Jennifer Lopez – LOVE?

July 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Jennifer Lopez | Leave a comment
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  1. On The Floor (feat. Pitbull)
  2. Good Hit
  3. I’m Into You (feat. Lil Wayne)
  4. (What Is) Love?
  5. Run The World
  6. Papi
  7. Until It Beats No More
  8. One Love
  9. Invading My Mind
  10. Villain
  11. Starting Over
  12. Hypnotico
  13. Everybody’s Girl
  14. Charge Me Up
  15. Take Care
  16. On The Floor (Ven a Bailar) (feat. Pitbull)

It’s been years since Jennifer Lopez has been in the spotlight but she has made a successful comeback this year with LOVE?, her seventh album. After the lackluster reception of her previous albums and the failure of her single Louboutins, she was dropped by Sony Music Entertainment. She was then signed to Island Def Jam and with her exposure on American Idol her popularity started to rise once again. I’ve never listened to any of her albums and I’m only familiar with her hit singles but I decided to check out her new album because of the positive responses it’s been receiving.

On The Floor (feat. Pitbull) samples Llorando se fue by Los Kjarkas and it’s her biggest hit in the last 8 years. This is a huge club banger with Latin influences and it’s quite a departure from her old sound. The intro sets the song up really well with sick synths and a great drum beat. I don’t care much for Pitbull but his raps in the song are good. The verses are where the song shines because J.Lo’s vocals are energetic and I like how she incorporates the title into them, “if you go hard you gotta get on the floor/if you’re a party freak then step on the floor/if you’re an animal then tear up the floor/break a sweat on the floor/yeah we work on the floor.” It’s the most memorable portion of the song because I find the chorus to be lacking. The energy in the song is great but when it gets to the chorus and it slows down it kind of ruins the excitement that the verses created. The good thing is that the energy starts to pick up and it comes back in with her fun chanting, “tonight we gon’ be it on the floor.” If the chorus was as good as the verses and if it wasn’t so repetitive it would be a fantastic club anthem. Sadly, it’s just your run-of-the-mill dance tune. It still is a great effort for J.Lo and I understand why it’s been so successful. Good Hit continues where the previous song left off and it opens with someone counting in Spanish which is quite overused. She performs in a rap-like manner with some effects on her vocals and the arrangement consists of heavy beats and synths. It comes off as generic and her vocal delivery isn’t very good. The pre-chorus is a little better because the melody is more energetic. The chorus uses a variety of vocal layers, resulting in a very messy and confused sound, “don’t you wish I was your boo/I got that good hit (la la la la)/don’t you wish I was your boo.” The backing vocals sound like they were randomly thrown in and it doesn’t have anything that makes it catchy. Nothing changes in the bridge but she sounds better and it’s a bit more interesting.

I’m Into You (feat. Lil Wayne) opens with catchy “na na nananana nana na-ehs” and exotic percussion. The drum beats give off a nice tropical feel and it has a contagious summer sound. I can’t stand Lil Wayne and his inclusion is unnecessary because J.Lo could have carried the song by herself. She sounds great with her lively and sweet vocals, “listen, now I’m strong baby I bring the fire on/sharp shooter, you can call me the zion/I’m not the one easy to get to/but all that changed, baby when I met you.” The song fumbles in the pre-chorus because of the repetition and Lil Wayne’s vocals. It doesn’t sound that good but the chorus is much better and it’s quite catchy, “when I look into your eyes, it’s over/you’ve got me hooked with your love controller.” The synths elevate the summer feel and the shouting backing vocals are a nice touch. This song would have been much better without Lil Wayne but it’s still a good song. The best song on the album is the title track (What Is) Love?. There’s a ton of catchy chanting and the melody is vibrant with addicting, sweet synths. Her vocals are amazing on this song. She hasn’t sounded this good before and she puts forward the perfect amount of emotion, “I’ve tried every age/I’m so tired of the game/I wanna be somebody’s girl/would you show me the way?” The verses consist of light synths and some nice beats but the chorus features a lot more synths and she performs with much stronger vocals, “what if I never find and I’m left behind?/should I keep hoping for love?/what if I’m still the same?/status doesn’t change?” The repetition in the post-chorus is much better than the last few tracks and its super catchy. For the bridge, twinkling synths are incorporated and her vocals are on fire. I’m impressed by how good she sounds on this song. This is one of the best songs she’s done and it’s definitely the highlight of the album.

