JoJo’s ‘Mad Love': 5 Brand New Must-Listen Tracks
If there is a silver lining to JoJo's decade-long standoff with prominent record labels, during which she was unable to release a single full-length album, it's this: she has very clearly put her time underground to good use.
Today (October 14), for the first time since 2006, the "F--k Apologies" singer has put forth an LP, and Mad Love is a type of figured-out that can only come from poring over creative imprisonment. The album's a clean, deftly constructed tell-off to all those who stood in JoJo's way, cast her to the wayside or left her for dead, and if the new "FAB" serves as any indication, this is an artist who's very happily delivered her comeback with two middle fingers extended and raised skyward.
When JoJo first announced the project in July — and upon the release of a handful of promotional singles since — there was some concern the project might ultimately suffer for disproportion. Would it break or surrender to frailty like the beautifully bleak "Music"? Would it find strength in recalcitrance, and fight on the front lines like "FAB"? Would it serve as JoJo's own Sunday-morning sermon, and would the soulful "Mad Love" be the key to its potential? The answer is yes — to each — and Mad Love isn't any less resolved.
Between howling pleads and withdrawn whispers, trend-chasing dry runs and novelty throwbacks, the deluxe album's 15 tracks each function as a single chapter of a story of reclamation. Listen to five of PopCrush's favorites, post-"Music" release, check out the full album and share your thoughts in the comments.
It's got the attitude of Danity Kane's "Lemonade" with the ease of a sexy slow-burn. Still, it's powerful. It's an ebb to the album's often rapid-fire flow, and a pleasant bit of sultry rest. "I'm a good girl, baby, tell me what you want," JoJo coos in her most convincing act of seduction yet.
"High Heels" is everything you'd want from a mid-tempo Christina Aguilera anthem, but with the capacity to practice occasional restraint. It's a tale as familiar as Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" in which a scorned lover finally severs a fraying tie. But JoJo has got an especially cutting method of division, and her madness is particularly (and beautifully) unhinged in the second verse.
Funny "Good Thing" mentions a million-dollar bill, — it's got the likeness of a contemporary, caffeinated I Look to You track from Whitney Houston's later catalog. Armed with a '90s dancehall vibe and a more modern undercurrent drawn straight from Adam Lambert's "Ghost Town," the song isn't afraid to stand out for its anomalous cheer. And, if you're in the mood for some falsetto, look no further.
Here, JoJo makes her metamorphosis perfectly clear: she can do what she wants, see whom she wants and will not subject herself to standards, particularly any that seem prudish. In other words, it's a sex-positive monologue, made all the more interesting for its sweet tones and angelic inclinations. "You need to let go of what a good girl does / It's not that obvious / It's my prerogative," JoJo scoffs calmly.
As sleepy trop-house reaches its radio saturation point, JoJo proves it's possible to achieve too-cool modernity without forcing listeners into tandem comas. "Clovers" is exciting without forfeiting ease, and electrifies but doesn't overwhelm. And lyrically, it's Mad Love's most beautiful declaration of freedom: "Just when I think it's over / Just when I think I've lost my mind / I'm in field of clovers / I'm running forward back to life."
Here Are Some Convincing Signs the Early Aughts Are Back: