|Studio album by Jennifer Lopez|
|Released||January 16, 2001|
|Jennifer Lopez chronology|
|Singles from J.Lo|
J.Lo is the second studio album by American singer Jennifer Lopez. It was released on January 16, 2001, by Epic Records. The follow-up to her commercially successful debut On the 6 (1999), Lopez had more creative control over J.Lo, which was aptly titled by the nickname her fans gave her. She described it as a homage to her fans in appreciation of their support. In mid-2000, Lopez began recording the album under its working title The Passionate Journey, using more of her own personal experiences as inspiration for its lyrics. Unlike On the 6, the album was predominantly Pop and R&B music, with Latin influences. Musically, it also included 80's inspired retro pop and R&B, dance-pop, Latin pop and ballads. For the album, Lopez worked with Cory Rooney, Troy Oliver, Dan Shea and her boyfriend at the time Sean Combs, who all contributed to her debut effort.
Her first set to include a Parental Advisory sticker, J.Lo was more daring than her previous material. Lyrically, It explored deeper into sexual themes and included explicit language. The album also explores themes such as female empowerment and facing the reality of unethical relationships. However, it became the subject to mixed critical reception. It was criticized for its lack of musical growth, along with its manufactured sound. Although, it did receive praise for its Spanish songs and "catchy" dance material. J.Lo remains Lopez's most commercially successful album, debuting atop the Billboard 200 the same week her film The Wedding Planner (2001) led the United States box office. This made her the first entertainer to have a number one film and album simultaneously in the United States. J.Lo was the sixth best-selling album of the year, selling 6.8 million copies worldwide during 2001 alone.
"Love Don't Cost a Thing" was released as the album's lead single in January 2001. It reached the top ten in the United States, followed by "Play" which reached the top twenty. A Latin pop song entitled "Ain't It Funny" served as the third single. "I'm Real" was released as the album's fourth and final single. To further its success, record executives at Epic recruited Ja Rule of Murder, Inc. records who was popular in the Urban market create a remix of the song, "I'm Real (Murder Remix)". The remix, which featured Ja Rule, allowed the song to reach the top of the charts in the United States, while shifting Lopez's personal style away from Pop to an Urban-oriented sound. To continue Lopez's chart success in this market, a Murder Remix version of "Ain't It Funny" was produced as the lead single of the album's remix version, J to tha L–O! The Remixes, which consisted of remixes from J.Lo and On the 6. The remix album as well as "Ain't It Funny (Murder Remix)" featuring Rule reached number one in the United States, capitalizing the entertainer's success during this era.
- 1 Background and development
- 2 Music and lyrics
- 3 Promotion
- 4 Singles
- 5 Commercial performance
- 6 Critical response
- 7 Remix version
- 8 Track listing
- 9 Personnel
- 10 Awards and nominations
- 11 Charts and certifications
- 12 Release history
- 13 References
Background and development
Prior to the release of J.Lo, Lopez had joined an elite group of limited actors to crossover successfully into the music industry  Inspired to pursue a music career after playing Selena in a musical biopic about the late singer of the same time, Lopez was signed to The Work Group and released her debut album On the 6 (1999). Initially, the entertainer planned to release music in Spanish, although Tommy Mottola, the head of Sony Music Entertainment at the time, suggested that she sing in English. Subsequently, Lopez along with Ricky Martin led a large group of Hispanics who had crossed over into mainstream music with English material, including Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony and Christina Aguilera. At the time, this was referred to by the media as a Latin pop crossover "explosion" and "ethnic boom". Lopez was described as "crossover royalty". Musically, On the 6 explored a Latin soul genre, and featured Lopez singing about love. It produced the number-one hit "If You Had My Love", as well as "Waiting for Tonight" which reached the top ten in the United States, among other singles. The album itself was a success, reaching number eight in the United States and selling 8,000,000 copies by 2003.
In April 2000, MTV News reported that Lopez, who had just finished filming a romantic comedy entitled The Wedding Planner, would begin recording her second studio album after wrapping up filming for another film, Angel Eyes (2001). That August, Lopez told LaunchCast that the album would be titled My Passionate Journey. "I'm halfway done right now. Hopefully I'll have it out by October," she said. It was reported that Lopez's boyfriend at the time, Sean Combs, who co-produced some of the tracks on On the 6, would contribute to the album. Additionally, it was also reported that Rodney Jerkins, who produced "If You Had My Love", was working with Lopez. She said "I've grown musically, vocally, and everything" and wanted her second album to "be more of a reflection of who I am, my own experiences".
