By Madyson McGill
JoJo is making a comeback after nearly a decade with her latest album, Mad Love. To be honest, the last time I listened to JoJo before this album was in the movie RV with Robin Williams.
The album starts off in a unique way with a ballad called “Music.” Normally when I listen to albums, they start off with a fast paced song that I can really jam out to, but this is different and honestly, I kind of enjoyed it more than I thought. It beautifully showcases her voice, which is paired perfectly with only a piano. It’s an honest tribute to what music should be. It’s devoid of the glitz and glamour of auto tune, and does not have meaningless storyline. It’s actually a very personal story about her and her past, which is refreshing to hear in contrast to what’s always playing over and over on the radio.
“Music” is just the beginning of the story. The album really kicks off with the next tracks; they pick up with fast paced tempos and empowering lyrics. Her track “I Can Only.” sheds light on how artists can be scrutinized in the industry: she can only be who she is and she shouldn’t be hated for it. I think that’s an important message for people to understand. We as fans hold so many artists to this standard and expect them to be perfect people, but they aren’t. Everyone has flaws.
The track “F*** Apologies.” might be my new anthem. Not only am I fan of the snaps that have a presence under the music, but I also just love the song and how closely I can relate to it. I think instead of putting #sorrynotsorry people should just play this song and let it do all the talking, and who knows maybe by the end of the jam session they won’t be mad anymore.
The snapping continues into the next track “FAB.” and I’m still a fan. Not once has she yet ventured into romantic relationship territory, which is much appreciated. Everything she has sung up to this track is real and relatable; she’s not putting up a front or singing whatever her label wants her to sing. As a listener, you can tell she is singing about what she wants to. This is her album.
“Mad Love.” is honestly one of my favorite tracks. It made me realize I had missed JoJo when I didn’t even know it. It slows down to a jazzy serenade that makes me want to sway along. I always enjoy a chorus of horns on a track. To me it adds a sense of timelessness to the album. The track also showcases her voice perfectly. Listeners can really hear the beauty, tone, and range of her vocals.
I feel like this album is put together so perfectly, delivering so many different performances and incorporating so many different styles: R&B, Soul, Pop, Jazz. The track “Honest.” is another example; there’s a song for just about every situation. Her absence from the spotlight is highlighted in the tracks. Listeners can experience her growth from an angst filled teenager to the woman she is today. It’s a journey.
“I Am.” is the track I related to the most. It really captures every emotion I’ve ever felt, and the experiences I’ve had growing up with little to no confidence, and overcoming that. I’ve had the doubts she sings about; I’ve had the same feelings. I honestly think it’s the most empowering song on the album. Anyone who has ever doubted themselves or felt lost should at least listen to this song, even if it’s the only song they listen to off the album. That’s how powerful it is.
The album definitely ends on a high note with an upbeat feel good track. “Rise Up.” was the right choice for the end of her album. It’s positive, and catchy. It’s the perfect song to listen to with the windows down in your car. It’s a track that brings people together. The chorus of people at the end is, I think, the best ending because it has a sense of togetherness.
I applaud JoJo. Mad Love is positively the best comeback that has graced my ears. It has ups and downs. It’s personal. It’s not another run of the mill album. It has individuality. It might be missing one of my favorite JoJo collaborations, “Route 66,” but I still give this album a solid four out of five RVs.