Despite what you might believe, Jennifer Lopez’s voice was never the thing that launched her brief foray as a pop diva. Pop music is dependent upon a personality, which she had, and a look, she was the antithesis to the skinny bleached blonde pop girls. That’s how La Lopez got the number one movie and album at the same time. She was a Bronx girl made good, and she made good with fat beats, bubblegum hooks, and guest spots from of-the-moment rappers.
Charm will get you anywhere and everywhere in pop music. And she has the type that lends itself easily to heavily produced dance-fluff. For some odd reason, J. Lo made a play for one of Mariah Carey’s trademarks: take your biggest hits, remix them entirely as rap-friendly pop/dance songs, and dominate the pop charts with them again. She lacks Carey’s vocal prowess, but it somehow it works more often than it doesn’t.
It’s a heavily dated affair, though. Who really remembers or cares about Ja Rule nowadays? Although he does appear on the best remix here, “Ain’t That Funny (Murder Remix).” Much like the prior “I’m Real (Murder Remix),” it took the basic idea of the original song and title, threw the rest of it out, and built an entirely new, better song from that meager framework. Remember when 50 Cent was the newest rapper on the block? (To be honest, the Nas guest spot on the single version of “I’m Gonna Be Alright” is much better.) Anyone else remember when Fat Joe was her guest rapper of choice before Pitbull came along? P. Diddy still had some producing power and credibility at this time, my how times have changed.
It’s just the producers and guests that carbon date this thing to the early 2000s, but the music itself. “Walking on Sunshine (Metro Remix)” features the signposts of the minor Latin pop explosion and beats that sound like a coke-fueled weekend in Miami around 2002. Same goes for the Darkchild remix of “If You Had My Love,” which sounds so 1999 R&B it hurts AND features a Latin-disco breakdown. While “Let’s Get Loud” and “Play” suffer from their remixes. They were already perfect pieces of junk food dance-pop, and these remixes don’t improve them in any way. In fact, they lose all personality in the process.
The clichéd and overly saccharine “Alive” ends the album and sticks out like “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” on Madonna’s GHV2. While “Argentina” made logical sense, her soundtrack appearances always kept her career afloat and Evita was a major career milestone, “Alive” is a shoved dubious piece of synergistic promotion. (It was the theme for her then just released film Enough.)
DOWNLOAD: “Ain’t That Funny (Murder Remix)”