1999 seemed to be one of the biggest years for "Pop" music. That year brought us some of the biggest names in music including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake (then with N SYNC) and of course, actress/dancer/singer Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer, in her 5 years in the spotlight, seems to be everywhere. She dances, she acts, she sings, she is constantly getting remarried. This being the case, there is, of course, a lot of rumours, etc. about Jennifer's work. Her June 1999 debut, On The 6, was a mixture of "Pop", dance and latin music with quite a few ballads. Jennifer has never had a strong voice but she does have a knack for bringing us purely entertaining music.
Like most albums from that time period, Jennifer Lopez's "On the 6" (named for her childhood subway line), begins with her hit single, "If You Had My Love." This was a rather upbeat, danceable track in which Jennifer discusses what she wants in a relationship. ("If I give you me, this is how it's got to be, first of all I won't take you cheating on me"). The lyrics are fairly standard however Jennifer's voice doesn't sound too bad. Following this comes the beautiful ballad "Should've Never". It tells a sweet yet sad story of falling in love with a man while already dating someone. The lyrics are beautiful despite the fact that the message (keeping the relationship with the second man a secret) is not so good. Also, another downside to this song is its length. The song is over six minutes and frankly, only the first three or four minutes are necessary. The last three minutes consist of the background singers singing the chorus repeatedly as well as Jennifer whispering a few lines in Spanish here and there.
The third track on the album is the Spanish-tinged "Too Late". Despite Jennifer Lopez's limited vocal ability, she handles this song quite well even though it has a few lyrical missteps. ("Gave me time and diamond rings but something else was missing."). Its not that the lyrics don't make sense, it is just that they do not fit quite right into the song. Also, the bridge of the song completely brings down the quality of the song both vocally and lyrically. Next, we come to three of the weakest tracks, "Feelin' So Good", "Let's Get Loud" and "Could This Be Love". "Feelin' So Good" was produced by P Diddy (then known as Puff Daddy) and Mario Winans but it suffers from an irritating rap verse, poor lyrics and a highly overused topic. As I've probably mentioned before, I generally dislike the "I'm feeling great" songs and the "I'm the same as I always was despite my fame" songs" and this one is no exception. "Let's Get Loud", which was written by Gloria Estefan, could have been great but it seems to be lacking something that I can't quite put my finger on. Jennifer's voice is not suited to this kind of song and the lyrics lead absolutely nowhere. "Could This Be Love" could have been a very beautiful, heartfelt ballad but Jennifer relies far too much on background singers, which takes away from the quality of the song.
Next we come to a Spanish duet with Marc Anthony, entitled "No Me Ames" which, as far as I know, means "you don't love me". I can't comment too much on this song since I don't even speak Spanish. For the average non-Spanish-speaking listener, it is nothing more then an average track though I'm sure if I understood the lyrics it would be better. Afterwards comes my personal favourite, "Waiting For Tonight". This song has probably the best lyrics on the album and Jennifer's vocals work extremely well with this seductive track (though it is not a slow song). "Open Off My Love", which comes next, has too many of the same problems found throughout the album. There is too much reliance on background singers, the lyrics are subpar and the bridge of the song is exceptionally weak. Fortunately, after this we have a sweet ballad, "Promise Me You'll Try" in which Jennifer tells her man basically not to make promises he can't keep ("Don't promise me forever, don't promise me the sun and the sky") but just to promise her he'll try (although it is never established what she wants him to try). Jennifer's voice is slightly weak in this song but the lyrics make up for it.
The last four tracks do not stand out very much at all. "It's Not That Serious", written and produced by Rodney "Darkchild Jerkins, is sung in a somewhat choppy manner (you'll understand when you hear it) make it seem a lot longer then it really is. After is "Talk About Us" which could have been beautiful but seems too similar to "Promise Me You'll Try". "Talk About Us" tells the tale of wanting to know what comes next after what sounds like a one-night stand. By this point, little about this song stands out since the lyrics and even the music seem to have been done before. The final two tracks are a slower version of "No Me Ames" and a Spanish version of "Waiting For Tonight" which, seeing as this is Jennifer's debut, probably should have been replaced with something original or left off completely.
Overall Mark: 2.5/5
Jennifer Lopez's debut brought some decent tracks but in the long run, it is not a very memorable album. Despite some excellent writers/producers (including P Diddy, Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Mario Winans), Jennifer's debut album fails to bring anything truly memorable other then a couple of decent singles. There was far too much emphasis on the background singers, which just calls more attention to Jennifer's limited vocal abilities. Also, she had a hand in writing quite a few songs on the album though unfortunately, many songs had subpar lyrics. Overall, I would only recommend this if you are a diehard Jennifer Lopez fan.