J.Lo spills liquid sunshine in her newest album 

   Jennifer Lopez’s new album, “This Is Me… Now” is a bottle of sunshine, filled to bursting with nostalgia for the aughts, but fails to capture the magic of classic J.Lo. These slick tunes and smooth r&b send heatwaves from a summer that never was, but lack the bite of the real thing.

   “This Is Me… Now,” much like 2002’s “This is Me… Then,” is full of songs directly addressed to Ben Affleck, but it just lacks the character to compete with that titan of an album. There just isn’t a “Jenny from the Block” earworm to top this tiara. There are good singles, with “Can’t Get Enough” standing out as a solid composition filled with driving energy and an infectiously fun atmosphere, but it feels cheap compared to the iconic tracks of the era to which it pays homage.

   Also notably missing are any serious rap and Latin influences (outside of reworks only on the deluxe edition), with sleek synths and TLC style production taking their place. Pop has come a long way since J.Lo’s last album “A.K.A.” came out in 2014, and none of that development is on display here.

   Creativity and progressive songwriting aren’t coming in hot either, with half the tracks following the same narrative of joyous reunion between Affleck and Lopez, and the shine wears off even faster. Their highly publicized relationship aside, this album has few unique tracks. The best song on the album is one of those Affleck-a-thons, “Midnight Trip to Vegas,” because it tells a sweet story well.

   “Hearts and Flowers,” an ode to the pressures and difficulties of maintaining a public presence and the difficulties of keeping yourself together, is crushingly mediocre. It’s a wonderful sentiment bogged down by dishonest imagery and a lack of candidness. That speaks to the problem with this whole album, there isn’t any of the “truth” that the tracks all promise. 

   Musically, most of this album slides right into the background. The tracks are consistent; there isn’t much of a gulf between the best and worst of the album. It’s laid back and ready to rock along to whatever you’re working on, with plenty of Post Malone’s “Sunflower” energy to be had, just not quite enough.

   This album is competent and well constructed, but lacks the fire that has made Lopez one of the most respected names in Pop for over two decades. “This Is Me… Now” isn’t innovative, and the nostalgia-bait doesn’t quite make up for that.

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