Jennifer Lopez still mad in love on ‘This is Me… Now’

Jennifer Lopez, JLo, This is Me... Now, This is Me Now

Jennifer Lopez, “This is Me… Now.”

 

It’s been a full decade since singer, actress and general superstar Jennifer Lopez last released an album. Her new one, This Is Me… Now, connects two loops: 2002 third album This is Me… Then, and her romance with now-husband Ben Affleck. Her ninth album, on which she returns to her pop roots, is full of the love she shares, as well as revealing her self-transformation. It’s also a reminder of J.Lo’s important stature in pop music, with millions of albums sold, 10 top-10 hits on the Billboard 100 chart and eight top-10 albums on the Billboard 200.

This Is Me… Now continues Bennifer’s love story (the two originally dated from 2002 to ’04, rekindled their romance in 2021 and married in 2022. The title track opens the album with jazzy guitar plucking while J.Lo’s silky voice is uplifted by a snappy hi-hat-led beat. Lopez fully takes off on the poppy chorus. The Bronx-born singer, 54, takes pride in her journey, how she’s “learned to grow” and become reborn in love.

“To Be Yours” takes on a ’90s hip-hop beat, over which Lopez sings sweetly of sealing a commitment, declaring, “Some days we can still fight/ But that don’t really matter ’cause we’re in it for life.” The vocals are layered and sometimes pitch-shifted, creating a woozy effect. The song—and much of the album—drips with the kind of earnestness that snarky listeners will want to pull apart. This album ain’t for them.

“Mad In Love” turns up the romantic vibes even more with opening orchestral synths mimicking technicolor films with fairytale endings. That melds into a funky rhythm section J.Lo enters like it’s still the ’90s, singing “forever’s real wit’ cha,” reminiscing how “You gave me that ring/ Two decades later, and it still hit the same” and that the return to the love was “worth the wait.” The track, like the rest of the album, is a catchy bop with sizzling percussion, as well as a rap break.

“You’ve got me accelerating,” Jennifer Lopez sings on joyous single “Can’t Get Enough,” which revs up the energy with a high-powered pop jam with disco flavors and trumpet accents. From the robotic-sounding drum fill that opens the song, the dance floor is open for business on this highlight track. She’s also released a version of the song featuring rapper Latto, so time will tell which of the two fans flock to more. In regards to that video, a reminder: Jennifer Lopez is 54 years old.

“Not Going Anywhere,” “Rebound,” and, later on the album, “Hearts and Flowers,” bring back the pulsating, electronic hip-hop-flavored percussion. The first tune even references the Harlem Shake, which was a thing in 2013, just before J.Lo’s last album! “Rebound” has light piano accents, as well as either a harp strum (or maybe that’s the piano strings?). The song plays like straightforward ’90s R&B, with Lopez singing about superficial relationships. The third song sounds simultaneously Broadway- and MTV-ready, with its record scratches and a chorus ready for a dance break.

The Spanish-guitar-led “Dear Ben pt. II” begins with what sounds like a lyre before the booming bass comes in, and Jennifer Lopez looks in awe and gratitude at her life, singing “When I think you’ll let me down, you lift my hopes/ If I try to pull away, you pull me close.” The song is a list of sorts about the things she loves in Batma—err, Affleck.

J.Lo then celebrates how love can make two people the best versions of themselves when they’re together on the upbeat “Hummingbird,” amid synthetic plinks and ringing drumming that sounds like someone hammering away on garbage cans.

Lopez slows the tempo and gets candid on ballad “Broken Like Me.” “Couldn’t look in the mirror/ Afraid what I’d see/ ‘Cause I still loved you/ Loved you more than me,” Lopez sings, revisiting old wounds as past relationships left her “covered in scars.” Her voice here is raw, nearly breaking as she’s backed by acoustic guitar and swooning synths.

Following the moody and bouncy “This Time Around,” church bells and reverb-laden harp strums open “Midnight In Vegas,” which is biographical and one of the strongest moments on This Is Me… Now. Lopez sings about taking all the stress out of planning a big wedding—”We’re drowning in orchid arrangements/ Dresses and pastries/ What if it’s raining? … Paps, helicopters/ Event of the ages”—and sneaking out for a low-key elopement. Lopez’s line delivery comes as a stream of consciousness.

The album caps off with smoky jam “Greatest Love Story Never Told.” Lopez reflects on how she and Affleck found love together twice, and that the time between was frozen or paused, waiting for a course correction. The album ends dramatically as a string section slowly takes over, and everything else disappears.

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