Monday, 11 April 2011

Love?: The New J-Lo


James Christopher Sheppard reviews
Love?
by Jennifer Lopez

Following a prolonged break from topping the charts, Jennifer Lopez returns with her seventh studio album and the first since 2007, Love? First single, ‘On the Floor’ smashed it’s way to the top of the UK singles chart last week, knocking Adele’s massive hit ‘Someone Like You’ off the chart summit, which has raised excitement about the new material. Here’s how the leaked tracks are sounding so far.

‘On the Floor’ (featuring Pitbull)

What is it about Pitbull? He seems to crop up in the most obscure places, having been featured on Enrique Iglesias, Alexandra Burke and Usher tracks all in the past year, to name just a few. No matter how unlikely the pairings seem to be, however, it seems to guarantee a hit, and this is no exception. An appealing dance track, incorporating the sounds of Kaoma’s 1989 hit ‘Lambada’, the J-Lo track ‘Waiting for Tonight’ and something that screams the latest Sugababes work with Red One, who also produced this, the only thing this lacks is originality.

‘Good Hit’

‘I got that good hit’ Jennifer sings on the intro. If Lopez is trying to secure her place back at the top of the ghetto divas, it might be worth being less censored and actually using ‘shit’. With a great beat, this track holds some promise, but is completely ruined by the never-ending auto-tune on Jennifer’s vocals. It literally does not stop and trashes what would otherwise be a decent track.

‘I’m Into You’ (featuring Lil Wayne)

Second single from the album, ‘I’m Into You’ continues the Latin-tinged summer beat already and could well be as big as ‘On the Floor’. The only real problem is the very repetitive boring chorus ‘I’m into you, I’m into you, I’m into you, yeah, yeah yeah’. Really?

‘What is Love’

The melody is almost a slowed down version of ‘On the Floor’, yet still succeeds in feeling fresher that both ‘Good Hit’ and ‘I’m Into You’. It’s refreshing to hear Lopez actually sing and hear some emotion behind the vocal. No auto-tune and no guest rapper, this feels more authentically J-Lo. A breezy, relatable song, that hears a girl longing for love. A triumph- more like this please Jenny from the block.

‘Run the World’ (featuring The-Dream)

This tempo is where Lopez appears to be at ease and effortless. Charming and breezy, ‘Run the World’ is destined to played at all the barbeques this summer.

‘Until it Beats No More’

A pleasant enough ballad at first, but the verses are better than the chorus. Let’s face it, Lopez can sing, but her range isn’t great and she is not a belter. This song is too big for her. As the song progresses, Jennifer’s voice fails her more and more and actually becomes quite hard to listen to.

‘One Love’

The thrillingly boring and uninspired title describes the song pretty well. No amount of synths can excite anyone here. Skip.

‘Villain’

Oh dear God. Within the first minute it’s established that some over excited vocal arranger had the bright idea to make the verses sound completely out of tune. Some kind of attempt at sounding dark and brooding and sexy… Awful. This is more 1998 than 2011. And bad 1998 at that.

‘Starting Over’

Sounding remarkably flat, ‘Starting Over’ is not a strong point on the album. Featuring messy production that doesn’t come together at all and a cat-strangling chorus of ‘nobody wants to be the one breaking up’, this is possibly the worst track from Love?

Verdict
Love?  is a far cry from the J-Lo of old. With only three or four fairly good tracks so far, this looks set to be another disappointing release from Lopez, and may even be the least cohesive selection of tracks she has ever released. Stick to your glittering movie career Jen, we love to see you shine.

Love? is due for release on 2nd May 2011 on Mercury Records

James Christopher Sheppard is a London based freelance writer. For more of his music journalism, poetry and blogging, visit his website Intellectual Intercourse. http://www.jameschristophersheppard.wordpress.com
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