10 May 2011
Jennifer Lopez is a business woman. After wisely taking a spell following her 2007 release, Brave to have a family, the 41-year-old eased her way back into public consciousness as American Idol's newest judge last year. Her successful re-entry into the world of pop put her in that position to call upon some of America’s most storied songwriters and producers, such as RedOne, Lady Gaga, Taio Cruz, Lil Wayne, Pitbull and Tricky Stewart for her seventh full length, Love?
Lopez has saved the limelight for herself, in an effort to replicate the same R’n’B-pop she made her trademark over a decade ago. With just two tracks on the album to feature another artist, this certainly isn't a guest-fuelled release, as is the fashion. Ironic, considering the album title, a lack of heart is what most holds this album back.
Album opener and first single On The Floor (featuring Pitbull) is sadly, the best she’s got on the record. This track is dance-pop at its most shallow but shouldn’t be stigmatised because of it. It’s fun, thought-free and catchy. In fact, many of the tracks follow this lead but often fall short, in part due to the high expectations foisted onto this album. If she hadn’t cut gems like Get Right, Play and Ain’t It Funny perhaps Love? would be more celebrated on this end. But with tracks like Good Hit, I’m Into You and Run The World, that are heavily reliant on autotune and lyrics you just don’t expect (or want) from a 41-year-old, it’s just too unconvincing. Even the Lady Gaga composed track Hypnotico should have Lopez rethinking her artistic collaborations.
However, the track One Love inspires a sigh of relief; Lopez is acting her age with biographical lyrical content that is believable. Tellingly, this is the only track she penned herself.
Papi is more reminiscent of the Brave circa 2007 album when she discovered dance-pop, still with repetitive lyrics like “Move your body, dance for your Papi,” J.Lo again trips and falls flat.
Although each track may triumph in compositional terms, the collection just isn’t credible enough to be presented as an album. Rather this comes across as an idea, tone and voice that has been pumped through the marketing cogs and subsequently vomited out singles; singles which may have been hits had they been sung by a newcomer, rather than attached to the latest JLo project.
No doubt Love? will heat up wintery dance floors over the next few months with sugary dance-pop beats and untenanted lyrics, but at album number seven, one would have hoped Lopez would have either moved forward from themes more shallow than a shower or at the very least taken us back to the days of Jenny from the block.
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