whole. “Warrior” and “For The Love Of a Daughter” seemed appropriate to analyze from a psychoanalytic stand point because there are multiple hidden messages within the lyrics used by Demi Lovato.
According to Lois Tyson, “the unconscious is the storehouse of those painful experiences and emotions, those wounds, fears, guilty desires, and unresolved conflict we do not want to know because we feel like we will be overwhelmed by them” (Tyson 12). These songs represent Demi’s unconscious. They bring to life her greatest fears, her most painful experiences and the wounds she carries, whether they be visible or not. Instead of repressing her thoughts and expunge them from her mind, she brings them out through her music. The painful experiences do not appear to be able to be pushed aside, so instead they act as “designers” of her current life. The lyrics in these two songs give listeners a feeling of pain and hurt when listening to the tone of the music, though is one listens closely enough, the word usage does too.
Lois Tyson pointed out the example that if someone didn’t receive the love from a alcoholic father, they are likely to seek love in someone who is an alcoholic..seeking the love they were to never receive from their father, not realizing how self destructive that action was. That example alone led me to choosing the first song, “For The Love Of a Daughter” as a result of these lyrics:
Put the bottle down
For the love of a daughter/
It’s been five years
Since we’ve spoken last/
And you can’t take back
What we never had”
Demi is crying out for her father to stop his ways being an alcoholic. The words “and you can’t take back what we never had..” foreshadow the lack of love and affection between her and her father. The lyrics also represent the lack of relationship between the two, due to his self-destructive ways. Demi captivates two important concepts in psychoanalytic criticism: abandonment and family. Thanks to her fathers selfish actions, she will forever face abandonment issues and as a consequence will settle on relationships with men to fill the void her father left inside her.
“Oh, I can be manipulated
Only so many times/
Before even “I love you”
Starts to sound like a lie”
There are multiple different types of defenses that contribute to this criticism’s overall theme. The purpose of defenses are to keep the unconscious thoughts where they belong, out of sight and out of mind. One of the defenses is a fear of intimacy. Otherwise known as “the fear of emotional involvement with another human” (Tyson 15). In “For The Love Of a Daughter” the lines even “I love you start to sound like a lie” represent Demi’s fear of love and intimacy. With all of the hurt and pain her father has caused her, she has formed emotional distance and is not allowing herself to get close to him by believing even ‘I love you’ is now a lie.
“There’s a part of me I can’t get back/
A little girl grew up too fast/
All it took was once, I’ll never be the same”
As explained by Lois Tyson, core issues aren’t just a “‘bad hair day,’ they stay with us throughout life and determine our behavior” (Tyson 17). A considerable amount of Demi’s core issues can be found in the lyrics “a little girl grew up too fast.” The pain and struggles she faced in her life will be held close to her heart forever, whether she acknowledges the presence of them or not. The struggles made her grow up too fast, shaping her actions during childhood and teenage years around the issues she previously experienced.
“I’ve got shame, I’ve got scars
That I will never show”
The lyrics “that I will never show” represent a sort of attempt at repressing her past experiences. By not showing her scars Demi is attempting to expunge these issues from her conscious mind, with the idea of “out of sight, out of mind.” Psychoanalytic criticism is all about unresolved emotions and fears, directly found in both pieces of music by Demi.
Lovato, Demi. For The Love Of a Daughter. Demi Lovato. Toby Gad, 2009. MP3.
Lovato, Demi. Warrior. Demi Lovato. Emanuel Kiriakou, 2013. MP3.
Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-friendly Guide. New York: Garland Pub., 1999. Print.