There was a time not so long ago when we didn't expect to see another Jennifer Lopez
album. 2007's Brave
became her lowest-charting album worldwide and its lack of chart-worthy hits, the birth of her twins and a couple of dodgy rom-coms all suggested her time in music was up. As such, we've approached her comeback with caution: the project was flatlining before her American Idol
gig breathed it back to life, and there was the potential of ruining her legacy - a more-than-you'd-think number of ghetto-latino pop hits that defined a teenhood. So, can the long-awaited Love?
see her regain chart glory? The record's lead singles - RedOne-helmed, Lambada-sampling 'On The Floor' and Taio Cruz-penned chillout track 'I'm Into You' define what the album is all about: marrying classic, Latino Lopez with R&B-pop for 2011. New but strangely familiar-sounding, their skyscraper choruses and chunky synths position her neatly among today's pop heavyweights.Such is the template for the rest of the record. '(What is) Love?', 'Papi', 'Invading my Mind' and 'Hypnotico' are nothing we haven't heard before (and in the case of the former, what we heard last year on her box office bomb The Backup Plan's OST), but she carries it off with her unrivalled glamour and effortless sophistication. The production - courtesy of RedOne, The-Dream, Stargate and Tricky Stewart - remains clubby throughout, exploring carnival beats on standout 'Papi', to the heartfelt on 'Starting Over' to a J to tha L.O!-inspired 'Run The World'. At 16 tracks on the deluxe edition it's a difficult pace to maintain, however, and consequently things occasionally dip into the generic (see 'Good Hit' and 'One Love'). Of the 13 remaining tracks (including the three deluxe bonus tracks), 'Papi', 'Hypnotico', '(What is) Love' and 'Run The World' are all worthy of a standalone release, though we'll admit to having a soft spot for GaGa throwaway track 'Invading my Mind' too.
As a comeback album, Love?
does the job perfectly - hauling an almost-forgotten Lopez back into chart relevance with a collection of calculated, safe and bang-on-trend tunes that were constructed for radio and clubs alike. Despite her two co-writes the record suffers from an air of anonymity, and at times lacks the swagger and street smarts we lapped up when Jenny was still preaching from The Block. Regardless, when the BPM is at its highest is when the record shines most, suggesting there is still plenty of fire under those perfectly toned abs. What do you think of Love? Which are you favourite tracks? Leave your comments in the box below.