Jennifer Lopez, aka J-Lo, aka dancer/actress/fashion designer/reality television judge has returned with her tenth album A.K.A (see what I did there?). Around this time 15 years ago Jenny from the block released her first album On The 6, and has since become an icon in the music industry, with a list of achievements probably taller than she is. Teaming up with rappers such as T.I, French Montana, Iggy Azalea, Rick Ross and Pitbull, will A.K.A leave its mark as another Jennifer Lopez hit success?
J-Lo has dabbled in many genres throughout her career, from pop diva to Latino and more recently electronic dance music. On A.K.A she returns to her urban roots, with many slow mid-tempo r & b/hip hop tracks. Acting Like That is a passable song; it’s not horribly overproduced, but it goes the other way and completely flat-lines. Even rising rap star Iggy Azalea can’t save the track, although she makes it more tolerable. Worry No More suffers from the same issues as Acting Like That: its obvious auto tune and repetitive lyrics do nothing to draw the listener in.
I Luh Ya Papi is a thinly veiled track about sex, but starts off surprisingly well. J-Lo’s rapping gives the song the edginess she’s been searching for, but this is destroyed by the horrible disconnect between the verses, hook (pre-chorus) and the chorus. I honestly thought I had accidentally changed songs, because the individual parts of I Luh Ya Papi do NOT fit together cohesively. The chorus is also super annoying (we get it, you ‘luh ya papi’). The mid-tempo Never Satisfied fares slightly better, with great verses showing off a sultry side to Lopez’s voice. But the chorus turns the track into a generic pop song, and not a great one at that.
First single First Love is actually one of the better tracks on A.K.A, with an up-tempo catchy beat and its electro-pop melody. So Good follows in this same vein, yet the first and second verses are exactly the same and the mid-tempo can make you feel as though the song drags on forever. Emotions is a slow r & b track that has a really odd melody and odd lyrics to match – “Someone took my emotions”? Okay then. Let It Be Me is the only ballad on the album, and whilst it’s great to have variety, the ballad leaves J-Lo with nowhere to hide. Her vocals, although not terrible, are not well suited to the range in the song.
One of the better songs on A.K.A is (sadly) the Pitbull collaboration Booty. Evoking their earlier success of On The Floor, Booty has an infectious dance pop melody that will make audiences want to hit the dance-floor. Yet in saying that, it’s pretty similar to other songs about ‘big booty’s’ and some of the lyrics are downright ridiculous, especially in Pitbull’s verse.
In the title track J-Lo states “I’m not the girl you used to know”. In terms of her music this is undoubtedly true, but not in the way she had hoped. A.K.A sounds like Jennifer Lopez is trying to achieve generic perfection instead of emotional connection, and manages to fail at both. Perhaps we expected more from the global icon that is J-Lo; I certainly expected much more than A.K.A delivered.