Making for a memorable entrance, Jennifer Lopez rode into The Grove in Los Angeles on a double-decker bus for the "Extra" launch of her "Love?" album release yesterday (April 29).
The 41-year-old superstar was the picture of celebrity glitz and glamor as she sported a strapless gold sequined jumpsuit and black peep toe pumps while joining "Extra" host Mario Lopez.
Jennifer wowed the already-excited crowds as she and a group of backup dancers let loose, waving, dancing, and laughing their way into the huge outdoor affair.
"Love?," the first record released by Lopez in four years, offers listeners fun and funky dance anthems and even two songs written or produced by Lady Gag.
Reviews are in!
Rating: Rating: 4 Star Rating
Verdict:Jenny's back on the block
She's changed her tune... a little: Jennifer Lopez is back on form
The nightclubs of New York have inspired some of the best-selling pop of the past 30 years — just ask Madonna and Lady Gaga
So, when a local diva wants to re‑launch her career, where better to turn than her home town's vibrant nightlife?
That is certainly the attitude of Jennifer Lopez, who heads straight for the dance floor on her first album in four years. J-Lo the singer can cut an opaque figure, with her music often overshadowed by her celebrity status and film career.
Her voice, unlike that of Whitney Houston or Christina Aguilera, is a decent pop instrument rather than a great soul one. Many of her best moments have come on the back of Latin rhythms.
Pop has also moved on in her absence, with Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Katy Perry now ruling the airwaves.
Since 2007's Brave, an album blighted by too many ballads, Lopez has focused more on Hollywood. She has also become a judge on TV's American Idol and taken time out to raise her twins Emme and Max.
This album, her seventh, was originally due out last year on a different label, Sony, its delayed release fuelling the impression of disharmony behind the scenes.
But, newly signed to Island Def Jam, she is finally back with an album that sounds contemporary without trying too hard to be cutting-edge: the rhythms are fresh and tough, the singer's affinity with them intuitive.
Any teenage lessons learnt while dancing the night away in Manhattan have obviously served her in good stead. The 12 tracks here do not reinvent the wheel, but they bristle with a sense of purpose.
Having some of the world's hottest writers on board obviously helps. RedOne helped Lady Gaga find her sound, Tricky Stewart produced Rihanna's Umbrella and Norwegian duo StarGate have worked with Beyoncé Knowles.
All are on fine form here, while there are even two late cameos from Gaga herself. The latter co-produces Invading My Mind and co‑writes Hypnotico.
Love? Jennifer Lopez
Euro-disco with Adam & The Ants-style drums. 9/10
On The Floor
Latin beats and an irresistible Lambada sample. 8/10
Switching between R&B and state-of-the-art pop, J-Lo sounds fully engaged.
Another returning U.S. star, Britney Spears, also leant heavily on dance music for her recent comeback album, Femme Fatale. But while Spears sounded like a puppet being coached by her producers, J-Lo appears to be running the show.
Despite some of the studio trickery that distorts most modern pop, her vocals are forceful and distinctive.
Chart-topper On The Floor sets a dynamic tone. Lopez's biggest UK hit for six years, it features a rap from Pitbull and a refrain lifted from the 1980s dance number Lambada.
On The Floor is no fluke, though. I'm Into You, co-written by British star Taio Cruz, sticks to a similar mix of summery rhythms. A slew of propulsive dance tracks follow, including the hip-hop-flavoured Run The World and the outstanding Papi, on which J-Lo reiterates her flair for Latin pop.
But the album is also well-paced, with a half-time interlude allowing the listener to catch their breath.
Until It Beats No More is the first of two mid-tempo ballads that owe something to Alicia Keys. Its combination of a yearning melody and harsh, electronic drums is also reminiscent of Leona Lewis's Bleeding Love, with J-Lo showing her vocal capabilities as she lets loose towards the end.