The album was tentatively titled The Passionate Journey and set for release in November 2000, with the first single scheduled for release in late September. Lopez revealed in August 2000: "I had a deadline, but then I went and did three movies. So I'd been writing it during the movies and getting it together. And now I'm in there recording it." Lopez eventually decided to name the album J.Lo, which was a nickname her fans called her on the streets since the beginning of her career. She titled the album this as a homage to her fans, "My fans call me J.Lo. Giving the album this title is my way of telling them that this is for them in appreciation of their support". Several artists followed this trend, such as Janet Jackson with her album Damita Jo (2004) and Mariah Carey with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005).
Prior to releasing the album, Lopez knew how important it was to "stay fresh", wanting to innovate the music industry. She made the decision to tweak her public image, dying her hair and changing her stage name to J.Lo. The album was released on January 23, 2001. She had "creative control" over J.Lo, even more than On the 6, explaining that "I really felt like this time it was even more mine". During the album's release, Lopez began to transition into a sex symbol. Previously, she had been vocal in living her life while acknowledging her responsibility as a role model to youth. The entertainer stated, "I mean, I feel like you can't take on the responsibility of the world, you know? I think it's destructive [...] You start thinking, Oh God, I have to do this or do that. You have to live your life. I don't do drugs, I don't drink or smoke or do anything like that. So, those are the type of things that people like [in] role models: 'Oh, you can't be human.' You are human."
Music and lyrics
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Lopez described J.Lo as a Pop album with Latin and R&B influences. This differs to On the 6, which was branded by Lopez as predominantly Latin soul music. "I don't think what I make is real Latin pop. I make pop music that has some Latin influence. Latin pop is in Spanish," Lopez stated. Lyrically, the album is described as more personal and romantic than her debut album. Lopez stated, "The songs reflect a lot of what I've observed and witnessed my sisters and my girlfriends going through. The songs are about having a good time and not having a good time, or partying a lot and partying too much". The album opens with its lead single, "Love Don't Cost a Thing", a pop song which was produced by Ric Wake. Lyrically, Lopez sings about the "inner workings of love" in a "materialistic relationship", with lyrics such as "Think I'm gonna spend your cash? I won't" and "Even if you were broke/ My love don't cost a thing". "I'm Real" is a retro pop song composed by Lopez with Cory Rooney and Troy Oliver, which was compared to Janet Jackson in her Control (1986) era. In the song, Lopez offers her lover a "good time" as long as he doesn't "ask me where I've been", while a male voice chants in the background "She's a bad, bad bitch".
"Play" is a dance-pop track which received production from Swedish producers, Arnthor Birgisson and Anders Bagge. It was written by Christina Milian before her debut as a recording artist, who also appears as a back-up singer. On the track, Lopez pleas with a nightclub DJ to "play her favorite song" over a shuffling electric guitar and dance beat. It has been described as "Madonna-esque". "Walking on Sunshine", one of the four songs on the album produced by Sean Combs, is an uptempo dance song which also maintains the retro sound of "I'm Real". "Ain't it Funny" is a Latin-pop song which returns Lopez to her "Latin roots". Written by Lopez and Cory, it contains lyrics about "creating the perfect romance in your mind, then facing reality when Mr. Right is less than ideal".
Her first bilingual album, J.Lo contains Spanish songs such as "Cariño", "Si Ya Se Acabo" and "Dame (Touch Me)", a duet with Latin recording artist Chayanne. "Cariño" is described by Lopez as "a cha-cha-inspired, Latin-y pop track", which took "forever" to write. The term "Cariño" means "love and affection", and according to Lopez, "It's when you touch and it's very affectionate. You can also call someone cariño". "That's Not Me" is a dramatic song about self-empowerment, also composed by Combs, which has an arrangement of an acoustic guitar, piano and a "complex" vocal arrangement. Another aspect of the album are sexually themed ballads. Slant Magazine and Rolling Stone heavily compared these ballads to Janet Jackson. Over instruments such as chimes and finger-snaps, "Come Over" is a song about "forbidden lust", with lyrics including "I love when you come over/ And when you come it gives me fever", as well as whispers in the background such as asking her lover to give her a "sweet kiss on my thigh". In "Secretly", the entertainer praises a "guy whom she can smell across the room". Later, Jackson herself, whom Lopez worked for as a back-up dancer in the early 90s, lauded "Secretly" as her favorite Lopez song. In July 2001, J.Lo was re-released with a remix version of "I'm Real", entitled "I'm Real (Murder Remix)". It was developed by and features rapper Ja Rule of Murder, Inc.. The urban oriented remix shifted Lopez to more of a pure R&B sound.
