The musical wreckage that is Jennifer Lopez’s latest album is one thing; the cultural wreckage that “A.K.A” reflects is another altogether.
J-Lo has risen from the American Idol judges’ table, but her attempt to regain her ‘Jenny From The Block’ glory days has taken a face plant on the pavement. According to ShowBizz 411, the album has only sold 30-35,000 copies during its debut week.
In unison, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News, and Rolling Stone declare “A.K.A”’s failure.DailyBeast: “A.K.A. is, at best, a hodgepodge of rip-offs of other musicians’ styles and, at worst, just horribly bland.” NYDailyNews: “’A.K.A.’ finds J.Lo throwing anything she can at the wall to see what sticks”Rolling Stone: “On her eighth album … she just sounds lost.”
Released in March, the single “I Luh Ya Papi” amassed more than 42 million views on YouTube, prepping the world for the full album release on June 16th. The world was clearly unimpressed. Viewers of “I Luh Ya Papi” didn’t pull any punches.
“It sucks!,” one wrote. “Popular music is getting lamer and lamer.” Another was even more succinct: “This sh*t is terrible.”
But most artists get bad reviews. The problem is that Lopez’ songs and videos hold up a mirror to our degraded culture, trying to exploit male sexuality as well as her own.
If the title of her fourth track, ‘I Luh Ya Papi’ doesn’t already indicate the quality of the song, the music video confirms all suspicions of absurdity.
The video opens with a faux candid conversation between Lopez, two friends, and a music video producer. They come up with the “I Luh Ya Papi” music video after one friend states: “If she was a dude, they would have her up in a mansion with all of these half naked girls – or maybe even in a yacht.”
The other friend interjects, “Why is it that the men objectify the women in every single video? Like, why can’t we for once objectify the men?” Matching objectification with objectification? How empowering. Obviously getting even is the answer.
As predicted, the following scenes depict JLO and her friends in a mansion and on a yacht full of muscular men in speedos who are lounging around, swimming, or washing cars.
Sitting on a bed full of naked men, Lopez sings, “I put it down for a brother like you/ Give it to you right in the car, that's you.” And that’s just the first verse.
The mother of two continues, “Hold up, I can get your funnel … Pull your trigger, go and get your gun up.”
Despite creating a video to solely objectify men, JLO seems to be doing a pretty good job of objectifying herself as she promotes her own body like a salesman, “Got that hourglass for you, baby, look at these legs.” Going once, twice, sold!
In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, she explains the lyrics to ‘I Luh Ya Papi’, but avoided clarifying the reference to oral sex in a verse that uninhibitedly demands, “If you wanna kill the body, gotta start with the head.”
Even JLO is embarrassed of this song.
Most outrageous are the four scenes in which JLO and friends are shown pulling down and tugging at the men’s speedos. A fifth scene shows them pouring an alcoholic beverage into the front a man’s speedo and a sixth shows one of the women licking her finger and then touching a man’s crotch.
The chorus “I luh ya papi, I luh ya, luh ya, luh ya papi, I luh ya papi, etc.” nauseatingly repeats 40+ times before the rapper French Montana, cuts in and also references to oral sex, “Take the pants out here, drop to her knees.”
The video (finally) concludes with JLO’s friend remarking on equal objectification, “Why do the guys get to have all the fun? Why the girls can’t have all the fun?”
Yes. Reducing a human being down to a sexual object is always so much fun.
One commenter on the video stated, “This is so ironic. She complains and then objectifies herself.”
Lopez exploits her own sexuality throughout her album, in tracks like ‘Expertease,’ where she so graciously describes her sex life:
“And I don’t wanna wait another minute
We can do it standing up
Gonna feel my love one thing unites
You know that our bodies are made for sinning”
Jumping onto the Miley Cyrus shame train, Lopez is featured twerking throughout the teaser video of ‘Booty.’ As she holds onto a wall and shakes her rear, the glaring fact that Lopez is actually 44 years old makes her actions all the more humiliating. But here’s some of the lyrics from ‘Booty,’ commanding women to allow men to objectify them:
“Go and grab a man,
Bring him to the dance floor
Go on let them jeans touch you while you're dancing
It’s his birthday, give him what he ask for.”
Welcome to feminism, 2014. In her cynical effort to level the playing field between male and female, JLO mimics the worst characteristics of male pop entertainers: crude and crass and , yes, slutty.
In an album that musically fails, Lopez finds herself depending on the age old motto, “Sex Sells” and is willing to exploit herself as well as others to keep pace in the pop music race to the bottom.