Release Date: Oct 14, 2016
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop
At 25, Joanna “JoJo” Levesque is already something of a veteran. In 2004, she became the youngest artist to hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop songs chart with “Leave (Get Out),” released when she was just 13. Its girl power ethos and catchy hook delivered by a precocious teen star aligned into a perfect pop moment.
JoJo's first two albums, released in 2004 and 2006, were Top Five hits powered by some of the biggest pop singles of that era. The singer and songwriter claims that the relationship with her label, Blackground, went sour afterward because she took acting roles without giving them a cut. During a period of eight years, Blackground shelved JoJo's subsequent recordings, but she appeared on a handful of songs by other artists, including a pair on Timbaland's Shock Value II, and eventually released some mixtapes.
Still only 25, JoJo’s career was stalled by a contract that resulted in a lawsuit, meaning Mad Love is her first proper album in 10 years. Unable to release music officially, her downtime was peppered with experimental mixtapes (including 2012’s excellent Agáp?), their existence making Mad Love’s fairly generic R&B a touch disappointing. While there are flashes of brilliance – the pulsating Alessia Cara duet I Can Only; the bolshy strut of Fab – too many songs feel dated or unable to properly showcase JoJo’s raw vocal (opener Music is trampled under the emotional weight).