Island Records, USA
by Pierre Lestruhaut
So let me tell you about that day when, after gladly handing over a feature on a new track by an awesome, yet relatively unknown indie band, I was already mentally preparing myself to find another cool weirdo act giving their music away for free that might deserve a three and a half-star review. All of a sudden I receive a very pleasant email from our editor, Carlos Reyes: “Have you thought of your next review? I was thinking you might enjoy something different, like a mainstream record?” Fuck. “I don't know what album though...Maybe the new one by J.Lo?” Oh...Fuck. So apparently J.Lo was now somehow relevant to our small music sphere? All these years of gladly ignoring most mainstream Latin pop, and now I had to review a Jennifer Lopez record? How the hell was I actually gonna be able to pull this one off?
So, after much anxiety, I decided maybe it was time for me to stop being such a pussy and finally engage myself in reviewing a potentially bad mainstream record. I had to start somewhere, maybe downloading the album would be a good start, and while downloading check out what reviews have been published. To my surprise its first single, “On the Floor,” had actually been reviewed on CF earlier in January, and to no surprise it says “posted by Blanca Méndez.” But she seems to really hate the song, and she’s totally right about it. This is a truly awful song. I mean, who the hell decided it was a good idea to try to get a pop hit out of reusing that “Lambada” hook like 30 times in 4 minutes? Apparently the guy who produced “Alejandro."
But still, it’s not the only song on the album, and I had to be a responsible writer and give the whole thing a few spins while checking out on Wikipedia who the hell produced all this shit. Interestingly enough there’s a couple of tracks produced by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. There’s “Good Hit” that has a cool old-school beat that gets completely drowned by J.Lo’s auto-tune singing of “I got that good hit." But also “Run the World," which apparently on a demo version circulating prior to the album’s release had Rick Ross doing what he does best (which is basically having a cool voice) but for whatever reason he was removed from the album version (WTF?). And you also have Lil Wayne rapping on “I’m into You,” which is kind of intriguing, except he’s rapping to a really awful Stargate beat (where the hell are you Swizz Beatz?) and mostly delivers some really blunt lines like “I’m falling for you baby, I need a parachute / So wet, I need a wetsuit.” (Anyone else really miss the mixtape Weezy?)
But I should at least say something relatively insightful about J.Lo as a pop star, maybe a comment on her career arc, on how being an American Idol judge might have affected the way she sings and performs, maybe even steal a bit from the ideas on that Slant review where they mention pop music in a “pre-Gaga world,” or something like that. At least a paragraph that really validates the publishing of this review, gives our readers something to think about the state of mainstream pop in 2011, and in the way might spare us the usual “why waste your time reviewing this” comments. Or at least something that when I read this two years from now I won’t feel completely embarrassed about the bullshit I wrote. Oh, fuck it, let’s just give this shit a 32.