Dove Cameron tells her emotionally complex story with a new, euphonious sound


It’s really not about her success on Liv and Maddie. As often as this has been assumed, it’s simply not why I admire Dove Cameron. 

It’s her story that draws me in, and it’s the enlightened manner with which she approaches her life that holds me captive. For a twenty-three-year-old, Cameron has experienced an inordinate portion of the tragedy that life has to offer. 

And despite the fact that I’ve never met her, my soul aches for her sorrows every time she faces new heartbreak. 

Yet, she exudes strong vulnerability, never holding back the reality of her mountains and valleys. 

Through the medium of melodies, her story is unfolding piece by piece in a glowing wonder of life. 

After nearly six years of hinting at new music, Cameron released two songs on Sept. 27 of 2019: “Bloodshot” and “Waste.” The two songs are vessels of entirely different emotions. 

“Waste” is a vivid expression of rabidly passionate love. The opening notes are strongly reminiscent of “Issues” by Julia Michaels, but they slowly transition to a broken-up beat complimented by Cameron’s fluid and tragic vocals. 

The song is like an echo of upbeat, never quite reaching the “pop” sound that’s expected. But I didn’t feel cheated, rather, very entranced by the methodical beat and honestly desperate lyrics. 

“Waste,” Cameron admitted, is about her very public relationship with her boyfriend, Thomas Doherty. While it initially sounds sad and almost frustrated, the lyrics express infatuation that can barely be helped. 

The music video, in dark shades of black and white, expresses an old film vibe that fits perfectly with the mood of the song. It features Cameron, dressed in a Bohemian outfit, gently dancing in an open expanse. Her candid essence further communicates the pure emotions of “Waste,” and her progressively passionate movements match the ramping level of desperate love.

“Bloodshot” leaves behind the passion of “Waste” for a song about deep loss. While it sounds like a breakup song, Cameron revealed that it’s not; it’s simply a song about the intense pain of grief. Whether it’s in reference to the loss of her father, her close friend and co-star, Cameron Boyce, or any of the other significant losses she’s endured is unclear, but the meaning of the song is so potent that it barely matters. 

Cameron’s voice comes across lighter in this song—more intimate than “Waste”—yet it also has a more rounded sound. The beat has a wider variety, building to a deeply touching chorus that nearly garners chills. Her voice echoes more, building on itself as the song progresses. 

The volume and depth of her voice, accompanied by the moving beat, make this song my favorite of the four that she’s released so far. There’s something so inherently sad about it and a certain intensity to is as well: an intensity that can barely be called an intensity. 

Everything about this song contradicts. It’s both soft and bold, round and thin, climactic and sheer. 

The music video for “Bloodshot” is similar to that of “Waste,” presenting in varying shades of blacks and whites, however noticeably lighter hues. Cameron’s outfit is similarly Bohemian, and she exudes a very true presence, but the video retains none of the passion and tempting excitement of “Waste.”

Cameron’s every movement expresses a deep sadness, and even echoes of a smile rarely flit across her face. 

Despite the wholly sad nature of the song, more sunlight filters into the background of the video, somehow representing an out of touch happiness that once was. This happiness reaches a peak in Cameron’s next song, “So Good,” released on November 1st of this year. 

“So Good”  is so starkly different from her previous singles, both in the sound and the air of the music video. 

“So Good” is about the highest of highs, the moments when the sadness dissipates and gives way to unadulterated happiness. Cameron introduces a lighter, airier tone that oddly reminds me a bit of Ariana Grande. 

However, “So Good” still retains the sound that Cameron is developing in her new music. It’s gentle and fluid, very expressive of her personality. 

Petals of rose gold meander through the sound, like the fizziness of champagne. It exudes a tangible happiness that bubbled up from the depths of my soul the first time I listened and reverberated upon each consecutive time. 

The music video for “So Good” is by far my favorite of her four songs, and it’s a perfect visual representation of the lyrics and sound. It begins in darker lighting, slowly brightening to disclose an ethereal image of Cameron adorned in bright flowers and plants. 

The rich and smooth hues that populate the video bring an equally grounding and otherworldly mood to the song, and Cameron shines in the center. The song and video so perfectly paint a picture of simple happiness—the next chapter in Cameron’s story of growth. 

Released on Dec 6th of 2019,  Cameron’s most recent single, “Out of Touch,” depicts escape from a rigid box. 

It’s bolder and more vibrant than any of her recent singles, both in sound and visuals. There’s a heavy intensity about the instrumentals in the background, not desperate like “Waste,” simply frustrated and craving. 

Cameron’s voice is a low and honeyed stream with a melody that flows more than her other songs, while still maintaining the punching beat that she creates with her spaced words. 

“Out of Touch” is inherently about love—but the darker, more complicated side of love. Her lyrics breathe virtues of forgiveness, acceptance, and whole-hearted realization. She recognizes the nuances of love that encompass being the other half to a person’s soul.

The music video sheds the soft and ethereal quality of her videos, adopting a daring and vivid color scheme and setting. Even Cameron herself exudes a dauntless and audacious presence. As she brakes from this shell, her movements are almost awkward—not unsure, simply growing into themselves. 

The urban vibe is punctuated by Cameron’s leather outfit and bright orange jacket, a pop of color in the black expanse of night. 

“Out of Touch” is a chapter of bold fearlessness in the face of asking for what Cameron knows she wants. It’s certainly not the end of the story her songs will continue to tell, but it’s the temporary zenith of her self-acceptance—a peak that will surely be surpassed as the story of her music unfolds.

With only four songs, Cameron’s music is already imbued with her spirit and voice. It tells a story, unlike any other music I’ve heard, and the eloquence with which she tells that story is beyond that of any song with a simple peppy beat.