Ranking All the Jennifer Lopez Studio Albums
Jennifer Lopez’s first brush with fame came as a Fly Girl dancer on the TV sketch show, “In Living Color.” She quit to become an actress and by the end of the 1990s, she was the highest-paid Latin actress in Hollywood. But Lopez’s ambitions ran beyond the silver screen. In 1999, she dipped her toes into the music industry with her debut album, On the 6. Over 20 years later, she’s a triple threat entertainer with global sales of 70 million records and a slew of Billboard 100 top ten hits to her name. Here’s how we rank all the Jennifer Lopez albums from worst to best.
8. Como ama una Mujer
In March 2007, Lopez released her fifth studio album and first Spanish language LP, Como ama una Mujer. She’d already recorded a few Spanish songs for her previous albums, but after working with her then-husband Marc Anthony on his own Spanish language album, she decided to do the same. The result, which consists almost entirely of introspective ballads about love and heartbreak, simply doesn’t work. The vocals are strong, but it’s about as much fun as a wet weekend. It proves Lopez can sing, but it also proves she needs fun material to work with. Without it, she slips into middle-of-the-road territory. Commercially, it fared reasonably well, charting in the top ten on the US Billboard 200 and hitting the top ten in eight other countries.
Lopez’s eighth and most recent studio album was released in June 2014. It became one of her lowest-selling albums to date, failing to make the top 40 in UK and Ireland and charting poorly elsewhere. It’s not entirely without its merits, but despite a few strong tracks, it’s a largely forgettable album marred by characterless production and flimsy material.
At the time of releasing Love? in April 2011, Lopez described the album as her most personal to date, saying that she’d drawn inspiration from her own experiences with love, along with the birth of her twins. Personal or not, it failed to live up to expectations. Described by All Music as “high-sheen wallpaper, so flimsy that it peels away immediately after application,” the album has enough up-tempo club bangers to please die-hard fans, but much of the material falls flat, with the more urban leaning tracks sounding oddly dated.
Brave, Lopez’s sixth studio album, was released in October 2007. The reception was mixed, with Yahoo Music calling it “one of her strongest albums to date,” but Pop Matter describing it as “just another disposable pop record with no redeeming value.” For most people, it falls somewhere in between. The bouncy production, chunky bass lines, and glittery disco strings are all enjoyable enough, but overall, it’s a little too light and a little too bland to hold up to scrutiny. A pleasant album in parts, but not an essential one. It was also underwhelming on the sales front, becoming her first album to miss out on the top ten in the US and performing poorly internationally.
After the huge success of her debut album, expectations were riding high for its follow-up. Released in January 2001, J.Lo certainly delivered the goods from a commercial perspective, topping the US Billboard charts, peaking at number 2 in the UK, and reaching the top 20 in most other countries. At the same time as the album was cutting a scathe through the charts, Lopez’s film, “The Wedding Planner,” was dominating at the box office, making her the first performer in history to have a No. 1 film and album simultaneously. The album has since been certified quadruple platinum in the US, making it her highest selling album to date. Not all of the songs are particularly memorable, but the rich production and confident vocals keep the album afloat.
After This is Me… Then, Lopez took a short hiatus from recording to concentrate on her film career. In late 2004, she returned with her fourth studio album, Rebirth. Although it wasn’t as big a hit as her previous albums, it was still a commercial success, peaking at number 2 in the US Billboard 200 and charting in the top ten in numerous other countries. Although the album’s vocals and safe R&B drew criticism from some quarters, it’s got plenty to appeal to fans, with a fun blend of sweet, radio-friendly pop tunes and dancefloor-ready uptempo numbers.
2. This is Me… Then
By the time This is Me… Then was released in November 2002, Lopez’s profile had never been higher. Her relationship with Ben Affleck has become tabloid fodder, with barely a day going by without the pair popping up in the gossip rags. The fact she dedicated the album to him didn’t exactly calm the media circus, and the raunchy video the couple made for its lead single, Jenny From the Block, certainly didn’t. But as Billboard says, “even naysayers will have to serve props to Lopez for the considerable growth she reveals as both a performer and tune-smith.” A sexy, stylish album stuffed with sultry ballads and breezy pop songs, This is Me… Then became another big hit for the singer, entering the top ten in most countries and reaching number 2 on the US Billboard 200.
1. On the 6
By the time Lopez released her debut album in June 1999, she already had a significant media profile thanks to her acting career. But On the 6 catapulted her into a whole other dimension of fame. Praised by the critics for the sultry vocals and seductive hooks, the album became an international hit, selling nearly three million copies in the US and over 8 million copies worldwide. Its singles, which included If I Had My Love, Waiting For Tonight, and the massively popular Let’s Get Loud, were similarly successful. Within six months of the album’s release, Lope had transitioned from a movie star into one of the biggest pop stars in the world.