J.Lo goes for a hip hop sound with Run The World but it doesn’t work out well. The intro is bad and the male vocals sound horrible. It gets a little better when J.Lo begins to sing in a talk-like manner. Her vocals are fresh and her sweet tone goes well with the cool hip hop beats, “Bonnie Clyde/no other girl will ever ride like I ride/that’s why you need me on your passenger side.” The chorus features some interesting backing vocals and it uses lyrics from the pre-chorus, “I’ll be your anything, everything, rock’n’roll with you/things get too hot out in the cold with you/froze froze with you/me and you together/our love could run the world.” It’s quite good but it’s too repetitive. The music tones down in the bridge, the synths are soothing and her vocals become more serious. Overall, it’s a cute song but it’s not something I can see myself listening to a lot. The album gets fired up with Papi, another dance-pop tune that incorporates Latin influences. The intro is sure to catch anyone’s attention with its rapid drum beats that get more intense as the song progresses and the heavy synths are so addicting. J.Lo’s vocals are stunning and she sounds very sexy, “let all the heat pour down/I’m good as long as he’s around/he lets me wear the crown/I do my best to make him proud.” The percussion fades for the pre-chorus and the synths take over until it explodes into the fiery chorus. Her pronunciation of the lyrics adds to the Latin flair and it’s just down right catchy, “move your body, move your body/dance for your papi.” The energy never dies down and the Spanish bridge is predictable but it’s still sexy.

The album is taken in a different direction with Until It Beats No More. It’s a lovely electronic ballad with a piano and some light synthesizers. Her vocals are surprisingly gorgeous and the deep tone she uses in the verses sound great. In the chorus she sings in a slightly higher tone and she hits some really nice notes, “cuz I’m alive, I can breathe, I can feel, I believe/and there ain’t no doubt about it, there ain’t no doubt about it/I’m in love/and it’s all because of you.” She moves into a sweeter tone for the bridge and the notes that she belts in the final chorus add to the emotional atmosphere. I didn’t think J.Lo could pull off a song like this but she definitely proved me wrong. One Love has a bit of a hip hop flair due to the shouting male backing vocals, percussion and J.Lo’s singing style. The hip hop feel comes out more in the verses but I prefer the chorus because she sounds better and her vocals are more emotional, “is there one love, only once in a life time/it’s too hard to find/the perfect one to call mine.” It’s a typical pop song but there are some good moments that make it a fairly enjoyably listen.

Invading My Mind doesn’t waste anytime getting started and it opens with its chorus, “it’s invading my mind/and breaking the ice/I can’t fight it/this feeling is invading my, my mind.” The song is filled with hardcore percussion and blasting synths that are crazy addicting. The verses are fire and they have so much energy.  The vocoded backing vocals really add to the overall atmosphere, “can’t decide /can’t define/what I feel inside/it’s so bad, it’s still good/prefer and love?” Pounding beats are added to the next chorus which gives it a lot more edge but it’s not as good as the verses. The verses are a bit darker than the chorus and if the chorus incorporated that feel it would be much better. I have the same problem with the bridge. It would have been much more memorable with the sound of the verses. However, the song is still fantastic and it’s one of the better tracks on the album. Villain is a dark dance-pop song and even though it isn’t getting much love from others, I like it quite a bit. The melody is made up of typical, buzzing synths and beats which never really change but it draws you in. I like her vocals because she uses a soft, sexy tone and the relaxed melody suits the vocals well. The chorus is a bit catchier and has some dramatic moments, “there’s no need to call me on the phone/telling me how much your alone/enemy of my state of mind/now I’m the villain, I’m the villain.” The male backing vocals throughout the song, especially in the chorus, sound great and add the dark mood. The best moment is the post-chorus because of her addicting ad-libs, “lalalalalalalalala/baby, I’m the villain/baby, I’m the villain.” I’ve never heard her go for this type of sound and the outcome is great.

