Rebirth (Jennifer Lopez album)
|Studio album by Jennifer Lopez|
|Released||February 28, 2005|
|Jennifer Lopez chronology|
|Singles from Rebirth|
Rebirth is the fourth studio album by American singer Jennifer Lopez. It was released on February 28, 2005, by Epic Records. Following the release of her third studio album This Is Me... Then (2002) which was dedicated to her fiance at the time Ben Affleck, Lopez decided to focus on her film career. Soon, her courtship with Affleck ended and Lopez took a break from her career, which had been on a "roller-coaster" ride since her debut album On the 6 (1999). During this time, she married fellow Hispanic recording artist Marc Anthony, and began telling the media that she was entering "phase two" of her life, feeling like she had a new beginning.
In late 2004, Lopez began working on Rebirth with producers such as Cory Rooney, Tim & Bob, Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins and Anthony. She explained the album's concept as her being reborn following the media circus that followed her romance with Affleck. Having taken a vacation, Lopez returned feeling innovated. Additionally, she aimed to be rid of the "J.Lo" persona, which she described as not being a "real person", confusing the public. However, she later stated that this was blown out of proportion. Rebirth was milder than her previous material, consisting of mainly mid-tempo R&B songs. It also included dance, funk, and hip hop tracks.
Upon its release Rebirth received generally mixed reviews. While her comeback was praised, it was noted that the album's mild content let it down. The album was a moderate success. In the United States, it peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of over 1,000,000 copies. Worldwide, it reached the top ten in most major music markets. The album spawned two singles. The first, "Get Right", peaked atop the UK Singles Chart and reached number 12 in the United States, while Rebirth's second single "Hold You Down" failed to make an impact, charting moderately.
In November 2002, Lopez became engaged to Academy Award winning director and actor, Ben Affleck. Their high-profiled relationship garnered a substantial amount of media attention. The public and media began to refer to them as "Bennifer" and they became a prominent supercouple in the media and popular culture. Bennifer became a popular term, which was eventually entered into urban dictionaries and neologism dictionaries as notable, and the name blend started the trend of other celebrity couples being referred to by the combination of each other's first names. That November she released her third studio album entitled This Is Me... Then. Lyrically, the album was dedicated to Affleck, her "muse" for the record. The album performed strongly, opening to her highest first-week sales and becoming one of the highest-selling albums of her career. The overexposure from the media and public interest in their relationship resulted in less admiration for their work and negatively affected their careers. Eventually, the couple broke off their engagement and split up by January 2004, devastating Lopez. Following this, the entertainer went on a career hiatus. Just months later that June, Lopez married Marc Anthony, who she had previously dated in 1999. A month later, Lopez stated that she felt renewed. She stated, "I feel like this is my phase two, like it's a new beginning. Like everything I did before really doesn't matter." She also chose to be more private stating, "I don't want to talk about anything that is personal or private at all, because what's the use? You're open with people, and then they try and make a soap opera out of your life".
In October 2004, it was reported that Lopez was in the studio working with Sean Garrett. That December, it was announced that the album would be titled Rebirth, her first album in over two years. MTV News confirmed that guest artists such as Fat Joe, Fabolous and Anthony would appear on the album, as well as a few song titles. The album's title was very personal to Lopez, who felt reborn and wanted to be rid of the "J-Lo" diva persona the public believed her to be. According to Digital Spy, Lopez stated, "I'm not J.Lo, she's not a real person. She was just a bit of fun that got really crazy. I've never been anyone but Jennifer". Additionally, she considered naming the album Call Me Jennifer instead because that would be her "way of saying goodbye to the whole J.Lo thing". This caused confusion with the public, and Lopez admitted that this was blown out of proportion. She later stated, "You can call me J-Lo or you could call me Jennifer or you could call me Jenny - I don't care!" Having recorded the album after a break, Lopez felt that she was "back where she started". Explaining that her she was "on such a roller-coaster ride" from her first album to This Is Me... Then, she stated, "[when] I came back, this was the first project I did. I felt like it was a new beginning for me, like I was, in a way, reborn. I was where I was when I made my first album".
During low-key visits to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles which she is an avid supporter of, Lopez befriended an eleven-year old cancer patient named Paige Peterson. As Lopez was her hero, Peterson was determined to attend the inaugural Noche de Niños gala where the entertainer was being honored with an award. She attended the evening, despite her condition worsening that very night. The next morning, Peterson passed away. She inspired Lopez and made her realize why she does charity work, "That's why I do this. I don't like to do my charity work in public. That's not what you do it for". Peterson's mother said Lopez helped Paige deliver her message, which was to let the world know that kids get cancer too. Lopez dedicates Rebirth to Peterson in the album's credits where it is written, "This album is dedicated to the memory of a little angel who touched my heart...Paige Peterson".
