Jennifer Lopez celebrates 15 years in music with album A.K.A.
It is hard to believe that it is already 15 years ago that Jennifer Lopez had her first wordwide hit with her debut single ‘If You Had My Love’. She released her first album On The 6 in 1999 and as is known, she had a whole bunch of hit singles and albums after this. To be honest however, her more recent output, with the exception of smash hit ‘On The Floor’, did not really impress chartswise. Still she is often seen as a big name in pop music and she is ready to try and take over the world again with full promotion for new album A.K.A..
A.K.A. is the 8th studio album by Lopez. Her previous record, Love?, was released in 2011 and was not one of her most successful ones. Judging by first single ‘First Love’, Jennifer returned to the pop sound with a twist of R&B that proved to be successful on a hit like ‘Get Right’. It is actually a great track with a big, proper pop chorus, that most of her recent work lacked. The song made me excited for this album, so I have to admit it is a bit disappointing to find out it actually is the best and only real pop anthem on the album. Although it is definitely not one of her stronger records yet, this does not mean the first single is the only song worth listening.
The title track that opens the album for example, is catchy, has the right attitude and if you look past the distracting noises in the intro, the song has a fine production as well. It quite accurately sets the tone for the rest of the record which is pop with a lot of influences from hiphop and R&B. On the first track, she invited T.I. for an inescapable rap and she collaborates with a handful of other rappers as well. Iggy Azalea spices up the track ‘Acting Like That’ that is a bit bland without her part and French Montana is not able to make the awfully annoying ‘I Luh Ya Papi’ any better. Of course Pitbull is on the record as well, with a completely ridiculous song called ‘Booty’. The thing is, their first two singles together, ‘On The Floor’ and ‘Dance Again’, were great tracks, but everything they did together after that, from ‘Live It Up’ to that Fifa World Cup song, is just dreadful.
Although most of the raps do not add anything substantial, Lopez also falls short to impress without them. ‘Never Satisfied’ is a decent midtempo pop track but never really takes off or distinguishes itself from everything that is out there at the moment. ‘Emotions’ is actually a pretty good ballad, but I can not help but feel it would have worked better with a stronger and more versatile vocalist. ‘Worry No More’ would have been one of the better moments of the album if it wasn’t for the enormous load of autotune they put onto Jenny’s vocals, which ruins the track for me. Luckily, there are some things here that are worth the wait.
Jennifer brings back a light tropical feel on the beautiful ballad ‘Let It Be Me’. The track feels like a warm, but refreshing summer breeze that stylistaclly reminds of her first two albums. Vocally, Lopez sounds mature and the lyrics are meaningful and heartfelt. When hearing this song, one would wish she would have gone with a little more stripped down approach instead of all the noisy hiphop productions. Bonus track ‘Expertease’ (with lyrics and backing vocals from Sia) is also a decent mid tempo pop song with a memorable chorus. On the last track, ‘Same Girl’, Lopez once again tries to convince us she still is ‘Jenny from the block’ and while this might be true, she is not the successful Jenny that scored hit after hit in the early 2000’s anymore and this album will definitely not bring those glory days back.
Worth a listen: First Love, A.K.A., Let It Be Me, Expertease, Same Girl.