Lost Hit: Demi Lovato’s “Wildfire” Should Have Been A Single
In this franchise, we highlight album tracks that should have been released as singles.
Demi Lovato cemented her status as one of pop’s reigning princesses with the release of Confident in 2015. The hitmaker kicked off the era with a frenetic outpouring of flirty temptations on her song of the summer contender, “Cool for the Summer.” Boasting a rip-roaring production courtesy of Swede-pop masterminds Max Martin and Ali Payami, it flew to the upper reaches of the charts and became a certified classic almost immediately.
The album’s campaign continued with the release of the self-assured title track as its second single. “What’s wrong with being confident,” Demi brazenly demands on her second larger-than-life production. However, after a strong start, Confident hit a wall with the selection of “Stone Cold” as its third single. The heartfelt ballad was an instant standout on the tracklist and garnered rave reviews. Unfortunately, it found no love on the charts.
After the misstep, she and her team decided to cut their losses and move on. But in doing so they missed out on an opportunity to release another album highlight, “Wildfire.” With production credits from StarGate and Mitch Allan and writing assistance from OneRepublic frontman, Ryan Tedder, and Nicole Morier, the anthem was a glimmering would-be hit that offered an opportunity to progress the siren’s sound in a new direction. While the remainder of serviceable pop songs on the LP fell in line with her earlier material, this showed personal and creative growth.
Boasting a smoldering production that crackled across the soundscape with glistening synths and haunting whispers of electronica, “Wildfire” is a seductive love song. On it, Demi pleads with a “matchstick king” to set her free, so they can start anew together. “We were going way to fast, chasing down the hourglass. Running from my past, headed out with no direction,” she chants over slinky beats on the opening lines. Building to the chorus, she makes her final plea. “Baby, you’re all I need. Come now, set me free, like a wildfire. Like a wildfire.”
The heady midtempo was a stark departure from the high-octane rides of “Cool for the Summer” or “Confident,” and it would have distinguished itself on pop radio. The anthem could have enjoyed a wild run on the charts and burnt its way to distinction as one of Demi’s most innovative releases. However, that was not to be. In 2016, the icon unveiled the equally sensual “Body Say” as a stand-alone single, and the following year she rolled out an album’s worth of forward-thinking productions on Tell Me You Love Me.
Although “Wildfire” never saw an official release, its simmering sound provided the groundwork for what was to come. The standout recording remains a highlight in her discography and helped give birth to her future. Revisit the slow-burner below!