My over all thoughts on JoJo’s album called “Mad Love:” I feel like it’s fitting to put my over all thoughts of this album first because it’s important to reflect on the drama and trauma that JoJo has been through in this past decade. So mainly, when JoJo was a child, she’d signed a contract with a record label called Blackground Records. But being that she was a kid then, she didn’t have the knowledge about what that actually legally meant for her career-wise. And well, it turned out that Blackground Records literally owned not just what music JoJo had recorded under the contract they’d created with her…but also, Blackground Records owned JoJo’s actual voice. And so, all of this to say that JoJo’s album “Mad Love” that I’m currently writing a review on, is clear evidence of her work ethic and love of her ability to create meaningful music in the world. And truthfully, as someone who’s been a JoJo stan literally from day one as I have, this particular album of hers is one I’ll treasure for years and years to come. The album came out at a time when I needed it most; I listened to it a lot in 2016, whenever I’d do home health physical therapy that was required after having finally gotten a huge health diagnosis. I also listened to it a lot in 2017, when I was in Arkansas for a few months, learning about Apple products like Macs which I knew nothing about. And I really feel like this album is super empowering, in a way I found deeply healing for myself. Because similar to JoJo’s story of dealing with traumatic experiences, I’ve also suffered numerous traumatic experiences in my childhood and even through most of my adulthood. But also, this album makes me proud to be a woman, every single time I listen to it!! I feel like a fucking bad-ass, listening to every single song on it; I feel like I’m sexy as fuck when listening to every song on it. I also feel empowered when listening to every song, because I’m someone who wants to grow and become better and better every day. But also, in my dark moments, listening to this album also reminds me that even though I sometimes feel like I’m alone in certain life experiences, there’s always music to help me feel less alone.
Track #1: “Music;” the sound of this song was surprising to me, meaning that I wouldn’t have predicted JoJo singing an entire song with just the backing of a piano. I mean, she has interludes on her mixtapes where she’s backed by a piano…but those times don’t even compare to the arrangement of this song called “Music.” And also, I think it’s perfect that JoJo is backed by a piano on this particular song because it allows her voice to soar beautifully. Plus, it’s a sweet tribute to her deceased father. There are times throughout the song where she sounds like she could cry at any moment…and that’s powerful in and of itself.
Track #2: “I Can Only;” this song is a duet with Alessia Cara that talks about how we as women can only be true to who we are. I also take it as an empowerment anthem though, encouraging us as women to not let negative critics in the world steal our shine, so to speak. I think that JoJo’s and Alessia Cara’s voices blend magically together.
Track #3: “Fuck Apologies;” this song features Wiz Khalifa and is one of my favorites off the album. It’s empowering to me because I identify with its message 100 percent. Like, whenever I hear this song, I think of how my bio mom used to tell me to apologize to her for ruining her family. She’d say that she has proof of that being true but she’d never actually show me this supposed proof. But also, “Fuck Apologies” is a great song that I feel signifies exactly how I feel about the fact I’ll never apologize to anyone for anything, unless I truly do mean that I’m sorry.
Track #4: “FAB, which stands for Fake Ass Bitches, is yet another song on this album that I identify with so much. It features Remy Ma (a well-known rapper) and talks about how there are people in the world who act one way in front of you and then they act in a totally different way behind your back. I’ve known plenty such people like that throughout my life and this song is a great way to remind myself how they are…and why I cut them out of my life once I know that they are not their authentic selves. I also created this song as a ringtone around the time the album came out…because I really do love it that much.
Track #5: “Mad Love;” this is one of the slowest tracks on the album but I love JoJo’s vocals on it. I’m not typically a fan of slow songs but the slow songs on this album are exceptions to that rule. I can also relate to this song’s message of wanting romantic love to be a part of one’s life…but at the same time, not wanting romantic love to happen because all relationships are difficult in some way, shape or form.
Track #6: “Vibe.” This song is just a fun-sounding track, from start to finish. JoJo is clear about the fact that she doesn’t want a man to change the energy that she’s around because she’s confident in what she brings to the table, period. And throughout the song, she also lets it be known to any man interested in her, that her girlfriends will have her back…so he can’t be someone who wants to play games with her. This song was another ringtone I created for myself…because I love it so much.
