How low can she go? The question applies as much to Jennifer Lopez's revealing outfits as to her affinity for pop conventions and sexually charged music ("I want to make love three times in a row," she sings in J. Lo's steamy "Come Over"). One of the only Hollywood stars to make the transition to MTV, Lopez's multiplatinum 1999 debut On the 6 established her as a formidable pop star. With J. Lo, the first major album of the year (conveniently released the same week as her new movie, The Wedding Planner), Lopez, whose crossover appeal has struck a chord with urban, Latin, and pop audiences, continues to make music that appeals to those different markets. Yet J. Lo is so fabricated and overproduced, it's hard to take Lopez's attempts at genuine expression ("I'm real/What you get is what you see," she sings in "I'm Real") as more than yet another repackaging of the Bronx-born former Fly Girl.
Everything here is derivative in one way or another. "Play" is a celebration of club music that's as catchy and simple-minded as Madonna's "Music," and the faux Latin pop of "Si Ya Se Agabo" and "Dame," two songs Lopez sings in Spanish, is geared to please the Ricky Martin contingent. References to the authenticity of her love in the single "Love Don't Cost a Thing" suggests Lopez is overcompensating in the attempt to refute criticisms of her ongoing relationship with Sean "Puffy" Combs, who's currently on trial for a shooting incident that took place at a Manhattan club. Having Combs produce three of the songs on the album is undoubtedly an attempt to suggest that all is well between them, but again it's a fabricated move. "Oh, I wish this could be real," Lopez sings in "Ain't It Funny," but despite her efforts, that wish is far from being fulfilled on J. Lo.