February 8, 2001

Just Call Her "Puff Momma"

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“Let’s Get Loud” as Jennifer Lopez returns with the blockbuster sequel to her debut album On the Six. Although this album’s self-styled title and distinctive appearance outwardly seem like a Puffy-inspired creation, J. Lo’s dance-pop rhythms are infused with a sound that is truly her own.

With fifteen original tracks, this album ultimately shows that this Latin diva wants her listeners to follow the alluring words of her song, “Dance With Me.” Slightly longer than her previous album, this effort has the potential to produce just as many chart-topping singles.

Beginning with her latest hit single “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” J. Lo is a dance-pop creation through and through. This poppy feel remains strong throughout the album; so strong, in fact, that one cut begins to sound like the next. Although this constant tone is occasionally disrupted by a Latin groove, such as “Dame” (sung with Puerto Rican superstar Chayyanne), “Carino,” or “Si Ya Se Acaso,” the album smoothly, yet sometimes monotonously, blends from song to song.

Many of her tracks, including “I’m Real” and “We Gotta Talk,” lack a certain emotional depth; nevertheless, J. Lo gets the party pumped with these purely fun fiesta-like tunes. Lopez even infuses a bit of an R&B sound into the album with her most ambitious song, “That’s the Way.” But her main attempt at a softer, more subdued cut, “Secretly,” gets lost in the midst of the generally upbeat and sexy musical mixture that marks the rest of the album. Overall, her tremendous charisma overcomes this sense of banality and her music consistently appeals to a young pop culture fan.

Despite collaborations with hip-hop heartthrob Sean “Puffy” Combs in the writing and production of “Play” and “Walking on Sunshine,” her latest love is only one aspect of her life that she tries to incorporate into this album. She’s also true to her Bronx background; she may not be seen taking the “six” train, but she can be heard singing with a street-edged style that is true to her roots.

Even her sense of style figures in here; her look can be compared to the essence of her music — real and always distinctly hers. Although her voice is mechanically altered on various tunes, that doesn’t stop Lopez’s songs from reaching a high level of poppy perfection.

While some accuse Lopez of being just another actress turned pop star, it is apparent that she is storming the entertainment world, as well as fashion news and front page media, with thunder. Although her latest movie, The Wedding Planner, may not have received overwhelmingly glamorous reviews, Lopez redeems herself with this album’s lively, upbeat, and energizing sound that has confirmed her presence in the dance-pop arena. Likened by some to Paula Abdul, Lopez is a singer, songwriter, actress, talented dancer, and co-executive producer of this album all in one.

While this album may not presently have as many winning singles as did On the Six, Lopez’s distinguished style makes J. Lo uniquely hers. In her track “That’s Not Me,” Lopez sings, “I can’t sit and be passive/ Won’t tolerate no more