by Aaliyah, pop/R&B (2001)
EMI/Virgin, $18.98, ASIN B00005LMJU

J Lo
by Jennifer Lopez, pop/R&B (2001)
Sony, $18.98, ASIN B00005N83M

Hmm, all I can say is Aaliyah's self-titled third album is smooth and perfectly produced. Slick, creamy, and faultless. Thing is, the young lady's thin, uninteresting, and bland vocals cause this snooze effect to take place. There's only so much interesting voiceover layering effects one could do with her voice in the studio before the blandness starts showing.

Jennifer Lopez's production team goes one better. They drown her paper-thin voice with more talented background singers. How these background singers must hate Lopez - she gets all the limelight because she has a great body and big butt. Life is so unfair. Speaking of butts, if you say J Lo fast, you'll be saying in Malay a very rude slang word whose PG-13 equivalent will be "poke". Hmmm.

Anyway, let's start with Aaliyah. Her slick, smooth tunes are definitely perfect for lurve and smoochies in the backseat of your daddy's car, especially when no one is paying attention to the radio. While less accessible and radio-friendly than anything Aaliyah has ever done, there are some great tunes, like Try Again and the wicked Extra Smooth and U Got Nerve. These less conventional, interesting R&B and hip hop tracks are what make Aaliyah great, but at the same time, too many long, draggy ballads of lurve and kisses and muah-muah-muah-oh-baby's also drag this one down to Snooze Central. Best listened while snogging or with the remote control at hand.

On the other hand, J Lo doesn't even take risks, rehashing the same old radio-friendly R&B-lite stuff Jennifer Lopez did for her debut album. Good tunes? Floor stomper Play grooves, although it is nothing more than a carbon copy of Madonna's Music. I love that line that goes "Hey DJ, play my motherf**kin' song!", heh heh. I'm Real is not bad too. And that's it. Everything else is safe, dull paint-by-numbers music that get more and more irritating with each replay, especially that first single Love Don't Cost A Thing, that tragic La Isla Bonita-wannabe Ain't It Funny, and the snoozebore ballads.

And it's tragic too that the hooks - choruses and all - are carried by background singers with more vocal virtuoso than our J Lo has in her thumb. Poor sad background singers, really. They screech and wail their way through the chorus while J Lo here just warbles shakily on the verses and ad-libs ineptly in the choruses. Life sure is unfair, huh.

Aaliyah's Aaliyah gets a 74 while Jennifer Lopez's J Lo gets a 60.

Aaliyah in Amazon.com
Aaliyah at Amazon UK

J Lo in Amazon.com
J Lo at Amazon UK

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