POPSUGAR Celebrity

3 Totally Unexpected Things to Expect From Jennifer Lopez's New Album

Apr 28 2014 - 11:30am

It's hard to believe that Jennifer Lopez [1]'s upcoming album will be her 10th, and when we attended an intimate listening party with the multihyphenate singer in Malibu, CA, on Friday to preview a handful of tracks from the still-untitled project, the milestone wasn't lost on her. "It seems so landmark and so surreal," Lopez, clad in white jeans, a paper-thin pink t-shirt, and fringed booties, admitted.

Lopez played five tracks from the album, which she said is almost — but not quite — finished. The first single will be "First Love," an expansive pop hit with hints of EDM that calls to mind "Jenny From the Block" with its catchy, radio-friendly hook. She also previewed "Emotions," a piano-driven ballad about love gone wrong; "Actin' Like That," a bass-heavy, downtempo hip-hop track; "Never Satisfied," a sexed-up R&B slow jam; and "Big Booty" — more on that one later — for us. After getting a sneak peek at Lopez's new music, here are three unexpected things fans can look forward to on the upcoming album:

1. J Lo Going M.I.A.

If last Summer was all about Major Lazer's "Bubble Butt," this Summer is ready for Lopez's follow-up track "Big Booty," also from producer Diplo. The song is undeniably danceable, and Lopez couldn't help but do a little twerking from her chair as she debuted it for the room. It features the frenetic BPM and world influences that helped Diplo rise to fame as a producer for M.I.A., but it's grounded by hallmarks that are purely J Lo, including a feature by Pitbull. Diplo is just one of the powerhouse producers Lopez employed on the new record; she also promised a collaboration with Sia, and "First Love" is courtesy of Max Martin. (If you don't recognize Martin's name, you definitely know his music; he's responsible for Britney Spears [2]'s " . . . Baby One More Time," Taylor Swift [3]'s "I Knew You Were Trouble," and dozens — yes, dozens — of other No. 1 singles.)


2. Vocals Like Never Before

Lopez started working on this album following a relatively tumultuous time in her life. "I went on my first world tour with my two babies — they were 4 at the time — and I had just gotten divorced not long before that," she said. "I realized that I was stronger than I thought I was. I was stronger as a human being, but also a vocalist." That growth is clear in the tracks we heard Friday, especially the stripped-down "Let It Be Me." The ballad, which features Spanish-style guitar, Lopez's surprisingly powerful voice, and little else save a few strings during the bridge, is a soaring song that showcases just how capable a singer she's become.

3. An Aggressive New Lopez

J Lo's "Actin' Like That" might be the most purely hip-hop song she's ever done. Its hard beat and lyrics, which threaten a lover to get it together or watch her go, could just as easily serve as the background for a Kanye West [4] flow as a J Lo groove. "I've always kind of dabbled in everything," she joked. "I do midtempo and uptempo, and I do dance, and I do gutter!"

Even though Lopez is exploring new territory on the upcoming release, which is expected to drop later this year, there's one thing fans can always expect: her tried-and-true subject matter. "I've always written about love," Lopez says. "[But] after this experience and these couple of years, I realize love is something different than I thought it was. I still believe in it. It's just a stronger Jennifer. . . . She's a little bit more grown now."

Photo courtesy Jesus Holguin

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