Jennifer Lopez: Love?

C-

Jennifer Lopez

Album: Love?
Label: Island

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Jennifer Lopez has a propensity for strong pronouncements of dubious veracity. (“I’m real,” “I’m still Jenny from the block,” “My love don’t cost a thing,” etc.) Not that authenticity is a requirement in pop music, but Lopez gives off the sense that she’s relying on such declarative statements to compensate for the lack of conviction in her vocals. See: “Good Hit,” from Lopez’s new Love?, in which she drones “I got that good hit” when she clearly doesn’t—nor does she seem to even want it. Love? has the potential to be the dance-floor catnip it was obviously conceived as: MVP producers RedOne, Tricky Stewart, and Stargate all contribute beats that dutifully conform to the current club-music trends of dramatic synth washes and high BPMs. But Lopez sleep-sings her way through the songs in a manner that’s competent at best and bored at worst, making the whole endeavor seem like a perfunctory cash-in on her heightened public profile as the new American Idol judge. A handful of tracks succeed by either complementing Lopez’s limited capabilities (the chant-heavy single “On The Floor” and the Lil Wayne-assisted “I’m Into You”) or steamrolling right over them with a blistering beat and a healthy dash of Auto-Tune (the exhaustingly propulsive “Invading My Mind” and “Papi”). In general, though, Love? is as vague and unfocused as its titular inquiry suggests, a musical shrug that seems to mean even less to Lopez than it will to listeners.

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