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This Is Me...Then

Jennifer Lopez

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Album Review

Don't pay attention to the title, which is absolutely nonsensical and bewildering — it suggests that This Is Me...Then is a compilation, which it isn't, and it also suggests that this has some sort of theme, which it doesn't — and concentrate on the music, which is the strongest, sultriest, best music Jennifer Lopez (who has abandoned the moniker J-Lo) has recorded for any of her three albums. This, of course, doesn't mean that it's a radical musical departure, though there are differences here — the glitzy dance-pop has been phased out, there's a stronger urban soul vibe, particularly on the lush surfaces and sexy grooves — but it does mean that the album has a solid set of songs and a sharp production pitched directly at the mainstream of 2002, yet with nice allusions to classic soul and early-'80s pop-funk and soft rock. Since Lopez is a celebrity and a regular feature on gossip pages in the early days of the 21st century, and since she's unabashedly mainstream — her only attempts at street-cred are on the laughable lyrics to "Jenny From the Block," where she insists that success hasn't spoiled her yet and she's the same ol' Jen she's always been (if so, why the paparazzi on the back cover?) — it's easy for some listeners to dismiss her, but it's harder to make to make a pop album as easily enjoyable as this. Sure, there are some flaws — as mentioned above, "Jenny From the Block" is silly and no matter how much you love Ben Affleck, "Dear Ben" is unbearably mawkish — but all mainstream pop albums stumble through filler. What counts is the overall feel and the highlights. Here, the feel is sexy, stylish, and fun, and there are numerous highlights, all feeling effortless. And if you think that's easy to do, take a listen to a few other pop-R&B albums from late 2002 (Stripped and Charmbracelet come to mind) and hear how good this record is.

Customer Reviews

She's Been Thinkin'!

Jennifer Lopez has, for the most part, put in most of her input into this album. Its consistency might seem to others a bit dry and mawkish, but to a more appreciative ear, it is a well-constructed album, evident not only in its high production value, but in Lopez's contribution to its making (she is a co-writer for 9 of the 12 songs featured here, with the exception of tracks 1, 4, and 9). The concensus is that this album is undeniably her most mature, appealing to an 80's audience with its sultry, soulful hooks and beats. Unlike its sophomore predecessor, this one's not for the teenyboppers! "Still" is a beautiful and haunting track well suited to introduce the rest of the album, and the perfume line of the same name. To this day I have not figured out what sample loops in this track, but it is admittedly infectious. "Loving You" is memorable for its chorus, a trend that can notoriously be found in all of Lopez's songs. "The One," sampling "You Are Everything" by The Stylistics (Version 2 being the most obvious case) is a catchy tune that is worthy to be a single. Apart from the sappy "Dear Ben" and ridiculous, over-sampled "Jenny From the Block," the album stands solid with beautiful ballads like the aforementioned, the delightful duet with LL Cool J (which samples "Very Special" by Debra and Ronnie Laws, if you want to check it out), the powerfully arranged "Again", "I've Been Thinkin'," and even the cover of Carly Simon's "You Belong to Me" strikes a chord (a Spanish guitar chord, no less) with the listener. If you want to listen to an album that delivers soulful beats and catchy lyrics (no matter how overwrought), this is one guilty pleasure I recommend.

I love

Jenny from the block because it has a great beat and great lyrics!

I love this Album - J.Lo is wonderful and sweet!

Great Album - well put together...Jenny did a great job telling a story with the tracks on this CD. One of the best she's done! Great - Jenny from the block...Rules!


Born: July 24, 1969 in The Bronx, New York, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez was born in the Bronx, New York, on July 24, 1969; after starting out in musical theater as a child, she made her film debut at age 16 in the little-seen My Little Girl, but her career then stalled until she was tapped to become one of the dancing "Fly Girls" on the television sketch comedy series In Living Color. A recurring role on the TV drama Second Chances followed before Lopez was thrust into the limelight co-starring with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson in the...
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