Jennifer Lopez


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A.K.A. Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Moving to Capitol/EMI after a one-off record at Island/Universal, Jennifer Lopez seizes the opportunity of a new label to jump-start her career with A.K.A. It isn't quite a complete reboot, however. Its executive producer is RedOne, who worked on 2011's Love?, but this record attempts to push J-Lo further into modern dance, by having her duet with T.I., Pitbull, and Rick Ross, not to mention Iggy Azalea, who was the hottest rapper in the U.S. upon the June release of A.K.A. Iggy's showcase arrives on "Acting Like That," one of several tracks produced by Leon Youngblood, and his contributions -- which also include the title track and "So Good" -- are the moments on the record that get it right, balancing the heavy club throb with pop hooks that rely on feel as much as Lopez's vocals. When the scale tips too heavily toward rhythm -- as it does on "Booty" and "I Luh Ya Papi" -- the productions don't do Lopez many favors, burying her in their thrum. A bit more of A.K.A. is devoted to this cacophonic attack than usual -- she's on firmer territory on "First Love," a confection constructed by Max Martin -- and while that's a heavy indication of how Lopez wants to rebrand herself for 2014, the sound also conveniently camouflages whatever lyrics she's singing about her divorce from Marc Anthony.

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