Jennifer Lopez – This Is Me…Now

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Jennifer Lopez proved on This Is Me…Now that second-chance love stories are a thing when she married Ben Affleck, nearly two decades after she called off their first marriage.

Being a serial romantic is not easy, much less when you’re a public figure and have the weight of public opinion to answer to. But this hasn’t held the Latina back one bit; she’s a girl who loves to be in love and she’s not about to deny it or keep quiet about it in any case. Just as she boldly sings on the title track, “When I was a girl they’d ask me what I’d be (What you gon’ be?) / A woman in love is what I grew up wantin’ to be (In love’s what I wanted to be).” So there.

Following said fairytale reunion, Lopez decided to pour out the joy and the beauty of her and Affleck finding love anew in a record that draws elements from “old school” pop and R&B. While the songstress obviously tried her best to keep it fresh, there were still nostalgic elements to it that reminded fans of the old JLo, and the old JLo was a good time to be in, so I’m not complaining.

The album was heavily criticized for leaning too heavily into her second chance romance with Affleck, but that’s exactly what Lopez set out to create once her manager Benny Medina suggested it. After Medina suggested making an album around her glorious reunion with Affleck, the musician, actress, and entrepreneur convened a songwriters meeting at her home. They literally used love letters Affleck wrote Lopez in “Greatest Love Story Never Told” to make part of this album, so yeah, if it feels like it’s getting way too personal to be comfortable – “Missing your body climbing on top of me, slippin’ inside of me / Way that I ride it, bodies aligning, look at our timing” – it probably is.

Some collaborations produce pure gold, others are just a hard miss, and Lopez’s “Rebound” with Anuel AA firmly falls into the latter. Let’s just say that AA’s lackluster part sort of brought down the whole energy of the song, and that would be us being nice.

“I have hope always that things will be great. Even when they’re hard. That is a part of me. And I think when this happened in my life there’s a surreal magical plot twist in my life,” she says of the process and inspiration behind the making of the album. “And I got a second chance at this love it made me want to share that. It made me want to share that hope and as an artist you want to share the things you know. I don’t look at, I love my music and I love to make movies and do all the things you see in the project but I also see life that way. I want to make life beautiful for myself and for my kids and my husband. And for everybody. In my own little way.”

For a project inspired by such an elevating feeling as love, the lyrics and production didn’t really take me to that sphere where reality starts to merge with dreams. There were a few hits, but then there were misses.