Jennifer Lopez : J.Lo

Really, who is Lopez kidding?

So she’s just ‘J.Lo’ now. A brand name, a tacky logo, a mere stamp of the ever-expanding Lopez Multinational, that increasingly tiresome offshoot of the meretricious Puff Daddy empire. Airbrushed to within an inch of her life on the album sleeve, you begin to wonder: does this woman actually exist, or was she dreamed up by some demographic-hugging, zeitgeist-fellating exec who saw a gap in the market between, like, Janet Jackson and Gloria Estefan?

Well, you gotta say that gap was pretty lucrative once it was prised open by

multi-million selling debut ‘On The 6’. And for a nanosecond it was all fun (she’s got a thing about the size of her bum – cute; she’s just like us, right?) but never ever was it remotely credible; after all, she

got her ‘artist’ credits doing movies.

But she was human – just – and emotionally three-dimensional, even if

it was in that hyper-kinetic, perfect skin, Hollywood way.

But that’s all changed – ‘J.Lo’ is a calculated assault on our post-Destiny’s Child sensibilities, an hysterical but fatally flawed attempt to prove that this Lopez puppet can do [I]anything[/I] her producers ask of her. Christina sings songs in Spanish? Bullshit, our hi-tech J.Lo model’s got ‘Si Ya Se Acab√≥’. Want Britney pap? Here’s hi-NRG J.Lo doing ‘Walking On Sunshine’. How about an impassioned lust letter to Puffy? Guess what, we got that (‘Come Over’), and we even got Sean to [I]co-write[/I] the motherf****r with his laydee. Tasteful. And you know what, she’s low maintenance too, as new single ‘Love Don’t Cost A Thing’ attests.

Really, who is Lopez kidding? Alarm bells rang with that first 45 and it’s mendacious refrain, “even if you were broke my love don’t cost a thing”. She’s crazy if she thinks we’ll buy that. But really, no, she’s not crazy, she’s just programmed that way. Which is why

she’ll probably stick with Puffy until

the bitter (and it has to be) end. As this ultra-cynical record proves, cash is all that this girl thinks about.

So really, is the music important at all? It hisses and stomps in all the right places, but it’s hardly Kelis. Brief respite arrives in the form of genius beat-crafter Rodney Jerkins, who is used to working with hydraulic cyber-femme nu-soul harpies, and can fashion just the right complementary sci-fi R&B soundscape – his ‘That’s The Way’, despite its sappy tune, at least kicks some life into this dead-eyed diva.

But he’s fighting a losing battle. Really, there’s nothing going on here.

Christian Ward