Music and lyrics
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Rebirth predominantly consists of dance and hip hop music that has garnered Lopez "so much success over the years". It also incorporates '80s pop-rock. Lopez worked with several producers for the album including Rodney Jerkins, Timbaland, Cory Rooney and Marc Anthony among others. The album's first track is "Get Right", an R&B, dance-pop and funk influenced song written by Rich Harrison, which contains heavy horn instrumentation. The song was originally recorded by Usher as "Ride" for his album Confessions, but was scrapped. However, the instrumental as well as the song's bridge remained the same, in which Lopez sings, "So much we've got to say, but so little time/ And if tonight ain't long enough, don't leave love behind/ Baby, take my hand". "Step Into My World" is an African music influenced song which contains a flute sample and is sung by Lopez through breathy vocals.
"Hold You Down" is a mellow R&B song which features Fat Joe. It features Shirley Murdock's "As We Lay". The track was a "last minute" add to Rebirth. Lopez recruited Fat Joe for the song because it was a "friendship record", and she didn't want to do it with anybody else. He said, "We don't talk every day, but we got mad love for each other whenever we see each other. It's always crazy love." "Whatever You Wanna Do", also written and produced by Harrison, makes use of drums and horn instrumentals. "Cherry Pie" is an uptempo pop-rock song with "feisty" vocals from Lopez over drums and an electric guitar. "I Got You" written and produced by Jerkins lyrically speaks about her secretive relationship with Anthony, with lyrics such as "Sometimes real love can be not seen ’cause you’re thinking what’s right in front of you can’t be the one for you."
"Still Around" is a summer influenced R&B song which lyrically speaks about undying love. Anthony makes a spoken cameo in the track. "Ryde or Die" is an intense R&B and Hip-hop track which was written by Brandy Norwood for her unreleased album. The song was later given to Lopez who recorded it, with Norwood singing background vocals. "I, Love" is a mid-tempo song which contains staccato percussion and airy synths. The song's lyrics have Lopez convincing her lover that she cares about him, and that their chemistry isn't "pretend" or "make-believe", with her even stating that she'd die before hurting him. "He'll Be Back" and "(Cant Believe) This Is Me", the album's final tracks, have been said to address lingering issues in Lopez's own love life. "He'll Be Back", produced by Timbaland, has been viewed as a "dis song" to Ben Affleck, in which Lopez sings, "I know better than anybody how it feels to want somebody so bad after you breakup." "(Cant Believe) This Is Me" is a power ballad produced by Anthony, which references "every link in J.Lo's long relationship chain". Lopez described "Cant Believe) This Is Me" as her favorite song on the album. She said, "I think the most risky song, or the song that is most different, is called "This Is Me" because it was written in Spanish first and...is the most dramatic song. It's the most special to me".
During the album's December 2004 release party in Stockholm, Sweden, Lopez and Anthony abruptly left the event because of reportedly disruptive loud men who were under the influence of alcohol. That December, Lopez also traveled to the United Kingdom to promote Rebirth, being interviewed by radio stations such as Capital FM. Rebirth was first released in Germany and the United Kingdom on February 28, 2005. In the United States, it was released by Epic Records on March 1, 2005. It was also released by Sony Entertainment in most other regions, including Australia. Lopez promoted the album by making various television appearances and live performances. On January 4, 2005, she engaged in a live chat on MSN.com with her fans, to answer questions about Rebirth and its conception. On the day of the album's release, Lopez appeared at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square, New York City, where she signed copies of the CD. On March 3, she appeared at Hot 97's Full Frontal Hip Hop concert.
Lopez was slated to embark on a short promotional tour in European cities as well as Dubai, but cancelled it. She later put out a statement saying that she was ill, "I very much wanted to be in London today but unfortunately I'm not well. At the advice of my doctors I'm unable to travel. Being sick has also caused me to cancel my European album tour". Lopez had expressed her hopes to embark on a world tour to support Rebirth. She told MTV News: "I've tried to plan a tour so many times. And we're planning it again. It's exciting". Lopez explained that her film career made it hard for her to tour, "It's been hard to map out that amount of time to really do it right." However, details for a tour were never unveiled and there subsequently was never one.
Two singles were released from Rebirth. "Get Right" was the first. On December 31, 2004, Lopez unveiled a sneak-peak look at the official music video for "Get Right" on MTV. The single was released on January 3, 2005. America Online broadcast the music video the previous day, while MTV screened the video's creation on Making the Video on January 5. The following day, the full music video aired on Total Request Live, BET and FUSE. In the music video directed by Francis Lawrence, Lopez plays many different characters in a nightclub, "examining all the little moments that happen almost simultaneously in a nightclub during the duration of a single song". "Get Right" was a hit, charting at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, while reaching number one in the United Kingdom. "Hold You Down" featuring Fat Joe was released as the album's second and final single. It peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song being released as a single was criticized.
