Urban Contemporary, 2005
I think Jennifer Lopez needs to have a long talk with her PR people if she actually cares about Rebirth. This is because, after listening to her latest CD, I have a suspicion that the people behind this CD have played a joke on her. The tracks of this CD sound like rejects of her contemporaries. Get Real, for example, is a typical rent-a-rapper track that sounds shockingly like it’s an early draft of that song that eventually became Crazy in Love. Even when the tracks try to be a little innovative by incorporating stereotypical Middle-Eastern sounds (Step Into My World), the tracks seem to be deliberately arranged in a manner that cruelly exposes Ms Lopez’s paper-thin vocals to mockery. In a time when the backlash against her shows no sign of abating, it seems foolhardy to release an inferior product on the very masses who are tiring of her.
Rebirth is a better effort than the wretchedly misguided and desperate give-me-credibility previous effort This Is Me… Then but “better” in this case is relative. Sure, there are no hopelessly cheesy ballads here, but the tracks are also very dated and unimaginative standard R&B/hip-hop tunes tailor-made for radio. At the same time, it seems that the people behind the controls have deliberately shut up the Autotune machine without Ms Lopez’s knowledge because she sounds like a broken paper shredder noisily and thinly wheezing so often here.
If not, she’s obviously out of breath as she struggles through a chorus, this being most evident in Get Real. The lyrics can be so unbelievably ridiculous (“I can be your cherry pie, and you can be my cream on top” – Cherry Pie) and since they are not written by her, once more I suspect that the songwriters are having a laugh at her expense. I can imagine one of the songwriters laughing as he submits the rubbish he has deliberately written, saying to his partner-in-crime, “She’ll never suspect anything since she’s a self-absorbed cow!” His partner will also laugh and go, “Dude, let’s give her a line about wanting her boyfriend’s cream on her – she’ll just go ahead and sing it while we can giggle behind her back!” And they will both go “Awesome!” and give each other the high-five.
The fact is, this CD sounds like a collection of rejected tracks from other mainstream R&B/hip-hop acts currently saturating the airwaves. It is hard to imagine that Jennifer Lopez actually manages to force her way through these dire tracks without realizing just how much a joke she is coming off as, unless she doesn’t care and just wants to complete this CD for the sake of contractual obligation. Either way, this isn’t a Rebirth, it’s a deadly dull stillborn effort of regurgitated sounds and bleeps, minus the decent Autotune effects that would mask her vocal deficiencies like her previous CDs use to have. Even if Rebirth is a joke perpetuated on Jennifer Lopez, in the end I am the one who is stuck with the end product. I am not as amused as I’d like to be.