Let me start by saying that as a fan of Jennifer Lopez since she was a Fly Girl, I've never been so far gone that I couldn't see or hear that she is far from the best singer. With that being said, having undercooked beats that exacerbate the fact that 'Jenny from the Block' is not a great singer don't help either. Her last two albums (Como Ama Una Mujer & Brave) suffered from a lack of any serious promotion and since I barely saw a blurb about Love? coming out unless it was about the numerous release date pushbacks, this one is probably gonna receive the same fate. One would think that changing record labels would make both of those issues disappear...apparently not.
I guess there were contractual obligations to Island Def Jam that state some of the following: she MUST have three or more songs written by and/or featuring The-Dream & produced by Tricky Stewart ("Good Hit", "Villain", "Run The World", "Louboutins") and that at least one of those songs will be among the first singles from said album ("Louboutins"); record songs that sound like throwaways from the Pussycat Dolls ("(What Is) Love?" and "Starting Over" sound like knockoffs of "I'm Done" and "I Hate This Part" from Doll Domination) or some of Ciara's scraps from her last two albums ("Hooked On You" and "Fresh Out The Oven"); feature songs made with that heavily synthesized euro-pop sound that WON'T GO AWAY (it's cute for one song, MAYBE two...but not whole albums by American artists for American audiences!); and pull a Janet Jackson, label-hopping-wise: leave your longtime record label after a good album that was poorly promoted and go to another label, but get stuck with crappy songs and more underpromotion (REALLY, L.A. Reid?!...get it together at your next label job!).
Apparently Jennifer and Island Def Jam caught wind from other people online that the leaked version of the album was full of WACKNESS, so they kept pushing the date back from late March...to late April...to FINALLY May 3rd and added some new songs by ripping out about a third of the original tracklist, including "Louboutins" and most of the PCD/Ciara rejects listed above. Even though they chose to keep the super PCD-esque "(What Is) Love?" for title-track purposes, they managed to come up with a considerably better product but still not great. I'm not a fan of Lil' Wayne or Pitbull, so neither of their features on the 'new' official singles "I'm Into You" and "On The Floor", respectively, nor the songs themselves were necessary to me, yet they're currently temporary hits on Billboard...serious emphasis on TEMPORARY. After multiple listens, "Run The World" (which does NOT include Rick Ross like the original leaked version does) was cute, but I'm tired of all of The-Dream's songs sounding the same! The only four songs I managed to like without too much wavering from Love? are "Everybody's Girl" (with some minor changes), "Papi", "Take Care" (another bonus track) and "One Love"...the rest is arguably disposible and in the final mastering of the album, "Everybody's Girl" isn't even on the standard edition!!!
I'm also pretty disappointed that "Greatest Part Of Me" got axed, but that garbage song "Until It Beats No More" got to stay...WTF?! You know a song is bad when autotune can't even save it! And Rick Ross sold me on the original version of "Run The World", so I miss his presence on the album as well (go find that version & see if it doesn't make a difference!). One more mildly disturbing thing about Jennifer that I just discovered: she suffers from, what I've diagnosed as, SHAKIRAitis...it occurs when someone sounds BETTER when they sing in a different language (I LOVE the bonus track, "Ven A Bailar" but loathe "On The Floor" *lol*)! Final verdict: there's no reason why Jennifer couldn't make R&B/dance music that's for grown women (she's in her 40s!) and doesn't make her sound desperate to bring 1999-2003 back. Do better on the next album, Jenn.
*I included ratings for both the leaked version AND the final edition that will be in stores...not much difference...SMH*
Play on repeat: "Greatest Part Of Me", so....the most radio-friendly songs are "Louboutins", "One Love'", "Run The World" and apparently "On The Floor".....
Skip & save yourself some time: the WORST offenders are "Until It Beats No More" and "Good Hit"
Real Talk moment(s): "Everybody's Girl" and "Story Of My Life"
Listenable Status (based on # of tracks): 7 out of 14
**FINAL VERSION, the Deluxe Edition**
Play on repeat: "Run The World", "Papi", *"Ven A Bailar"
Skip & save yourself some time: the WORST offenders are STILL "Until It Beats No More" and "Good Hit"; new editions "Invading My Mind" (I could swear that's Justin Timberlake's autotuned voice on this track, which just might save it!), "Hypnotico" and *"Charge Me Up"
Real Talk moment(s): *"Everybody's Girl", "One Love", and I guess "(What Is) Love?"
Listenable Status (based on # of tracks): 8 out of 16