After years battling the music industry, JoJo punched back with a promising new album, “Good to Know,” released on May 1, in which she merges gospel, soul and R&B to define her modern sound.
Among a sea of cookie-cutter, similar sounding pop artists, JoJo takes a new direction that may ultimately define her sound over the years to come.
Working alongside producer Lido, a world has been created for JoJo’s voice to overpower the instrumentals found in the album. JoJo’s vocal performance on the opening track “So Bad” sets the tone for the rest of the album, hinting at tones of desire for a past lover.
JoJo was not afraid to get personal and sensual on the album, allowing each song to breathe a life of its own.
With “Small Things,” JoJo’s voice sends chills with her best vocals of the entire album. Although the track does not have anything crazy going on instrumentally, this allows her vocals to stand out the most.
“Think About You” is the most balanced song of the album, maintaining a spacey R&B beat, great harmonization, and lyrics that will have you reminiscing over a past lover you never even had. The track holds a lot of potential at being a single for the album.
There is only one featured artist, Tory Lanez, on the dirtiest song of the album, “Comeback.” The feature was everything it needed to be to bring back a heightened sense of energy later in the album.
What stands out the most in this album is JoJo’s vocal performance and the overall production value. Although there are several high moments on the album, some of the tracks desperately lacked in songwriting.
In the song “Pedialyte,” JoJo sings “Who’s gon’ be my savior? Excuse my behavior. Swear I’m never, never gonna drink again.” This is a weird moment in the album that negatively distinguishes itself from the rest of the songs.
“Gold” provides the listener with JoJo’s soft, angelic tone, an intoxicating beat, and a flow that makes her voice sound as though it were cradling you. But the lyrics, although not completely terrible, repeat themselves several times. It feels only half-way completed, having been copied and pasted to create a full length song.
Even with the flaws of the album, JoJo composes a strong finale with the song “Don’t Talk Me Down.” Her strong vocals with a soulful production makes for a bold last track.
Many are unaware of the long road that got JoJo to where she currently stands in the music industry. As a lot of new artists tend to do, she fell into a contract that only lead to trouble in the years to follow.
At only 13, she became the youngest person to have a No. 1 hit on the Billboard pop charts in 2004. But a years-long legal fight with Blackground Records kept her out of the recording studio until the release of her 2016 album “Mad Love” with Atlantic.
JoJo is looking at returning to tour as soon as concerts are permitted and she is not leaving anytime soon. The workflow does not stop even in the midst of a pandemic, and JoJo is not done re-establishing her name as the icon she is.
Josue Arellano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.