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Jennifer Lopez: J.Lo

BY JOSH DRIMMER

There is no good without bad. This concept is a recurring theme in everything from Paradise Lost to Mission: Impossible 2, but I make this statement not upon the support of great literature or bad John Woo movies. No, I believe there is no good without bad because I listened to Jennifer Lopez's sophomore album, the innocuously titled J.Lo. And like Dante soaring up to heaven through hell, or Bill and Ted gaining rock stardom at the end of Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, listening to one of the worst albums I have ever subjected myself to has given me an appreciation for all other pieces of music.

The first circle, or song, of J.Lo is a fairly painless Destiny's Child clone entitled "Love Don't Cost a Thing." With dramatic, synthesized strings, quickly sung R&B lyrics, and ridiculous horns, Lopez's leadoff single is forgettable and unoriginal, but still listenable. "I'm Real" is less so, as Lopez's limited range and lack of vocal presence start to show through the highly processed production. If listening to just one diva without a voice sounds frightening, imagine 15 synthesized clones of that non-voice.

Other than "dance" songs like "Play" and "Dance With Me," which belong in aerobics classes rather than on actual dance floors, there are two styles of music on J.Lo: bastardized Latin pop and slow sex songs. The former includes "Carino." Jacking "Sofrito," by Mongo Santamaria, and featuring a chorus with remarkably little of Lopez's singing, it's fun listening for all the wrong reasons. The latter category consists of the interchangeable "Come Over" and "Secretly," the only two songs where Lopez is able to hold a note longer than three seconds. One would think that any song with Lopez cooing for love would at least induce some heat. However, the whispered pillow talk ("You smell so good/I want to kiss you...") underneath "Secretly" only grants J. Lo the honor of making a love song funnier than the Spice Girls' "2 Become 1."

While I don't necessarily advise anyone else to go through the bogus journey of mid-tempo anguish that is J. Lo, the experience will make anything listened to afterwards, even if it is Harlem World or No Strings Attached, sound like an angelic choir. Your ticket through the Divine Comedy awaits you at the bottom of the Herald's trash can. (Epic) —Josh Drimmer

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