Jennifer Lopez - Love?

History, rarely kind to millionaire celebs who reach the point where they feel some acknowledgement of their good fortune is called for, gobs on the guilt-ridden from a great height. Don't be fooled by the rocks that you got, Jenny? The gap between Keeping It Real and being woefully patronising shrinks to feeler gauge dimensions. Methinks she doth protest too much, muttered pretty much the entire sentient population of the globe.

Apart from, of course, the millions who buy (or bought?) the contents of her ever-expanding catalogue. Love? is the seventh album off the J.Lo (can you imagine, seriously, the dawning joy that swept through the boardroom the day some clever bastard coined that one?) conveyor and it doesn't half feel like it. The multi-millions shifted by her first couple of albums are probably a thing of the past despite her stint on American Idol giving her profile a leg-up but Love? is hardly the vehicle to send her back to the top of the charts and keep her there.

Dear oh dear. What a vapid affair. Who could possibly thrill to such an empty vessel? Binned by Sony a year ago and finally released on DefJam, you can understand her previous label's nervousness. The likes of The-Dream and RedOne add production and songwriting credits. I imagine they're your bling-tastic urban producer types. Quick Google. Yep. Never heard of 'em. That slimeball L'il Wayne pops up on 'I'm Into You'. The general mix of slow tempo r'n'b and squeaky dance-pop has the odd echo of something a bit Miami house-y and gets halfway to euphoric on the almost diverting 'Papi' but the overbearing smell is one of laboured production and the brackets after the song titles contain as many names as a small nation state's census records. There is nothing as likeable or foxy as 'Love Don't Cost a Thing' or ... or that other catchy single she surely must have had. Mmm. On the positive side, the voice, when it's given some air, is pretty nice - clear, understated, does the job. She, to her credit, maintains a bit of dignity and her unspeakable beauty by not strumping around like Rihanna and the denizens of the urban music vid scene.

But it's all so boring. Oh Jenny, where did it all go wrong? (I'm doing 'Further Irony' at night school.) Is 'designing' perfume really so fulfilling? Were you not once a river of charm, all smokily charismatic with Clooney in Out of Sight, before J.Lo became a brand to such an unholy, coin-it-in degree and your movies out-blanded even your music. Sadly, I still guffaw like a child when I cynically conclude that her greatest artistic contribution remains the whole 'Bennifer' saga and the decison by her and Affleck to call it a day on the morning of their wedding - a move that inspired the South Park episode 'Fat Butt and Pancake Head'. (Keep a straight face and you're not human.)



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