|The A.V. Club||(mixed)|
|Los Angeles Times||(mixed)|
|Yahoo! Music UK|||
Rebirth received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album a positive review, praising it as "sleek, sexy" and a "straight-ahead dance album, alternating between sweet, breezy pop tunes". Erlewin wrote, "Since it doesn't deviate from the blueprint she's followed on her first three albums, it's hard to call this record a literal creative rebirth, but song for song, Rebirth has more energy and better hooks than her other albums". Additionally, he said the album isn't "deep", but "fun" considering the "tumult" of the past two years in Lopez's life. Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield wasn't as positive, calling Lopez a "rinky-dink pop singer", noting no highlights of the album. Yahoo!'s Justin Lewis on the other hand praised the album as Lopez's comeback. He wrote, "she's a better pop star than I've given her credit for. Her vocal talent is brought to the light and she skillfully stays within her vocal boundaries. But the production is what made this album. Without it, this album would've been mostly nothing but a substandard R&B affair. But with it, it's one infectious album that rattles you from head to toe and back within a nice 48:00 package". Lewis opined that it was Lopez's "strongest offering" to date. Nathan Robin of The A.V. Club said that the album's first half "packs a certain fizzy effervescence, but the album sags as it approaches the finishing line." Rabin also called Lopez's vocals "heavily processed." Entertainment Weekly's David Browne described Rebirth as "mild" and was not favorable. He concluded that, "One gets the sense from Rebirth that Lopez wants her music to be inoffensive and as easy to swallow as baby food, all the better to reach as wide a consumer base as possible. Too bad, since somewhere inside Jennifer Lopez Inc. is a dancing queen still waiting to break out, if only for tonight".
Alexis Petridis of The Guardian gave the album a mixed review, stating that its concept hadn't redeemed Lopez, "[Rebirth] pulls out all the stops to try to wipe Lopez's slate clean, to obliterate the flops and the failures of recent years. Not for want of trying, it doesn't succeed. Despite the highlights, you're still left pondering the question: what happened to Jennifer Lopez?" BBC's Jack Smith criticized Lopez's vocals, "Odd voice, the Lopez squeak. It's sort of reedy and thin and breathless; she always sounds a bit too worried and self-conscious to really lose herself in the music. There are bits in every J-Lo song where her less-than-convinced tone of voice can actually transport the listener to the recording studio, and a vision of the confused expression on her face, trying to make what's on the lyric sheet work in her mouth". Tracy Hopkins of Today Music said, "like Madonna and Janet Jackson, people don’t listen to J.Lo for the poignant lyrics — she’s best when riding a dance groove [...] Rebirth is a satisfying listen, but fans who like their Jenny from the block hot and spicy will be slightly disappointed by the disc’s milder dance-pop flavor." Gemma Tarlach compared Rebirth to works by Janet Jackson, writing that both of them used formulaic beats which highlights vocal weakness. Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani wrote, "So, in that sense, it kind of is like a rebirth, but it's mostly just another Jennifer Lopez record: a few good songs, some badly sung filler, great production, and a whole team of collaborators to make it all work".
In the United States, Rebirth performed moderately, although significantly lower than her previous efforts. For the week of March 19, 2005, it debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with sales of 261,000 copies. The next week, it dropped to number four with sales of 86,000 units. During its fourth week, the album fell to number seven with sales of 60,000. The following week, Rebirth experienced a larger decrease, falling to number 20 with roughly 27,000 copies sold. By May, the album had fallen out of the chart's top 40. By June, Rebirth had fallen out of the chart's top 100. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the album Platinum for shipments of over 1,000,000 copies. By June 2013, Gary Trust of Billboard reported that the album had sold over 744,000 copies in the United States.
Rebirth was more successful in internationally where it managed to chart within the top ten of nearly every music market. It topped the charts in the Netherlands and Switzerland, while reaching the top ten in Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Japan, Belgian, Austria, France, Poland and Ireland among various other countries. Rebirth was Turkey's best-selling foreign-language album in 2005. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number eight on the charts with first-week sales of 41,000; these sales were higher than the first-week sales of her highest-selling album, J.Lo (2001).
|2.||"Step Into My World"||
|3.||"Hold You Down" (featuring Fat Joe)||
|4.||"Whatever You Wanna Do"||
|6.||"I Got U"||
|8.||"Ryde or Die"||
|10.||"He'll Be Back"||4:18|
|11.||"(Can't Believe) This Is Me"||
|12.||"Get Right" (featuring Fabolous)||
- ^a signifies a vocal producer
- ^b signifies a co-producer
- "Get Right" contains elements of "Soul Power '74", written by James Brown, as performed by Maceo & the Macks.
- "Hold You Down" contains elements of "As We Lay", written by Larry Troutman and Billy Beck, as performed by Shirley Murdock.
- "Whatever You Wanna Do" contains elements of "Con-Funk-Shun", written by Delma Churchill, Harvey Fuqua and Kenneth Hawkins, as performed by The Nite-Liters.
Credits adapted from the album booklet for Rebirth.
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