Jojo’s 2018 album “Mad Love” was a big return for the singer. It was her first official album release in a decade after a dispute with her label blocked her from releasing music for many years. It was also her major label debut.
“Mad Love” felt like an obvious extension from Jojo’s early career, but not all of it felt genuine to the artist. She has recently admitted that some of “Mad Love” wasn’t authentic to her and was campaigned for by the label. She was willing to make these concessions her new music to get the fans who had stuck with her.
Now, Jojo has more control over her music. She recently started her own label, Clover Music, as a joint venture with Warner Records. This has put her in a position to make and release the music she fully connects with and believes in.
The first full-length taste of Jojo as a mature artist recently arrived. “Good to Know,” her new nine-track album, is a beautiful and sensual contemporary R&B record. It is a more subtle record than her past releases, but this gives her the space to fully showcase her stunning vocal range and control. For many of her dedicated fans, this is the album they have been waiting for. It is a bridge between her mixtapes and her albums that paints the full picture of Jojo on her terms.
The project is led with “Man,” a track about knowing your worth. It is about waiting for someone who can love you as much as you deserve and loving yourself until then. It is a great message, delivered with enticing vocals that almost feel like a tease.
The album is full of these self-assured messages. Jojo has been learning and growing since her last album, and she is exploring those lessons on this album. She is acknowledging her addictive behaviors and other coping mechanisms and working to move through them and grow.
One track that showcases this is the powerful “Lonely Hearts.” Throughout the song, Jojo acknowledges the behaviors and actions she and her lover had taken in the past that probably were not the healthiest choices. But in the end of the song, she chooses to be alone and work on herself. She declares in the soaring chorus melody: “How can I work on me if I’m working on your body? / I thought we were meant to be, but we never really got it, did we? / I know one thing / Lonely hearts won’t break.”
A majority of the album is slow burning ballads, but there are two notable exceptions. “Pedialyte” is a day-after-the-party song for when you are trying to stumble from the bed (or, if it’s a really rough one, off the floor) to the fridge for sustenance and hydration. The song captures the crucial moment when we mutter “I’m never going to drink again.” It is almost always a lie, but it feels so true in the moment. It is a fun song and sure to make its way onto some playlists.
The other exception is “Comeback,” which has the album’s only feature. Tory Lanez joins Jojo for this sensual track about sex with a former flame. It is a real standout on the album, both in content and energy, but manages to find its place.
The album closes with a show-stopping piano ballad “Don’t Talk Me Down.” Jojo’s voice is on full display here, and the result is a jaw-dropping performance. It is the perfect ending to this song cycle and perfectly ties together the album’s themes.
“Good to Know” is a great R&B album from a seasoned artist. Jojo is obviously a true musician, and her voice is stunning. “Good to Know” is streaming everywhere now, and those that purchase the physical version will find an additional two tracks as a bonus.