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Jennifer Lopez - Rebirth Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 March 2005

Jennifer Lopez

format: DualDisc
label: Sony
release year: 2005
performance: 2
sound 3
reviewed by: Charles Andrews

Image Rebirth. A fairly momentous title, wouldn’t you say? Fraught with implications and portent. Throwing down the silver lame gauntlet. I’m back. I’m reborn.

So we can expect to get some insight into the ever evolving creative life and thoughts of mega-superstar JLo (forget the One Name fame of Marilyn and Dylan and Madonna, she’s so huge she needs only three letters), who seems to be, more and more these days, famous only for being famous.

Ben Affleck. No more Ben in the videos. Say no more. Will JLo be the last dancing bimbo unwed, unimpregnated? A fashion line....full of furs....attacked by PETA. Big concerns. Lots of pressure. The public expects, demands so much when you reach this level. Her last full album was in ’02. The world has changed since her first album, last century (’99). JLo’s world has changed. Check the documentary video on the DVD disc, “Step into My World,” see how I have to be really concerned with security now. “This is Me”: helicopters are how I get around, and no doubt armored vehicles when bound to the ground. Kinda parallels the international scene, huh? Image is so much more important than fact, truth or reality. Heavy decisions -- how many diamonds can I squeeze onto these earrings before I’m stretching my lobes, or my credibility? “This is Me.”

JLo clawed her way to the top, but can she stay there? Has she already been knocked down by younger barely-dressed booty-shakers? It’s vicious at the top, you have to prove yourself constantly, you have to Rebirth.

So, bingo! Right out of the gate, “Get Right” opens the door to the travails and concerns of The Artist: “You’re lookin’ just a little too hard at me/You’re sayin’ not quite enough to me/You’re sippin’ just a little too slow for me...” Damn. Bein’ back on the singles scene is so hard. Even for me. Especially for me. You can start to see, now, what I’ve been dealing with since my last album.

We don’t need to analyze this much further. It’s my distasteful job to listen to this stuff so you don’t have to. Let your curiosity now be satisfied. It doesn’t get much better than this for the rest of the album. There are no hits here. (Keep in mind what P.T. Barnum said about no one ever going broke underestimating the taste of the general public. JLo has sold 35 million albums, so far.) No curveballs, no surprises, no charm, no substance. Musically, the very first notes flat out warn you, with the most irritating, banal, tasteless, nails-on-chalkboard horn tooting I’ve ever heard, and Jennifer Lopez loves it so much she reprises it as the closing number. Opening “Whatever You Wanna Do,” J-to-the-Lo declares “C’mon man, I need somethin’ that I can MOVE to, you gotta give me some of that FUNK!” -- then quickly proceeds to turn it into a near-ballad. She told us in the documentary that leading up to making this album she had been getting quite funky, thank you, listening to lots of Mr. James Brown. I really think that if JB hears this as funk, with his name associated, he will gladly kill himself just so he can roll over in his grave.

The videos are way beyond shallow and unimaginative, with no appeal whatsoever, unless you worship JLo’s every breath and smile and hip thrust. Nothing wrong with pure ego, this is pop music after all, but please, give us ... something. Anything. The enhanced stereo on the DVD side throws in occasional meaningless instrumental blips, splits a voice, puts some sound in front of you, some voices behind. It’s like that homework assignment where you didn’t understand what the teacher really wanted you to add to enhance your report, so you just added something meaningless.

Oh yeah, and did I mention? The girl cannot sing.

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