The "Murder Remix" version of "I'm Real" features Lopez using the word nigga. This caused backlash, with people calling it racist. While being interviewed by Today, Lopez stated, "For anyone to think or suggest that I'm racist is really absurd and hateful to me. The use of the word in the song, it was actually written by Ja Rule, it was not meant to be hurtful to anybody". Later, Rule was confused as to why Lopez "received flack" for using the track. The rapper thought it was "silly" and said, "I think the whole thing, like everything else, is being blown out of proportion. She's not the first Latino to use that word on a record, and it's never been an issue before. I think it's just that she's a very high-profile star and it's something to let people get a chance to poke at her." Furthermore, J.Lo was also criticized for its overtly sexual lyrics in spite of Lopez's preteen fanbase.
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The original version of "I'm Real" is based around a sample of the Yellow Magic Orchestra's song "Firecracker", using an interpolation throughout introduction and chorus. Tommy Mottola, in addition to being the head of Sony, was the head of Columbia Records, which recording artist Mariah Carey had left at the time. Mottola, Carey's ex-husband, heard the sampling of "Firecracker" in a trailer for Corey's musical film Glitter (2001). According to The Inc.'s Irv Gotti, Mottola knew of Carey's usage of the "Firecracker" sample, and attempted to have Lopez use the same sample before her. When the music publisher's for "Firecracker" were questioned, they admitted Carey had licensed usage of the sample first, and Lopez had signed for it over one month later, under Mottola's arrangement. Following the scandal, Carey was unable to use the sample. Also according to Gotti, Mottola contacted him with instructions to create an additional song that sounded exactly like another Glitter track he produced, titled "If We" featuring rappers Ja Rule and Nate Dogg.
The audio CD of J.Lo was "equipped" with special technology, which allowed buyers to access exclusive bonus features via Lopez's official website. Fans could place their CD in their CD-ROM drive of a computer and go to the entertainer's website where they would "unlock" a "secret" area of the site, which would contain the features. Lopez appeared on various television shows and performed live on several occasions to promote the album. On January 12, 2001, the entertainer appeared on Top of the Pops, performing singles such as "Love Don't Cost a Thing" and "Play". On January 24, Lopez appeared at the Virgin Megastore on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. Fans who purchased the album at 12 a.m. only would exclusively be given the chance to get Lopez's autograph. Lopez traveled to Australia briefly to promote J.Lo. According to the Sydney Morning Herald who wrote about her visit years later, she arrived in "true superstar style", "Her press conference at the Boomerang mansion in Elizabeth Bay was an absolute circus of beefy security guards (watching over J.Lo's arrival by boat), gushing publicists and one of the largest entertainment media packs I've ever seen".
On February 10, 2001, Lopez was the musical guest and host of Saturday Night Live. She appeared in comedy sketches as well as performing songs from the album, in her second appearance on the television series. Elsewhere, she appeared on Live! With Regis, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, The Late Show With David Letterman, Today and the 43rd Grammy Awards, among other television appearances. That February, Lopez performed "Love Don't Cost a Thing" and "Play" at a special Total Request Live event, CBS Sports Presents: MTV's TRL The Super Bowl Sunday, which occurred in Tampa, Florida at The NFL Experience theme park. At the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, held days before 9/11 on September 6, Lopez performed "Love Don't Cost a Thing" as well as "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", where she was joined by Ja Rule.
From September 22–23, 2001, Lopez performed a set of two concerts in Puerto Rico, entitled Let's Get Loud. These served as the first concerts of her career, in which she was, "flanked by a 10-piece orchestra, a five-person choir and 11 dancers". It would later air as a special on NBC. Later, a DVD of the concert entitled Jennifer Lopez: Let's Get Loud was released on February 11, 2003, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of 500,000.
A twenty-three second sample of the original version of "Ain't it Funny". It was written for the film The Wedding Planner, although rejected for having too much of a Latin sound.
