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JENNIFER LOPEZ – REBIRTH - SONY & BMG
Record Rating: ***

Jennifer Lopez - Rebirth - Sony & BMG Along with Ricky Martin and now husband Marc Anthony, this woman led the Latin music revolution in the late '90s. And somewhere in between, her romances with Puff Daddy and Ben Affleck (which garnered the infamous Bennifer tag), along with her provocative and sexy wardrobe, has made her the most talked about performer in the world. And who knew that she would become one of the most bankable artists in Sony Music history.

Welcome to the next phase in Lopez's career – Rebirth. Working with the top songwriters and producers including her husband, Marc Anthony, the twelve tracks are steeped up with pop, hip-hop, Latin, funk and dance music. The first new single Get Right is racing up the charts and this just in - the video has been the most streamed video of the last two weeks at numerous websites, including Yahoo, MSN, VH1, Rolling Stone and MTV. Unlike 2002's ballad heavy This Is Me...Then (which included the sappy Ben Affleck ode Dear Ben) Lopez now keeps the beats hard and the subject matter light. Her debut album On The 6 went platinum after two months. When her follow-up album, J.Lo, was released, she became the first female artist to have a #1 album and a #1 film in the same week.

This new one seems to have been released to a lot less fan fare, and the result, it’s fizzled out even before it’s begun. The club thumper Whatever You Wanna Do (compliments of Beyoncé's Crazy In Love producer Rich Harrison) has the potential to be a big worldwide smash as Waiting For Tonight was. One of the album's most surprising production moments comes in the form of the tune Still Around. The sound isn't surprising because it's an old R&B tune perfectly fit for the tale of undying love. And although she only co-wrote two songs, including the discs lone soppy ballad (Can't Believe) This Is Me with husband Marc Anthony, the album is certainly snag worthy for a night out with friends.

Anyone can question Lopez’ abilities as a singer, which many do - but give a listen to her 1999 stuff and then to her newest release and you can’t argue with the fact that there is a more stronger and assured voice here. Long time fans expecting more of danceable hip-hop like Jenny From The Block or the first album, however, may feel somewhat cheated by this Rebirth. For it’s a more mature dance-pop offering, and Jennifer Lopez seems to have put this one out for the Kylie Minogue and Madonna crowd. What else do you need to know?

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