Imagine working for a company for 10 years and in that time, you were not legally allowed to do any of the work you wanted, you couldn’t get paid, could really only take side jobs and you weren’t allowed to quit and work for another company. Sounds like a nightmare, right?
Well, that was reality for singer JoJo, who was finally able to release her third album, “Mad Love” on October 14th. JoJo first came on the scene in 2004, the then 13 year old became the youngest artist to ever have a number one single on Billboard with her hit “Leave (Get Out). That success was followed up, two years later with 2006’s “The High Road” and it’s lead single “Too Little, Too Late”
Then in 2008, everything came to a screeching halt, JoJo stopped releasing music officially. Her now former label, Blackground Records lost its distribution and JoJo wasn’t allowed to release music anymore. To make matters worse, her contract stated she was bound to them for seven albums.
The battle sent JoJo in a depression and she ultimately decided to take her music into her own hands and released her mix tapes, “Can’t Take That Away From Me” in 2010 and “Agape” in 2012. Then, in 2013, JoJo (and her fanbase affectionately known as #TeamJoJo) had had enough and she sued her former label on behalf of leaving her in musical limbo and the fact that a minor cannot be signed to contract for more than seven years (effectively meaning her contract ended in 2011). JoJo emerged the victor in the suit, wrapping up the lawsuit and signing with Atlantic Records on the very same day.
“Mad Love” was announced via Instagram on July 27 using a pregnancy test, (a joke in reference to a tweet from the same day of the previous year) , followed by a single “F*** Apologies”, the next day and a video the day after. All of that was followed by a tour with Fifth Harmony.
As someone who has dedicated most of her time since Friday to listening to the album, I can confidently say that “Mad Love” is my favorite JoJo album ever. JoJo has been putting out albums since age 13 so at 25, it was time to talk about other things besides kicking a boy out of your home. Unlike a lot of fans, I had no expectations for this album, I wanted her to surprise me and she did, I felt right at home with this album. This album had four promo singles, “F*** Apologies.”, “Mad Love.”, “FAB.” (feat. Remy Ma) and “Music.” so I was interested in what else the album had to offer me. I quickly gathered a few favorites like “Vibe”, as well as fan favorite “Edibles”, an anthem letting for smoking and strictly sticking to hookups “Ay, listen I got enough friends, man/Tell me no matter what happens, we’re full time lovers.” This album is Jo’s first explicit disc and it delivered all the filth I wanted it to. This album is about love, sex, loss and growth– all the things someone in their 20s would experience and the album is set up in a way that takes you on that ride, it opens with “Music,” an ode to her father who passed away late last year and ends with empowerment and resilience with “I Am” (standard version) and resilience and love and happiness with“Rise Up.”
Perhaps what I love about this album isn’t just the music, but the finality and closure received by both Jo and her fans after a decade of cycling through excitement and disappointment. A nod to that closure is given with a period after each song title, explained in the bonus track “Clovers.” “Sitting pretty, steady picking clovers/finally I feel I’m getting closure.” In an interview with idolator, Jo said, “People go through things and we have a choice whether we are victims and we’re hateful and we’re resentful, or we’re resilient.” Mad Love is perfect proof of resilience. It was worth the 10 year wait. You can stream Mad Love below or pick it up on iTunes.