Monday, 17 October 2016

'Mad Love' by JoJo: THE BIG REVIEW on MusicMonday

It's rare that I will part with my hard-earned cash for an album anymore.

Music is not at it's best calibre, and if my monthly music app rentals are going to let me listen to albums for free anyway, as often as I want, then what is really the point? Being the connoisseur that I consider myself to be however, when a stone cold winner comes along, by one of my favourite artists, then I will readily part with my coinage, and insist upon the deluxe edition. Let me introduce you to my latest purchase.

Mad Love is Joanna Levesque's - better known to one and all as JoJo's - first studio album in ten years due to label sagas and woes, and the offering is well worth the wait. 15 tracks of audio goodness defy her haters and naysayers with talents that they doubted she still had. Let's get into the album...

The set opens with Music; a touching tribute to the tour de force that has gotten her through the best and hardest of times, including the tragic loss of her father. It's sentimental, sombre, and sets the tone for a big show to follow. I Can Only is a hard follow that features new name on the block Alessia Cara. Defending their choices in life, love and leisure; the ladies refuse to apologise for being themselves and exercising their God-given rights to be themselves. Definitely a feel good feminist track, it's a nice setup for the young woman who spends far too much time fielding impudent comments and remarks about things that really aren't anyone's business but her own. F**k Apologies is the big single of the album. Featuring Wiz Khalifa; the track's production is reminiscent of Khalifa's other recent collaborative hit - Sucker For Pain from the Suicide Squad movie soundtrack.

FAB featuring Flipmode Squad Rapper Remy Ma, centres on a topic that both women, and most people, in fact, can relate to; "when they smile in your face, but behind you it ain't well wishes..." offers up crucial insight into why the singer is so disgusted. Ma offers the perfect topping on this cake; considering the marked decrease in her circle following her recent legal woes. The title track is a Bluesy ballad that suits JoJo's voice to the ground. Mad Love is a desperate love letter to a paramour, who may not be in the best position to reciprocate. It's a slow descent into madness, and we're just happy to come along for the ride.

Vibe is a dancehall-lite track that invites a new friend around for private fun and games which, if they want to pass judgement on they should keep to themselves, because to share would be killing her 'vibe'. Honest is a dance track with trance affectations. Confronting a potential new lover about their inability to be real in a real heat of the moment situation. Calling their ability to act on basic human impulses into question; JoJo says don't hate her for having the strength of conviction to not only face the truth but say it out loud and proud - you Go my Sister Girl!

Like This is where things get sexy and, if you haven't heard any of JoJo's mixtapes in between this and her last album (frankly, where have you been), then you might be forgiven (by someone) for thinking that this is an uncomfortable step away from her 15-year-old, The High Road persona - and you would be (even further) mistaken. Jojo has been getting her multi-octave freak on for quite some time, and in the words of LL Cool J, she's been 'doin it, and doin it, and doin it well'. That's why when she talks about her footprints on the ceiling in Edibles, you don't do much more than raise an eyebrow, fan yourself and tell the speakers, "well alright, now"; because in all honesty she simply solidified the fact that (not so) Babygirl gets down...

Black dress wearing, red High Heels walking, JoJo is out the door, because she's been cheated on, and she is understandably pissed (I mean for all we know, she put her back out, or pulled something in all those positions she talked about in Edibles...).  I Am is where things get Rocky. It's a doubtful empowerment song, where she reassures herself that despite her self-critique, she is worthy of love, and beautiful; the typical type of self-doubt that a wronged woman goes through, when she tries to understand why a man cheats.

Clovers is where we go back to a touch of the Dance vibe. The vocals - as on every song - are exceptional. About finding her sense of self at the brink of madness, and finding her closure on the whole depressing situation, she exhibits strength from her every pore. Reckless is a slowed down apology to a young ex sex toy (it's unclear whether or not he was ever actually a boyfriend), for using him and leading him astray until she took his virginity. Good Thing is the Club track of the album, and I personally foresee it being huge on the circuit. A thank you in recognition of good love, it's a perfectly polished, solidly produced track that has every ingredient for doing well.

Closer Rise Up is a call to action to strengthen yourself in anticipation of meeting the requirements to receive a nourishing love that will benefit you and the receiver. Guiding the listener to use her experiences as fodder for their own, to help them avoid the bad times and pain. It's a great, absolutely massive choral finish to a solid return that I suspect will flourish atop the charts for sometime, as fans show JoJo how much she's been missed, and how when it comes to her, industry, peers and public alike have got nothing for her but Mad Love.

Mad Love is available now from all Independent Retailers (I've got my digital, I'm about to go and order my hard copy). Alternatively, stream here straight from JoJo's Spotify account until your heart's content!

Until the next...