MUSIC: #LoveJo is a gift

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MUSIC: #LoveJo is a gift

Anjali Bhat

JoJo releases a free and dazzling new EP for fans.

In a sheer white blouse and leather jacket, JoJo stands by a pink background on the cover of her new extended play. Just like the cover, the content of #LoveJo manages to be both refreshingly edgy and delightfully sophisticated. Source: JoJoOfficial

In a sheer white blouse and leather jacket, JoJo stands by a pink background on the cover of her new extended play. Just like the cover, the content of #LoveJo manages to be both refreshingly edgy and delightfully sophisticated. Source: JoJoOfficial

Once an R&B and pop princess of the music industry as well as the youngest artist ever to be No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Songs Chart, JoJo slipped out of the limelight after years of trouble with her former label, Blacklight Records. On Jan. 14, it was announced that she had signed on with Atlantic Records. In preparation for her first album in eight years, she released an extended play on Valentine’s Day. The cover signed like a letter from an old friend, a thank-you to those who have stuck with her: Love, Jo.

The EP features a short introduction piece and three songs, all completely free to download. With innovative, artistically mature songs — including respectable covers of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture” and Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home” — it really is a gift for all who missed her smooth, rich voice.

Here, we unwrap #LoveJo for you, track by track.

1. Intro 

Haunting string instruments and JoJo’s sultry voice set the mood for the rest of the EP in just under a minute. “Relax your body and let all of life’s worries melt away,” she whispers, as if preparing you for the hypnotizing journey ahead. In the next line, as if referencing her fans, she asks the listener to stay close and never leave her. The only downside to this song? It ends all too soon.

 2. Caught Up in the Rapture

In a turnaround from the previous 52-second track, JoJo takes over six minutes to cover Anita Baker’s 1986 R&B hit. She demonstrates excellent control of rhythm as the song transitions from a slow and feathery exposition into a remix with snippets of electronica. The steady beat of drums takes over, making it nearly impossible to keep yourself from dancing to the song — or at least tapping your foot to it.

 3. Take Me Home

Phil Collins, the same artist who sang Tarzan’s “You’ll Be in My Heart,” released “Take Me Home” in 1986. In JoJo’s cover, the only real difference is that she brings a distinctly feminine sound. Still, the song is enjoyable enough, with a chilling echo to the vocals and a cool, relaxed vibe. “Take Me Home” is definitely the most mellow song on this EP.

 4. Glory

 “Glory”  is the highlight of #LoveJo. The lyrics, such as “Oh, to have a home in glory,” are slow and hymn-like, and the simplicity of the lyrics and piano accompaniment leave room to showcase JoJo’s clear, memorable voice. As she builds from dreamy breaths to a climax of long, high and powerfully intense notes, she reveals an impressive vocal range that leaves you anticipating about what’s to come in her next studio album.

 The singer has not yet announced an official release date for her next full album.