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Jennifer Lopez has always been a hopeless romantic, and she’s never been afraid of expressing it. If the six songs she previewed at an intimate brunch in Malibu Friday are any indication, JLO will soon be baring her heart once again on her forthcoming record.
“If you listen to my albums, they were always about love. I’ve always sung about love. It was always love in a certain way: A fairytale type of way; I was hoping, praying, and wishing for that,” Lopez said, sitting before a handful of industry insiders gathered at Nikita Malibu restaurant.
Lopez’s upcoming eighth studio album finds her with a new understanding of love: a more confident, “right” type of love.
“After this experience, and these past couple of years, I realized love is completely different than I thought it was. I still believe in it more than ever. I’m still singing about it on every track, but I want it in the right way. I believe there’s a certain way that it should be.”
Lopez started recording her new album in February 2013, after finishing her first world tour and divorcing singer-songwriter, Marc Anthony. Anthony and Lopez, who have two children, twins, Emme Maribel and Maximilian David, divorced in April 2012, after eight years of marriage.
“I realized I was stronger than I thought I was. I came back from my first world tour, with my two babies who were four at the time, and got divorced before that,” she said. “I was dying to get back in the studio, explore what [I’ve gone through], and see what that meant for my music.”
Lopez kicked off the six-song listening with a mid-tempo track titled “Emotions,” written by Chris Brown. She passionately sings of anguish, guided by trickling keys: “Someone took my emotions… I tried to give you all my love but that never meant a thing to you.”
“Chris f—ed with it after [hearing] the hook,” she said of “Emotions.”
She changed the pace with a preview of her new single, “First Love,” produced and written by Max Martin. The upbeat, bass heavy second single, which debuts in May, hits hard from jump.
“Max Martin [is a] genius, man. He’s a super producer, maker of great pop hits. I’ve always wanted to work with him but our paths [hadn’t] crossed. I sought him out,” she said of the “First Love” producer.
“I wish you were my first love ‘cause if you were first there wouldn’t have been a second, third or fourth love,” Lopez sings on the hook.
“First Love” follows up her single, “I Luh Ya Papi,” which DJ Khaled released a Big Sean and Tyga-assisted remix to earlier this week.
The new album, yet to be titled, is laced with a range of soundscapes familiar to the singer: R&B, hip-hop, latin, and pop. “What’s special for me is I always dabbled in everything. I didn’t allow myself to be put in a box. On this album, I did all of it. This is who I am and i have to embrace all of that and be as honest as I can be,” she said before playing the third song, “Big Booty.”
“Big Booty,” which Lopez was shy about recording at first, won over those in attendance the minute DJ Syphe dropped the impressive bouncy beat. “Big Booty” features an all-star team; It’s produced by Diplo, penned by Chris Brown and features Pitbull.
She continued to preview a rough cut of the rattling RoccStar-produced, “Actin’ Like That.” “It’s not even done but it’s so hard… I have to pick tonight but I’m picking that one,” Lopez said of the song. She continued to share that she also worked with singer-songwriter, Sia, for the album.
“[The album] is close to being done. I’m turning it over on Monday… so I’ll be two days late. [Laughs]”
“Satisfied” finds her impassioned with a bottomless hunger for devotion: “I’m never satisfied. My appetite its keeping me up at night. I’m going crazy for more of your love. I need you all the time.”
“My mom loves to gamble. She’s always trying to get me to go but… I work too hard for my damn money,” Lopez jokes, while telling the story as to how she came across “Satisfied.” “Over Christmas, I got a tape of 50 songs. When I went [with her] I listened to all 50 songs. This one stood out.”
Lopez closed the listening with a powerful ballad written by Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Brandy) and Kirby Lauryen titled “Let It Be Me.” The compelling, slow song showcases Lope at her best, vocally. “When they ask who do you love, let it be me… let it be me that you think of,” she pleads.
“It’s about when something is meant for you, it’s meant for you… you just have to have faith.”
“The things I went through comes out here [on the album],” she proclaimed. “It’s a stronger Jennifer. A Jennifer that still believes in love but she’s more grown now.”
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