Review: Jack Foley
LISTENING to the debut album from Jo Jo, it would be easy to
dismiss it as just another J-Lo, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera,
or Jamelia effort.
The beats, rhythms, lyrics and style all bear the same hallmarks,
especially during the single, Leave (Get Out).
But consider this. Jo Jo is merely 13-years of age, and her self-titled
debut long-player has been penned by the teenager too.
It's no mean feat, and one you have to tip your hat to, even
if the mainstream style might not be the sort of stuff you usually
The album effortlessly mixes R'n'B sass with classic pop hooks,
easily rivalling the likes of Britney and co - and helping the
young pop mistress, from Boston, go down a storm in her home country.
The trick looks set to be repeated, if the radio play that Leave
(Get Out) is anything to go by, on stations such as Radio
1, Kiss and Capital.
Of the album tracks which make the biggest impression, the funky
City Lights probably stands out most prominently, coming
complete with a really groovy drum loop, and vocals which make
a mockery of Jo Jo's tender years.
Some of the melodies under-pinning Baby, It's You wouldn't
sound out of place on a J-Lo record, while Yes Or No arrives
with the same sort of urban savvy that Janet Jackson has made
However, there are times when some of the lyrics do tend to become
hindered by the knowledge that she is just 13.
Never Say Goodbye, for instance, is a deep, meaningful,
longing ballad, with words such as 'Now that you're here,
I never want to say goodbye', and 'I'm ready to give
me heart after all this time' - yet, the more discerning
listener might question whether someone so young is really qualified
to sing about such stuff.
Weak, too, falls prey to the same criticism, with lyrics
such as 'my heart stops beating with thoughts of loving you on
my mind, can't figure out just what to do'. Just where has the
innocence of youth gone?
The latter section of the album also tends to sag a little, becoming
too bogged down in the ballads, and attempting to conquer the
Mariah Carey market, with its endless yearning and subtle beats.
But if you're willing to forgive it some of its weaker moments,
and are aged about 13 to 25, there is plenty to admire - and not
just because of her age.
Jo Jo would appear to be a singer with a huge future ahead of
her - although she would do well to avoid the pitfalls of super-stardom
that have proved the downfall of so many child prodigys.
We all remember how cool Michael Jackson (of ABC was)
once was, and just how 'innocent' a school-girl Britney appeared
in her first video - let's hope Jo Jo doesn't end up the same
2. Baby It's You
3. Not That Kinda Girl
4. Happy Song
6. City Lights
7. Leave (Get Out)
8. Use My Shoulder
9. Never Say Goodbye
11. Keep On Keepin' On
13. Yes or No
14. Fairy Tales