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JoJo - JoJo


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 listen to.

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 her own.

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 way...

 

Track listing:
1. Breezy
2. Baby It's You
3. Not That Kinda Girl
4. Happy Song
5. Homeboy
6. City Lights
7. Leave (Get Out)
8. Use My Shoulder
9. Never Say Goodbye
10. Weak
11. Keep On Keepin' On
12. Sunshine
13. Yes or No
14. Fairy Tales

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