Track #7: “Honest.” While I don’t have this song as a ringtone for myself, it’s certainly in my top five favorite tracks on the entire album. It’s basically a song where JoJo tells people that she is who she is…and part of who she is, is someone who’s honest throughout her life. This song is definitely one that I’d say could sum up who I am now, as I don’t care what people think about me, because ultimately I’m doing what I know to be right, every single day. And I think it’s fair to say that I, along with JoJo, am proud to be a woman. I’m also comfortable living as a woman, and being an outspoken woman, regardless of the fact that there are folks in the world who don’t like my opiniated nature.
Track #8: “Like This;” I love the beat and the over all instrumentation of this song. The fun beat, I think, helps convey JoJo’s confidence about how she plans to please her man. And I can definitely relate to wanting to please my partners too.
Track #9: “Edibles;” this is another fun song where JoJo gives us details about how she and her man are going to do edibles together and have awesome sex. And while I can’t relate to the doing edibles part of the song, as I don’t enjoy edibles personally, good sex is always a great subject to sing about, write about ETC.
Track #10: “High Heels;” this song is just about the sexiness of a woman. I interpret it as JoJo recognizing that it’s sometimes hard as fuck to be a woman in a world that oftentimes doesn’t embrace all of who you are, even though you do embrace it. And quite frankly, I’m grateful that this album has so many songs on it like “High Heels,” that portray a woman who feels sexy, empowered and confident in who she is. I think that, as I’ve said before, these things are part of the reason why I feel confident, sexy and empowered myself, when I listen to this album.
Track #11: “I Am.” This song is one of my top two favorite tracks on the album, most especially because I can relate to the message in it, as well as the circumstances surrounding where this song came from. Because in some ways, I feel like I grew up with JoJo, simply because hers and my lives have so many similarities between them. Like, for one thing, JoJo wrote this song after she’d been going to therapy for a time; more specifically, she wrote this song because her therapy had helped her shift from someone who’d felt unworthy of receiving good things, to someone who eventually came to realize that she was not, in fact, the traumatic events that had happened to her, throughout her life. And in my case, I too, went to therapy and started off being in a place where I felt like I was totally a piece of shit person. But then as time went by and I started shifting how I saw myself, this particular song came to deeply resonate with me. And that’s why this song is hands-down, my absolute favorite one on this album.
Track #12: “Clovers;” this song is another fun, upbeat track. JoJo’s harmonies, combined with the song’s instrumentation, make me happy. There are some things throughout the song that JoJo does with her voice, like making some of its harmonies sound chipmunky. I don’t know how else to put that.
Track #13: “Wreckless;” this song is another one of the sexy songs on the album. JoJo talks about getting drunk with a man that she’s having sex with, but also, she admits that she has been irresponsible, in terms of only thinking about herself and her needs. I can relate to this kinda story though, as I’ve been in a similar position, at least when it comes to one particular potential relationship I could’ve been in. But ultimately, I know that that was for the best because things wouldn’t have worked out between us, anyway.
Track #14: “Good Thing;” this track is definitely one of my favorite ones on the album. It has a fun beat that makes me want to dance…and I’m not a dancer, at all. But also, JoJo really sounds like she was in a great moment whenever she’d actually recorded this particular song. Like, she really provided the feeling that she’s been in love before, and that being in love has made her happy. And as I’ve said about other songs on this album, this song too, is one that I can totally relate to. Like, I’ve been in romantic kinda love a few times, and there have definitely been moments within those romantic love experiences, that I’ve felt truly happy…but the thing is, all of those romantic love experiences were just fleeting moments…or snippets of intimate love, even.
Track #15: “Rise Up;” I think that this song is the perfect fit for the end of the album. Like, I literally could not imagine JoJo having picked a better song. Because what the message of this song says, is that she calls people out for only wanting to be in a romantic relationship for the good parts of what being in that kinda relationship entails. In fact, I can relate to this song on a deep level because I have these kinda experiences whenever I’m in romantic relationships. Like, people act all lovey-dovy about being with me at first but then, when it actually comes down to being with me long-term, no one wants to do that…at least, not once they find out what a medically fragile person I am. And I’m saying this because it’s been my actual, lived experience, time and time again. So every time I hear JoJo’s song “Rise Up,” it makes me smile, knowing that she has similar feelings as I do, even though we don’t actually know each other, nor have we gone through the exact same things.