Thursday, April 28, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Jennifer Lopez's "Love?"

Ever since the birth of her fraternal twins, J.Lo's been working overtime to regain the momentum she once had—honestly, since before she became one half of Bennifer. In the early 2000s, she was a hot commodity in Hollywood, trying out different genres from fantasy sci-fi (The Cell), to rom-coms (The Wedding Planner), to dramas (Angel Eyes), to thrillers (Enough). Her success in films like Selena, Anaconda, and Out of Sight afforded her that right as the #1 Latina actress in Hollywood. And even with a short break from acting to launch her music career, she never lost the spotlight.

It wasn't until she started feeding into the tabloid machine that the tide turned. Every part of her life was up for sale, and instead of going back to being the Jenny from the Block that we all grew to love, she's still hawking perfume, clothing, and now cars. Where she once focused on her talent as a dancer and a charismatic party girl who relied on her own voice despite its limits, she's now shown more interest in exploiting her ASSets, projecting herself as young, promiscuous, and free (even channeling Beyonce in her video for "Good Hit"), and has given into this generation's poor contribution to the medium: autotune. The worst offender being the robotic "Good Hit," which is anything but.
Maybe we cut her a lot of slack back when she was a new kid. Maybe her lyrics were never Grammy-worthy, but I honestly don't remember them being this bad. There are references to a love-controller ("I'm Into You"), a Tonka truck ("On the Floor"), and busting at 'dem love haters (the unfortunately titled "Run The World"). The only tolerable tracks are the heartfelt "(What Is) Love?" and "Starting Over," because at least they seem to realistically reflect her current life.

Ultimately, it just seems like she's trying too hard to seem like she's not heartbroken by her recent divorce and that she's "still got it." There's a reason Mary J. Blige still has it. She acts her age and sings about adult topics. She doesn't pretend slang is still apart of her vernacular and she doesn't date back-up dancers (again!). Lopez should be going the Blige route not the Spears or Braxton route. Toni Braxton came back with a sultry new act and ended up singing in Las Vegas and starring in her own reality show. That does not a diva make. You go to Las Vegas to retire, not return.

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