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On November 16, 2000, Lopez globally premiered "Love Don't Cost a Thing" as the album's first single at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards. It was released as a single that December. The song received mixed feedback from critics. Entertainment Weekly noted its bold female empowerment message, while Slant Magazine called it a "cheap". "Love Don't Cost a Thing" was a wide commercial success, reaching the top ten of most music markets internationally; most notably reaching number one in the United Kingdom. It peaked at number three in the United States, making it her third top-ten hit at the time. A notorious video directed by Paul Hunter was released. It featured Lopez frolicking on the beach after her wealthy lover stands her up once again. It featured Cris Judd as a back-up dancer. Lopez and Judd became close during the video's production, and soon began a relationship after she split from Sean Combs. "Play" was released on March 27, 2001, as the second single from J.Lo. Although not as much of a success as "Love Don't Cost a Thing", "Play" was a commercial success internationally, while peaking at number 18 in the United States. It performed strongly on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, reaching number seven. A Francis Lawrence-directed "futuristic" themed music video for "Play" was released. It similarly featured Judd as a back-up dancer. Eventually, a few months after, Judd would become her next husband.
On June 20, 2001, the Latin pop inspired "Ain't it Funny" was released as the third single from J.Lo. It was originally written for the soundtrack of The Wedding Planner, a film Lopez starred in. However, Adam Shankman, the director, chose not to include it in the film because it had too much Latin influence, and "Love Don't Cost a Thing" was used instead. Although "Ain't it Funny" did not chart on the Hot 100, it was a success worldwide, reaching the top ten in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom where it peaked at number three. It was her second consecutive single to reach number three there, after "Play". That July, following the album's re-release with the addition of "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", the new track along with the original version of "I'm Real" were simultaneously released as one single. Two music videos produced. "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", however, had more of an impact on the charts. This allowed the single reached number one in the United States.
The album remains Lopez's most successful to date. For the week ending January 31, 2001, J.Lo debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with first-week sales of 272,300 copies. Rolling Stone said it was a "a somewhat modest arrival given the publicity machinery behind the album". Doing so, Lopez ended The Beatles' eight-week rein at number one with their greatest hits album 1. This week, Lopez's feature film The Wedding Planner debuted at number one in the United States box office after grossing $13.5 million during its opening weekend. This made Lopez the first entertainer in history to have a number one film and album at the same time. Lopez became the first female solo artist under Epic Records to reach the number one spot of the Billboard 200, joining other Epic artists such as Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam and Sly & the Family Stone among others. Additionally, J.Lo was the first number one album of the year 2001. During its second week, the album slipped to number two on the Billboard 200. In its third week, J.Lo sold 134,000 copies and fell to number four. MTV News reported its sales after three weeks of availability to have exceeding 586,000 copies. The following week, the album sold 130,000 copies, remaining in the chart's top five. For the Billboard issue of March 17, 2001, J.Lo dropped out of the chart's top ten, falling to number 17. For the week of April 7, 2001, J.Lo fell out of the Billboard 200's top 40.
After being re-released with the addition of the number one single "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", J.Lo began climbing the US charts once more. It was certified triple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of 3,000,000 copies. For the week of September 1, 2001, the album had re-entered the top ten at number ten, where it remained for two weeks. Overall, J.Lo was the eleventh best-selling record of the year in the United States, with sales of 3.03 million copies. On October 31, 2003, the album was certified quadruple Platinum for shipments of 4,000,000 copies in the United States. By February 2002, J.Lo had reached sales of 3,180,000 units in the United States. In June 2013, Gary Trust of Billboard revealed that J.Lo had now sold a total of 3,800,000 copies in the United States.
J.Lo also experienced a large amount of commercial success internationally. In Canada, the album sold over 100,000 copies in its first week alone, instantly being certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Additionally, it debuted and peaked atop the Canadian Albums Chart. In total, it sold 200,000 copies in Canada, certified double Platinum. The album peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, and remains her most successful album there, remaining on the chart for 48 weeks. It was eventually certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry for sales of over 300,000. For the week commencing February 5, 2001, J.Lo was the highest-selling album throughout Europe. It also peaked at number one in Poland, Switzerland and Greece. The album had its longest European chart run in France. After entering and peaking at number six on the French Albums Chart, it spent a total of 70 weeks charting, last appearing on September 28, 2002, after two re-entries. J.Lo entered the Australian Albums Chart at number two on February 4, 2001. It remained in the top ten for six weeks, and in the top forty for 26 weeks including re-entries. It was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association for sales of 140,000. J.Lo was certified double Platinum in other countries including New Zealand and Switzerland.