Starting Over is a gorgeous mid-tempo and a standout track. The piano is stunning and the clapping, thumping beats create an urgent feel. The verses are massively addicting and J.Lo’s vocals are lovely. They bounce perfectly to the upbeat nature of the melody, “he’s all right, he’s all wrong/he’s a player, he’s a dog/he’s my friend, he’s my foe/I just can’t leave him, I can’t go.” The chorus takes on a more ballad-like feel and she begins to sing in a strong, passionate tone for a few lines before she moves to a much softer tone, “nobody wants to be the one breaking up/I’m down on my knees and praying for this love.” The bridge, like the chorus, is softer than the verses and while she doesn’t have the most powerful voice she does hit a nice note at the end of it. I like the fresh sound of this song and it was an instant favourite for me. Hypnotico opens with loud, heavy synths with J.Lo shouting, “all the girls that know that they’re sexy/come on!” It’s definitely an attention grabber and she performs with fiery, sexy vocals, “love me for my body/I’m original sexy/hypnoti-notico, hypnoti-notico.” The repetition of the title in the verses is infectious and will have you singing along in no time. Clapping beats are added to the chorus and it becomes even more upbeat when it’s repeated, “all the boys, all love it when we do our thing/we’re just some silly heartbreakers tonight (tonight).” The bridge is just as fun and J.Lo’s vocals are full of energy. This is a great club banger and one that will have many people moving on the dance floor. At first I thought that Everybody’s Girl wasn’t anything special but it has some nice moments. The strongest part is the verses which are filled with soft, pulsing synths and I like the flow of her vocals, “let’s play a game /let’s just pretend like you don’t know who I am.” The chorus is too vocoded but the beat is groovy and the repetition is really catchy, “can you love somebody when they’re everybody’s girl?/can you love the girl, can you love the girl, can you love the girl?

Charge Me Up has a dance-pop beat that sounds like many other songs I’ve heard before. All the ingredients for a hit song are used such as synths and hard beats but there’s nothing here that makes it stand out from the other songs. The song is catchy though and the chorus has great energy, “charge me up baby, charge me up once and again/I’m dancing in the danger zone/so wired up but I just want another dose.” The drum heavy bridge provides a nice surprise and switches the sound up a bit. Take Care is a drastic departure from the rest of the album and it’s the weakest song because of it. The introduction isn’t all that great and it sets the song up on a bad note. It’s an urban/hip hop song but it comes off as extremely dull. The repetition is grating rather than catchy and while it sounds like she’s trying to be fun it just doesn’t work, “I need my baby like I need air/I need air, I need air/I need my baby cause he take me there.” The melody does nothing to keep me interested and it just drags on with the same sound. It’s a good thing that this is the shortest song on the album. On The Floor (Ven a Bailar) (feat. Pitbull) is the Spanish version of her hit single and that’s the only difference. My opinion on the song is the same and if you like the English version you’ll enjoy this one as well.

Conclusion: For being my first J.Lo album, LOVE?, isn’t all that bad. It’s not groundbreaking by any means but it’s a good dance-pop album and she sticks close by to the formula of today’s music scene. The album is safe and doesn’t do anything different which affects the listening experience. If she was more daring the album would be a lot more memorable. In the end, LOVE? is an average pop album that is enjoyable but if you’re looking for something different or amazing this probably won’t be for you.

Recommended Tracks: (What Is) Love?, Hypnotico, Invading My Mind, Starting Over and Until It Beats No More



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