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Album Review by Kris Griffiths

Beneath the palace owned by the gods of music, concealed in a dark corner of the basement, hides the sacrosanct storage place known as the cliché cupboard. Securely stuffed and locked inside are the strings of corny hackneyed lyrics that have somehow snaked into many a lame tune over the years. Nestling among them are “Wave your hands in the air / like you just don’t care”, “I’m on my knees / begging you please” and various versions of “being alone at home sitting by the phone”.

But there must have been a recent lapse in security because Jennifer Lopez has somehow managed to break into this cupboard, grab a fat wad of lyrics and leg it back to the studio, where all the little production tricks lie ready to alchemise some old garbage into something which from a distance looks like gold. But no amount of sweet-smelling studio methods can hide the odour of recycled rubbish that is J.LO.

After the bearable opening smash hit single LOVE DON’T COST A THING comes the unbearable I’M REAL, which sets the lyrical benchmark early on with lines like “called you on the phone / hope you’re not alone”. Following the shoddily produced WALKING ON SUNSHINE is COME OVER, with its ‘stolen from the cupboard’ line: “don’t keep me waiting / anticipating”. Then there is the album’s standout track THAT’S NOT ME exhibiting impressive harmonies in the chorus, but this precedes the painful DANCE WITH ME exhibiting lines like “let the music take control / you can feel it in your soul”, which really doesn’t make you want to dance with her.

The rest of the album is saturated wholly with the lyrical content of ‘you, you, you’: ‘I love you’, ‘want you’, ‘need you’ etc. It all bubbles over on the agonisingly slow SECRETLY, where she warbles over annoying finger clicks and whispered sweet nothings: “I just wanna kiss you / I wanna lay with you / I dunno how to tell you / But secretly I want you / I wanna get next to you”. Even though I don’t understand the Spanish songs, there are enough ‘amors’ and ‘pasions’ to know exactly what she’s on about.

Unfortunately Lopez is such a highly bankable figure that any album flashing her pretty visage will sell loads. Cleverly modifying her name to ‘J.LO’ in the style of hip rapper ‘Skee-lo’ will undoubtedly raise her street-cred to boot, although to me they both sound like brands of yoghurt. And like some low fat/sugar yoghurts, J.LO is light, sickly and will leave a nasty saccharine taste in your mouth.

1 star