Jennifer Lopez 2024
Photo: Norman Jean Roy / Red Umbrella PR

Jennifer Lopez’s ‘This Is Me…Now’ Has a Little Too Much Heart

The biggest weak spot of Jennifer Lopez’s This Is Me…Now is that almost every song hammers home the same theme: Lopez is in love with Ben Affleck again.

This Is Me…Now
Jennifer Lopez
Nuoyrican / BMG
16 February 2024

“When I was a girl, they’d ask me what I’d be,” sings Jennifer Lopez on the title track to her ninth studio album, This Is Me…Now, her first solo LP in ten years. “A woman in love is what I grew up wantin’ to be.” While Lopez has rightfully earned respect towards her name as an entertainer across the music, film, and television industries, she hasn’t exactly ever been known as a songwriter. Indeed, out of her nine albums, she only has a significant writing credit on two. The first was 2002’s This Is Me…Then, and the second is its sequel, This Is Me…Now.

In pop music, Lopez has consistently delivered better with singles than albums. Where even the most uneducated of listeners can recite all the lyrics to “Jenny from the Block”, “On the Floor”, or “Dance Again”, it’s more likely that they haven’t heard the entirety of the records on which those tracks appear. This is to say that Lopez’s strengths as a performer are comparable to those of Whitney Houston and Paula Abdul. The production values of her performances matter, not who wrote the songs or how applicable they are to her life in general. However, This Is Me…Now is a deeply personal record, quite out of the ordinary for Lopez. One might even argue it’s a little too personal.

The sum of her latest studio effort is dedicated to rekindling Lopez’s romantic relationship with Ben Affleck, whom she initially dated in the early 2000s, to such intense fanfare that the media dubbed them “Bennifer”. They reunited in 2021 and married the following year. Lopez continued her habit of delivering impeccable lead singles when she released “Can’t Get Enough” from the album in January, a song that melds together pop, R&B, and hip-hop while sampling the 1967 track “I’m Still in Love with You” by Alton Ellis.

The lyrics, of course, suggested getting back together with an old flame. That was to be expected, given the Hollywood rarity of getting back together with an old partner and marrying them two decades after first separating. Jennifer Lopez also shared the trailer for a narrative-driven romantic musical film that would accompany the release of This Is Me…Now, a clip that caused widespread confusion on social media. Whatever the case, the singer made clear that she wanted the world to know that she was in love again, naysayers be damned, which is bold and powerful. However, the most significant weak spot of the record is that almost every song hammers home the same theme: Lopez is in love with Ben Affleck again.

Where albums recorded by pop singers following a divorce are predicted to be among their best work, records made while they are in love have a slightly different reputation. Pop music fandom did not take kindly to Gwen Stefani scrapping an entire solo album to record a new one made up of love songs about Blake Shelton, even if the final result, This Is What the Truth Feels Like, was strong. Likewise, when Camila Cabello recorded her second LP, Romance, all about her media-focused relationship with Shawn Mendes, it was doubtful if the lyrics would stand the test of time.

There’s nothing wrong with recording a pop album about being in love. Some of the best pop songs ever come from being entranced in a romance. But This Is Me…Now doesn’t possess the power to be memorable when, even if her dedication to Affleck is endearing and genuine, it leaves the record sounding unbalanced and exhausted.

This Is Me…Now‘s best points are its lead single and its ability to revive Jennifer Lopez’s signature pop, R&B, and hip-hop blend that she pioneered in the early 2000s. For an album that promised to show us the real Jennifer Lopez straight from the heart, it struggles to stand on its own two feet. This Is Me…Now ultimately loses itself in its self-indulgent proclamations of heart and the supposedly greatest love story never told.

RATING 5 / 10