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Released: 22nd January 2001.

Jennifer Lopez - J.LoWhen I first heard this album, having read some mainly bitter and negative reviews of it, I could not believe my ears.

People - what do you want from this record? Jennifer may not be Whitney Houston, but she doesn't pretend to be one, resulting in a lack of power ballads on "J.Lo"

The album is full of quality Latin-tinged R&B songs. The upbeats could all be hit singles, especially "I'm Real", "Ain't It Funny", "I'm Gonna Be Alright" and the Kandi-penned "That's Not Me". One Rodney Jerkins track, "That's The Way", seems very pale among the mentioned above, though not actually worse than any of his successful productions.

"Play," which seems to be the next single after the No. 1 "Love Don't Cost A Thing," is quite funky. Funny how Jennifer gets impatient with a DJ that doesn't want to play her song ("DJ, I'm asking three times... play my mother****ing song!").

"Walking On Sunshine" is a personal favourite, with its amazingly positive and charming vibe.

Let's talk of the slower songs now. "Come Over" is a naughty little number where Jennifer says how much she likes it when her boyfriend comes over to her room "for a little game." "Secretly" is a piano-led quiet ballad, all very relaxing and anything but soppy. They're not as catchy as the upbeat tracks, but the magic of the detail in the production does its job.

The weakest song is probably "Dance With Me," where the melody struggles a bit, but, again, the production saves it.

Lyrically, Lopez, who co-wrote the album, is opening her heart and sending warnings. You can't really not get the message, Puffy!

Overall, this album is such a nice surprise. It's much better than the debut, "On The 6". It's already one of my favourite R&B albums ever.

* * * * (Aneta Janssen)

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