Jennifer Lopez • A.K.A. • Capitol • US Release Date: June 17, 2014
“Just want you to know my name by the time we exit / wanna feel like I’m brand new.” Ooh la la – J. Lo, we already know your name, girl! After a three-year hiatus, Jennifer Lopez returns fiercely with new studio album, A.K.A.Mostly an urban/dance-pop affair, Lopez has her fair share of interesting moments. That said, not everything is ‘fierce’ – there are also less notable moments too. That said let’s sum up A.K.A. in the nutshell… or something like that!
She objectifies herself?
If lyrics are an indication, write off the male objectification video clip for “I Luh Ya Papi.” Sure, Lopez requests her potential hook-up to “pull your trigger, go and get your gun up,” but she also incites sex herself, referencing “…that hourglass” and “…these legs…”
She closes the regular edition of A.K.A. with a cut that leaves little to the imagination: “Booty.” “All the sexy girls in the party / go and grab a man, bring him to the dance floor,” she sings on the hook, “Go on let them jeans touch you while you’re dancing / it’s his birthday give him what he ask for.”
Half of the album is collaborations
J. Lo gets “a little help from my her friends” throughout A.K.A. The help begins with T.I. on the opening title track, who informs Lopez that she “was f-ckin’ with a sucker but you dealin’ with a real now shawty / anybody got a problem they can feel my 40.” French Montana declares her as “the sh-t” on “I Luh Ya Papi,” while Iggy Azalea promises she’s “not gon’ cry here like Mary Jane” on “Acting Like That.”
Rick Ross keeps Lopez from “worrying” about anything on “Worry No More”: “Dance like a star, a$$ shake like a car / she really something special I can tell from afar…” Finally, collaborator number five, Pitbull, tells J. Lo “…your booty is a movie star / Oscar award winner of them all…” on “Booty.” Some collaborations shine, while others – namely Pitbull – are only lukewarm at best.
Lyrically, A.K.A. could stand an upgrade
This one is a no brainer. Lopez definitely spends enough time talking about her assets and pleasure, but the lyrics wouldn’t exactly be characterized as the deepest of the year. Even when she has some ballads that would allow for more lyrical prowess, they are less interesting overall than the sexed-up urban-pop cuts.
She’s best when she’s dancing…
Basically, when that booty shakes, that’s when J. Lo is at her best. That’s no objectification or shade folks – none at all! “A.K.A.” sets the tone, “I Luh Ya Papi” titillates, and “Acting Like” screams ‘swag’ (not literally). Throw in the luxurious urban sensibilities of “Worry No More” and Lopez has some hits on her hands. She even gets a pass on the less satisfying single “First Love.”
…Not everything is as high-flying
‘Course with the good also comes the bad. Labeling things as ‘bad ‘might be an overstatement, but the ballads trend blasé, even given Lopez’s best intentions. Sure, she may be ‘emotional’ as she conveys on the rhythmic mid-tempo “Emotions,” but the song falls short of glory. Serious pop number “Let It Be Me” epitomizes the sentiment of the bore, even with Lopez giving her all. Also throw in that shameless up-tempo dance joint “Booty” into the questionable category.
So how does A.K.A. stack up when it’s all said and done? It’s an enjoyable album that is flawed as well. At this point in her lengthy career, Lopez has nothing more to prove – her peak has come and past. A.K.A. doesn’t necessarily enhance her career nor harm it; it just adds more material to a rich discography.