Jennifer Lopez, multitalented diva of “screen, song and style,” has a career that’s in a constant state of metamorphosis. This makes the title of her new LP, Rebirth, particularly apropos. Lopez has maintained her sexy yet family-friendly image despite two failed marriages, two extremely publicized relationships with fellow entertainers and her recent, sudden marriage to current flame Marc Anthony.
Lyrically, Rebirth represents Lopez’s newfound stability, but musically, the album showcases an overall mediocrity that consistently resurfaces in her music.
Take the following from “Still Around,” a background-singer heavy tribute to her husband Marc Anthony, who makes an appearance on the track in a highly irrelevant monologue of sighs and chuckles: “We were so in love / you were so beautiful and so young / I can’t believe you’re still mine / That’s crazy, I love you.” If not for the song’s eerily saccharine beat, such lyrics would have completely sabotaged the track.
To a certain extent, Rebirth does showcase musical maturity and diversity, as evidenced by Lopez’s willingness to experiment with differing musical styles. However, the results are generally subpar in comparison with the amazing collaborators Lopez works with.
The lackluster quality of J.Lo’s performance is especially apparent when juxtaposed with executive producer/songwriter Cory Rooney, as well as Rodney Jerkins. The latter is particularly telling, as Jerkins was the producer of On the 6’s “If You Had My Love,” Big Boi of Outkast fame and Mr. Anthony himself, to whom we owe the twisted pleasure of “I Can’t Believe This Is Me,” a pretend zesty ballad reminiscent of a corrupted “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson.
The aforementioned annoyances aside, the album’s remaining downfall resides in J. Lo’s lack of vocal prowess and depth, which is to be expected.
On the hit first single, “Get Right,” insistent horns intertwine with vibrating voices as Lopez taunts a potential dance partner, promising him that “before the night is up, we can get right.” When Fabolous joins her on the remix, the track is almost instantly twice the party, with assurances from “The Prince of New York” that “I ain’t Mr. Right, I’m Mr. Right Now.”
Other noteworthy tracks include the shimmering, effervescent “Hold You Down” featuring Fat Joe, “Cherry Pie,” an overtly sexual song with incredibly appropriate guitars and “I Got U,” which displays a strangely passionate J.Lo pining among hip hop-inspired hand claps.
But none of these songs can match “I, Love,” the album’s strongest track. A hyper-pitched, bubbly dance track, “I, Love” exhibits humorously amateur lyrics along the lines of a middle school love letter. But, for once, such lyrics are used properly!
Lopez is a pro at turning out enjoyably vacuous material while using coquettishness to ensure its success. On this, Lopez’s fifth LP, it is clear that quantity is more important than quality.
Despite those missteps, Rebirth is a fun, somewhat mindless experience that will get anyone up and moving, despite J. Lo’s generic, heartless material.