This is her, now. She is a fireball of energy - unstoppable, unshakeable, and ferociously ambitious. She is immensely talented and not afraid of a challenge. She is Jennifer Lopez.
This singer/songwriter/actress, renown as much for her effortless talent as for her striking and radiant beauty, has never been one to rest on her laurels. Since the early 90s, when she appeared as a Fly Girl on Fox's seminal sketch comedy show, "In Living Color," she has been in perpetual motion. Starring roles in movies like "Selena," and "Out of Sight," "The Wedding Planner," (debuting at number one) and most recently, "Maid In Manhattan" (debuting at number one). For a time, the only thing missing was the music-something that has been a part of Jennifer's life since her early days in the Castle Hill section of The Bronx.
And then, in 1999, she released her debut album, On The 6. A sassy blend of what Jennifer calls "Latin Soul," mixed with pureR&B, pop and soul music influences, On The 6 was a resounding success. The album, certified six-times platinum Worldwide, spawned the No. 1 hit single, "If You Had My Love" and introduced Jennifer to a whole new legion of fans.
When Jennifer released, J.Lo, she made history, claiming the No.1 spot for her album and her movie, "The Wedding Planner." J.Lo was a runaway hit, certified seven-times platinum Worldwide and soaring to No. 1 on the album charts. Blending her Latin soul roots with her hip-hop upbringing, Jennifer brought sassy urban pop music to the forefront of the musical landscape. A duet with rapper Ja Rule on her No. 1 hit, "I'm Real," brought even more exposure from urban audiences while traditional dance tracks like the energetic and effervescent "Play" built on the fan base that supported her first effort.
It's been a whirlwind trip for Jennifer. And even the release of her remix album, J To The L-O! The Remixes, proved to be an event, debuting at No. 1 with the help of the No. 1 single, "Ain't It Funny," featuring Ja Rule. This is the biggest selling remix album of all time, with over 2.5 million copies Worldwide.
Since her debut, Jennifer's music has mirrored her career trajectory: the sweet reminiscing of her South Bronx childhood with "On The 6," the firm, sexy confidence on "J.Lo" and now, Jennifer continues to express herself musically with "This Is Me...Then."
Indeed, Jennifer's latest collection is a testament to her soul, her spirit and her present state of mind. And Jennifer's voice-always airy and angelic-is even more so. It seems as if her peace of mind is bringing out new notes and new nuances to her talent that have never before been heard.
On "Still," a powerful mid-tempo track that is both plaintive and strong, Jennifer lays her heart out on the line with a melodic and melancholy tale of a love-gone-wrong. It's sentiment that anyone who has ever had a heart-broken-or broken someone else's-can understand. And her passion for the lyrics shines through and rings true. "Loving You," brings the familiar baseline from Mtume's 1983 hit, "Juicy Fruit." That fun 80s era flair is a perfect backdrop for the tight production and carefree atmosphere.
The title of the album is an apt one, because every song feels like a no-holds-barred interview with Jennifer that has been set to a pulsating beat. On "I'm Glad," a sunny, harmonious ballad, the thumping bass line is layered right under a light harpsichord. The lyrics-a thankful, happy tale of being in love-are sweet enough to eat. And on "The One," which borrows from The Stylistics winsome ballad, "You Are Everything," an intricate string arrangement is married to a hip-hop beat. Jennifer's powerful pipes bring a perfect old-soul edge to the love song-a new millennium version of the tracks that brought an older generation together.
One of the album's musical, vocal and lyrical highlights is "Dear Ben," a declaration of her love for the special someone in her life and the result is nothing short of breathtaking. "Dear Ben" begins with a languid intro and crystal-clear high hats. When the verse begins, the song is quickly revealed to be a love poem set to music. The raw energyand power of the song makes Jennifer a balladeer to be reckoned with-one who is not afraid to let her true self come through in her music.
On "All I Have," which brings to mind Debra Laws 1980 ballad, "Very Special," Jennifer goes line for line and verse for verse in a battle of the sexes with none other than LL Cool J.
The first single from This Is Me...Then, "Jenny From The Block," makes the point once again. The single is a tribute to Jennifer's childhood in the place where hip-hop began, The Bronx. With subtle samples from The Beatnuts "Off The Books" and KRS-1's "South Bronx" Jennifer brings it back to her roots, with help from respected lyricists Styles and Jadakiss from The Lox. No matter where she's been, who she has performed with or what awards she's received-Jennifer is still "Jenny From The Block," and this playful anthem brings that to light.
Jennifer brings her album to full circle with ballads like the "Again," with its twinkling keys and subtle strings and maracas which bring to mind a tropical theme, and "You Belong To Me," a remake of Carly Simon and Michael McDonald's 1977 smash, with its live guitar solos, hand claps and funky earthy vibe.
This Is Me...Then is a road trip, a family vacation, a reunion, a wedding, a birthday party and a night on the town, all in one.
This is Jennifer...now!