Home Read Classic Album Review: Jennifer Lopez | J. Lo

Classic Album Review: Jennifer Lopez | J. Lo

J.Lo doesn't fix what clearly ain't broke on the sequel to her dance-pop debut.

This album came out a couple of decades ago. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


“Even if you were broke,” coos Jennifer Lopez, “my love don’t cost a thing.” Yeah, right.

Call me jaded and cynical (because I definitely am), but I find it hard to picture Jennifer Lopez — singer, actress, dancer, it girl, pinup fantasy, barely dressed award-show plus-one, rap mogul squeeze and all-around hoochie mama — as the girl next door. Unless, perhaps, you live in a gated community of millionaires.

But sweet, sincere, romantic, down-to-earth and, above all, real — in a hot, hoochie-mama kinda way, of course — is how Jenny likes to portray herself on her albums. And with good reason. Her first CD On the 6 was titled for the subway she used to ride in New York. Buoyed by the singles If You Had My Love and Waiting for Tonight (not to mention that cover shot of her in short shorts and a tight sweater), it sold seven million copies, even though it was really just another mediocre dance-pop disc from a marginally talented singer.

The same goes for J. Lo. Naturally declining to fix what obviously ain’t broke, Lopez pretty much sticks to the game plan on this formulaic, predictable 15-song sophomore disc. There are the same generic Janet Jacksonesque hip-hop cuts and dance-pop grooves, including a few this time out credited to her accused pistol-packing beau Sean (Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Squiddly Diddly and whatever other nicknames he’s going by this week) Combs. There are some erotic ballads where Jenny whispers what she wants to do to you all night long, you big strong hunka man, you (though, frankly, the looming presence of Puffy tends to dampen one’s enthusiasm somewhat). There’s a clutch of Gloria Estefan Latin-pop love ballads with flamenco-flared arrangements and instrumentation. And, of course, there are more songs about how Jennifer is really just a regular, mushy, romantic kinda gal at heart. I’m Real. We Gotta Talk. That’s Not Me. Secretly (I’m Wanting You). I’m Gonna Be Alright. And the aformentioned Love Don’t Cost a Thing, better known to men as The Song For That Video Where She Strips and Runs Around on the Beach. For those without MuchMusic, there are more pictures of Jenny’s boobs and body and belly and bottom.

But the real bottom line here is that far fewer folks would care if Lopez were some ugly nobody. Although they might be interested if she sang about her real life and not the image she’s trying to market to go with her latest romantic comedy. Admit it — wouldn’t you listen to tunes like Club Shooting Blues, I Spent a Night in Jail for Your Love, and You Can’t Afford Me, Baby, featuring the chorus line, “If you weren’t a millionaire, my bouncer would snap you like a breadstick.”

Now that I can believe.