In the same vein, One Love is another slow track with jittery electronics. It makes references to J-Lo's past relationships with Sean Combs and Ben Affleck before paying tribute to husband Marc Anthony.
The two Lady Gaga tracks dominate the closing stages. As with most of Gaga's material, both are heavily in thrall to the melodic thump of Euro-disc. Hypnotico closes the album in style, with a soaring vocal chant.
Jennifer Lopez dominated the dance charts in the early 2000s, scoring hits like ‘If You Had My Love,’ ‘Waiting for Tonight,’ ‘I’m Real’ and ‘Jenny From the Block.’
The Bronx-born Latin pop star continued to rack up hits, even as she grew her acting career with roles in films like ‘Shall We Dance?’ and ‘El Cantante’ – and she’s just signed on to ‘Ice Age 4.’
Lopez was eventually dropped from the music roster of Sony as her album sales slipped. (If only they’d known she would get picked up as an ‘American Idol‘ judge…)
Now 41, she has hooked up with Island Def Jam to release ‘Love?,’ which boasts an impressive roster of A-list songwriters and producers (such as RedOne and Lady Gaga), as well as guest performers.
Here’s a track-by-track rundown of the highly-anticipated album, which hits stores on May 3.
‘Love?’ Album Review:
1. ‘On the Floor’ Feat. Pitbull
The album’s first single, ‘On the Floor’ became J. Lo’s first Top 10 hit in eight years. The moderately-catchy track aims to be a dance floor anthem but never quite gets there. (Listen Here)
2. ‘Good Hit’
Lopez needlessly embraces Auto-Tune for this near-rap song in which she repeatedly asks, “Don’t you wish I was your boo?” The song sounds more like J. Lo covering Britney rather than doing her own thing.
3. ‘I’m Into You’ Feat. Lil Wayne
One of the standout tracks on ‘Love?,’ ‘I’m Into You’ was penned by Taio Cruz, Lil Wayne and Stargate and possesses one of the most memorable and infectious hooks on the record. (Listen Here)
4. ‘(What is) Love?’
“I wanna be somebody’s girl!,” Lopez shouts on this appealing track in which she questions the meaning of love. Notably, she sings about all the types of guys she’s dated and declares, “Musicians are the worst.”
5. ‘Run the World’
Not to be confused with Beyonce‘s brand-new ‘Run the World (Girls),’ this track is a Tricky and The-Dream production on which Lopez sings, “Our love could run the world.” With an optimistic message and upbeat melody, the song is a winner.
Like ‘On the Floor,’ ‘Papi’ is a Latin-flavored RedOne track that seems capable of lighting up the dance floor.
7. ‘Until it Beats No More’
Jen slows the tempo slightly on this pleasant pop song with an optimistic viewpoint: “I’m alive, I can breathe, I can feel, I believe.”
8. ‘One Love’
Pop songs are usually better when they have a personal touch, and this song is no exception. J. Lo took this generic song and re-wrote it, injecting lyrics about her past and present romances, trying to answer the question of whether there is such a thing as one true love.
9. ‘Invading My Mind’
Lady Gaga helped write this electropop club banger and potential hit single on which J. Lo sings about being overcome with a feeling that’s “attacking, invading my mind.”
This song features Lopez singing about being a villain because she won’t take back a desperate ex. It’s a non-descript dance-pop track that doesn’t add much to the record.
11. ‘Starting Over’
‘Starting Over’ is a solid track from producer Danja that features an urgent, almost-militaristic beat and lyrics about trying to avoid a break-up.
Closing out ‘Love?’ is ‘Hypnotico,’ the second Gaga- and RedOne-penned song on the track list. Like many of Gaga’s songs, it’s likely to stick in your head long after the song has ended.
I am so proud of J Lo. Everybody doubted her. But she put out a fucking AMAZING album and everyone is appreciating her hardwork. I'm glad the stan-ban was put in place, or else I'd be rubbing it in. I've just remembered to LOVE? tho <3