Well, this is unfortunate. Right as Jennifer Lopez prepares to release A.K.A. a post-divorce champagne-glass clinker that has her telling off her ex Marc Anthony and celebrating her love for some hot young thing she and her twentysomething backup-dancer boyfriend have reportedly broken up amid a swirl of salacious tabloid rumors.
The good news? There's so little joy in these love songs, her relationship status doesn't matter anyway. Although she's working with hitmakers like Max Martin and Chris Brown, they just whip their synth-pop into a weightless foam that would disintegrate if you blew it a kiss. The songwriting is lazy (''I feel good,'' she coos, '''cause I don't feel bad.'' Logic!). The double entendres don't make sense (is ''Troubeaux'' what they call trouble in Bordeaux?). And the guest stars, including Nas, Rick Ross, and Iggy Azalea, are so much more engaging than their hostess that Lopez sounds like she's been relegated to playing the hook girl on her own album.
At times, it feels like she didn't even bother to listen to A.K.A. all the way through. She kicks things off by declaring, ''This is not the girl you used to know'' on the EDM-thumping title track. Then, on the symphony-boosted ''Same Girl,'' she's insisting, ''I'm just the same girl.../I'm the same Jenny from around the way.'' So which is it? The only song here that even approaches classic J. Lo is the single ''I Luh Ya Papi,'' a bubbly sung-spoken jam that finds her lovin' on backseat hookups and hatin' on enunciation. Other than that? There's just not a lot to luh here. D