JoJo finally drops long awaited third album Mad Love
It has been a long time coming, this third album by JoJo. The pop star who broke through with her debut single ‘Leave (Get Out)’ at the tender age of 13, dropped her second album back in 2006 and that was her last big release. Constant conflicts with her record label prevented her from releasing new music, so all we got to hear over the past ten years were leaked tracks and the occasional mix tape. JoJo however did never give up on her dream and kept on fighting back, which on itself deserves all the respect in the world, resulting in the release of three singles at once last year. In July she properly started the campaign for Mad Love. with first single ‘Fuck Apologies’ featuring Wiz Khalifa. All the blood, sweat and tears are now paying off with an honest and confident record.
If ‘Fuck Apologies’ and promo single ‘FAB’ (short for ‘fake ass bitches’) made anything clear, it is that JoJo will not hold back anymore and puts everything on the table. “These fake ass bitches, when they smile in your face but behind you it ain’t well wishes”, She sings full of attitude over a well produced R&B beat and a poppy chorus. This feisty attitude suits her well and the blend of R&B and pop is perfect for her voice, but luckily she doesn’t put the ‘mad’ in ‘Mad Love’ throughout the whole record. Album opener ‘Music’ describes how her love for music has always got her through the hardest times in her life, acknowledging that her dad who passed away last year, was a big influence and inspiration in that sense. Such an emotional to start a big comeback album!
Although the album is quite contemporary in terms of productions and mostly beat heavy, we get some more proper ballads, like the classy title track about an all consuming love affair and the self love anthem ‘I Am’ with intense, larger than life vocals. The moments where JoJo truly excels however happen when she decides to look for boundaries within genres and explores alt R&B sounds. ‘Honest’ for example builds on an ear catching change of pace and what follows is an ethereal production with captivating vocals, reminding a bit of the sound Drake made popular a few years ago. JoJo pulls it off seemingly effortlessly.
The true power of Mad Love. lies in the fact that it sounds completely on trend, without trying too hard. The productions are fresh, the lyrics are honest and above all it feels like an album that JoJo has always wanted to make. With such a contemporary sound there is always the risk of coming off as faceless with hit seeking songs that could have been recorded by anyone, but it turns out JoJo does have enough personality in her vocals and honesty in her songwriting to make this her and only her record. Track like ‘Like This’, ‘Vibe’ and ‘Clovers’ sound right on the money in today’s musical landscape, but at the same time feel like they are unmistakbly JoJo. This goes for hiphop inspired ‘Edibles’ that sports one of the best choruses of the record and even the by a house beat dominated ‘Good Thing’ as well.
After a years long battle to get some new music out, it must feel like a total triumph for JoJo to finally drop another album and fair play to her, it sounds like one as well. She delivers a well balanced and fresh contemporary pop record with a thick R&B twist. The compositions are strong, the productions completely on point and her vocals grew into a mature powerhouse. If anything is proven by this release, it is that there is no stopping JoJo’s passion for music and boy are we thankful for that!
Must listen: Honest, Like This, FAB, Music, Edibles, Fuck Apologies