|Wall of Sound|||
|Yahoo! Music UK|||
J.Lo received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said it is "essentially the same album" as On the 6, "only a little longer with a little less focus and not as many memorable songs". While describing Lopez as "musically a mixed bag", he said, "Its longer running time makes it a little less appealing than its predecessor, yet it has just about the same number of strong songs". Erlewine criticized the album's lack of variety, stating that the music and vocals "remain the same from song to song, with the occasional Latin cut thrown in to vary the rhythm somewhat. Since both the production and Lopez play it cool, not hot". Amy Linden of Sonic.net was very positive, writing that "J.Lo has a feisty, damn-I-know-I'm-all-that attitude, combined with pulsating, insistent beats that leap out of the speakers and make you wanna move". Entertainment Weekly's Tom Sinclair gave the album an unfavorable review, writing that Lopez "seems lost amid the cluttered, high-gloss arrangements. A glance at the CD booklet offers amusing confirmation that there were plenty of cooks in the kitchen". He said her vocals "seems to be in key", although she's "clearly no Aretha". However, Sinclair did feel that Lopez "deserves props" for the Spanish language songs, such as "Dame" and "Si Ya Se Acabó", although said she "aims for the lowest common denominator" by "cooing" about love and sex.
Jon Pareles of Rolling Stone was also mixed, stating that "most of the music sounds like jigsaw puzzles: showers of tiny bits and pieces that interlock as complex, coherent songs". Pareles compared Lopez's vocals on ballads such as "Come Over" to that of Janet Jackson's. He also disapproaved of the Latin-pop tracks such as "Ain't it Funny" and "Si Ya Se Acabó", "She piles on Hispanic signifiers ... only to sound like she's repeatedly remaking Madonna's "Isla Bonita". NME's Christian Ward, on the other hand, was negative, "you begin to wonder: does this woman actually exist, or was she dreamed up by some demographic-hugging, zeitgeist-fellating exec who saw a gap in the market between, like, Janet Jackson and Gloria Estefan?"
Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani said, "Lopez is a child of the '80s [...] So it's not surprising that so many of the tracks on her sophomore effort, J. Lo, sound like they're straight out of 1986". He compared J.Lo to Janet Jackson's Control, while calling the album "a mixed bag: part retro dance-pop, part prescription R&B, and part Latin. But Lopez's voice seems best suited for dance-pop rather than R&B and, judging from this album, it's where her heart is too". Cinquemani praised the "empowerment" track "That's Not Me", "While Lopez's voice has never been her fortune, she manages to pull this one off, and the effect is almost operatic". Overall, he called the album "Ok-Lo". Mike Ross of Canoe.ca was generally unfavorable writing, "Like cotton candy, this music is made from air, sugar and artificial colour". Ross felt that the album's only good aspects were its Spanish tracks and "Come Over", which he said is "guaranteed to steam up a few bedroom windows".
In December 2001, it was announced that Lopez would release a remix album of J.Lo. According to Cory Rooney, "We had changed the sound of Jennifer Lopez [with "I'm Real"] and we didn't have anything else on the [J.Lo] album we could release as a single. We had to do another remix to keep the momentum going". After the success of "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", Lopez once again recruited Ja Rule for a remix version of "Ain't it Funny". Prior to the release of J to tha L–O! The Remixes, "Ain't it Funny (Murder Remix)" was released and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, one of the most successful singles of Lopez's career. The remix album debuted atop the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 156,000 copies. It became the first number one remix album in the United States.
|J.Lo — Standard edition|
|1.||"Love Don't Cost a Thing"||
|3.||"Play"||Bag & Arnthor||3:31|
|4.||"Walking on Sunshine"||
|5.||"Ain't It Funny"||
|8.||"We Gotta Talk"||
|9.||"That's Not Me"||
|10.||"Dance with Me"||
|12.||"I'm Gonna Be Alright"||
|13.||"That's the Way"||
|14.||"Dame (Touch Me)" (duet with Chayanne)||
|15.||"Si Ya Se Acabo"||
|J.Lo — Spanish edition (bonus tracks)|
|16.||"Amor Se Paga con Amor"||
|18.||"Qué Ironía (Ain't It Funny)"||
|J.Lo — Japanese edition (bonus track)|
|J.Lo — North American special edition (bonus track)|
|16.||"I'm Real (Murder Remix)" (featuring Ja Rule)||4:22|
|J.Lo — European special edition (bonus tracks)|
|16.||"Pleasure Is Mine"||Roche||4:17|
|18.||"I'm Real (Murder Remix)" (featuring Ja Rule)||
Awards and nominations
- Best Female Artist
- MTV Video Music Awards
Charts and certifications
Chart precession and succession