Epic - 2002 - 50 minutes
Ditching the uptempo Latin beat that got her into the charts in the first place, US actress-turned-singer Lopez wails her way through a series of uninspired ballads on her third full-length album. The lady's in love (with actor Ben Affleck) and she wants everyone to know it.
'Still' is an up-beat opener, but Lopez's whining is an indication of what's to come - much of the album is clearly pitched too high for her register. What follows is a same-same slow set that goes from soft 80s rock to corny sentiment.
The piece de resistance is 'Dear Ben', which might have been a soulful ode to love, with a dreamy refrain, if it wasn't for the cringe inducing lyrics and the yawningly long instrumental intro. Some sounds are best kept in the bedroom.
LL Cool J duet 'All I Have' takes a funky girl-power stance, and chart-topper 'Jenny From the Block' marks a return of the 'I'm Real' J.Lo. Unfortunately its fame-hasn't-changed-me sentiment is almost as hard to swallow as the preceding love-lyrics; the track is saved only by its radio-friendly chorus.
The rest is a compilation of uninspiring attempts at Motown smoochies. 'I'm Gonna Be Alright' featuring Nas ends the album on a funkier note - badly needed after the dross that has gone before.
Whether in declaring her love for Ben or in clinging to her humble origins, it feels more and more like a case of the lady doth protest too much. Syrupy soul replaces sharp street-edge. Don't be fooled by the rocks yourself Jenny, there are plenty of other girls on the block that can take your place (and not just on Ben's arm). Let's hope she finds a more inspiring muse next time round.
Tracklisting: Still - Loving You - I'm Glad - The One - Dear Ben - All I Have feat. LL Cool J - Jenny From The Block (Trackmasters remix feat. Styles and Jadakiss) - Again - You Belong To Me - Been Thinkin' - Baby I Love U - The One (Version 2) - I'm Gonna Be Alright feat. Nas