Love don”t cost a thing and neither should the latest album by Jennifer Lopez, unbecomingly titled J. Lo. After her name has been smeared over the papers she should have titled the album Mis Problemas con Amantes Criminales. She may have been one of the best-dressed women of the past year with her Versace Grammy dress that ranked along side Britney Spears” VMA outfit, or the lack thereof. This is a fitting comparison for Miss Lopez who should be ranked alongside Miss Spears after churning out the latest predictable pop album. Like her Grammy dress, J. Lo bears all, but unfortunately it is not quite as attractive a sight.
The album opens with the first single released, “Love Don”t Cost a Thing.” The track is catchy with great beats. It is followed by “I”m Real,” which is reminiscent of an old “80s dance track you might find on Madonna”s You Can Dance, although the song is modernized with synth-voice mixing and also incorporates the increasingly popular string arrangements. It was finally in the fourth track that I found something danceworthy from the former fly girl in “Walking on Sunshine.”
Although, the amount of Latin music as compared to the amount in On the 6 (Lopez”s previous attempt at music) is debatable, it is definitely lacking what the fledgling Latin movement needed from their leading Latin lady. It is not until five tracks into the album that there is something clearly Latin. “Ain”t It Funny” although having an opener remarkably similar to “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” by Whitney Houston and Enrique Iglesias, changed my mind that the album was a total loss. Though it did not have the power of “Let”s Get Loud,” the classic Latin dance track that got brushed under the rug from her former album, it does have potential to be brought up by future comprehensive dance re-mixes.
The south-of-the-border beat was kept up in the following track “Caring.” Unfortunately, even though she goes on to sing to more songs in Spanish on the album, it lacks a strong power ballad or duet such as “No Me Ames” from On the 6 with Latin vocal prodigy Marc Anthony. Lopez accurately sums it up best for her lack of Latino pride that hinders the recent movement, “Estoy loca!” on track five.
Critical focus should be given to its flaws, such as track seven”s vulgarity in its double entendre and the unladylike trash talk problem that has now invaded her album. “Secretly” was an incredibly scary secret because it might have been mistaken for a misplaced track from Janet Jackson”s sleepy self-titled album. Also, Miss Lopez and other pop stars please don”t beg the DJ to put your record on. Madonna had the last call on that one, its done.
I hope Lopez”s close compadres, more than a dozen producers, a vocal consultant, over 30 songwriters (more than nine of them on one song), and a liberal use of Pro Tools, are satisfied with their latest pop album masquerading as a Spanish/Hip hop breakthrough.