Label: Island Def Jam
Released on: May 3rd, 2011
Grade: 2 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.
Oh, Ms. Lopez. Your last album, Brave, tanked even though I absolutely loved it (the album peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 12) because you came through with your promise of an album full of “danceable music.” Now you’re back with an album split down the middle between Brave’s club affection and J. Lo’s hip-hop leanings. Well, let’s see if we can make some sense out of what you've given us this time around...
Let’s face it, Jennifer Lopez has always been a singles act. As much as the little gay boy inside of me loves her to pieces, the unbiased music journalist side of me will be the first to admit that none of her albums have been very strong (artistically speaking). With that said, album opener and lead single “On the Floor” has enough fire to set dance floors ablaze worldwide. The track pumps with the same intensity that propelled nu-nrg and eurodance music into the mainstream in the 90s. When you couple that with J. Lo’s vocals, fine-tuned to perfection, you end up with the best track on the whole record. Maybe someone should’ve told the American Idol judge that it’s not always best to exhaust your best material at the beginning of the new album, though.
After the incredibly hit-worthy “On the Floor,” the album just spirals out of control. The next track was one of my most disappointing moments on Love?, a production by The-Dream called “Good Hit”. Come on, man... I LOVE The-Dream. But this lackluster track just comes off as one of his unfinished ideas that Lopez decided to talk and mumble over through loads of auto-tune. It’s sad because The-Dream is a stellar producer in his own right, so I definitely expected better. The album continues, for the most part, on a path down a road of dance floors and afterhours parties. It’s when you hit track five that the confusion begins to set in. Was “Run the World” meant for J. Lo? Because up until this point, it seemed like we were listening to the album that Brave was meant to be – a collection of tracks meant to make us dance, not ones that we’re supposed to blast out of our trunks.
The entirety of Love? is such a confusing mélange of genres and eras in dance music that instead of giving us even a little sliver of coherency, it falls flat on its face despite any effort to throw a few good singles our way (“Hypnotico” and second single “Papi” are both worth a listen). As much as it pains me to admit it, I love Jennifer Lopez even though she just can’t seem to decide on the right genre for her voice. In fact, even though you’re reading a 2 meatball review of this album from me, I’ll probably still buy the record this week. And that’s why Ms. Lopez is making records – her fans love her to death, even in spite of her rocky career choices . . . and of course, Gigli. Love? may be her most confusing album to date, but like I previously stated, she has good singles and this album yields a few that you should definitely cop on iTunes. Just don’t commit to the record as a whole or you’ll be gravely disappointed.