‘JOJO’S FUCKING BACK!!!!’
‘……sorry darling, I can’t hear you. I’ve got Kerry Katona’s new workout DVD on and I’m about to do a pelvic thrust while eating a Big Mac’
So the familiar ‘Jojo’s back’ conversation goes. It takes place in most households at least once a year, along with the usual ‘OMG Sophie Ellis-Bextor might actually make the top 20 with this song!!’ chats and ‘OOOOOH there’s a rumour Kate Bush has put down her pruning shears and might make a new album this year!!’ discussions which now straddle domestic family life. Usually the conversation ends in disappointment- the momentary burst of euphoric glee giving way to despair as you/your parents/ Uncle Jimmy realise that, once again, it just isn’t going to happen this year. Kate’s roses will remain pruned and fertilised, Sophie E.B will continue to straddle the 30+ chart position like a stubborn turd, and Jojo will remain in the musical netherworld- playing backgammon with Shaznay from All Saints and Michelle Mcmanus until the end of time.
But hang on a minute. What’s that noise radiating from the stereo speakers like a sass fuelled musical punch bag? It’s only Jo-Bloody-Jo with her new single ‘Disaster’! And despite taking three years more than it should have to get here, it sounds like it was well worth the wait.
It all started so well for Jojo. In 2004, at the skippy eyed age of thirteen, she released her debut single ‘Leave (Get Out)’ to both critical and commercial success worldwide. The song reached the top five in seven countries (including number 2 in the UK), and was followed by a self titled album which went platinum in the US and Canada, and Gold in the UK and Germany. While some critics commented on the age-related lack of personality present in the poppy R&B beats and polished vocal scales which made up the fourteen tracks on the album, it was widely acknowledged that Jojo’s already soul tinged voice and confident delivery made her ‘one to watch’.
Album number two- ‘The High Road’ sassed into the top 3 in 2006, and hinted at a more mature Jojo. Aged 16 by now, the sexually possessed warbling started to make a bit more sense- the emotional punch of her songs more believable. The album’s brilliant lead single ‘Too Little Too Late’- a weepy lament about cheating boyfriends and the beckoning world of scary, emotional womanhood- became one of her most successful songs to date and has currently sold 821,000 digital downloads since 2007.
Things seemed to be moving along nicely. ‘ROLL ON ALBUM NUMBER THREE AND ACTUAL WOMAN JOJO’ screamed the world.
Then everything went…well, a bit tits up really. At the end of 2007 Jojo announced that she’d started writing songs for her third album and by 2008 had lined up a string of cutting edge producers. This time it was all going to be very personal ‘n’ authentic ‘n’ grown up thankyouverymuch, and indeed it seemed like THIS could be the album where ‘potentially amazing popstar but still quite young’ Jojo could become ‘actually amazing pop star and not too young to say ‘Fuck’ in a song’ Jojo.
Then, for reasons still unknown to most sane human beings, Jojo’s record label Da Family Entertainment, decided to officially ‘dick things up’. Having waited nearly a year for DFE to sign a distribution deal to release her album, it emerged that Jojo was suing the label for effectively putting her in musical limbo, due to not allowing her to leave the label or record a new album. She was finally released from her contract in late 2009 and soon joined Interscope records, but it would take months of legal wrangling to finally leave her free to record and distribute her third album.
Fast forward to August 2011, and Jojo’s better-late-than-never announcement that Disaster would be the first single to be released from her new album ‘Jumping Trains’. The song marks a continuation in the ‘angry but wise’ brand of pop rock ballad which Jojo seems to do so well, and now that she’s an actual 21 year old woman it’s easier to listen to lyrics like ‘You shot the bullet that killed me’ without thinking ‘OH JESUS YOU CAN’T EVEN LEGALLY DRIVE YET. WHY AREN’T YOU WATCHING HOLLYOAKS OR SOMETHING??!’.
As usual her vocals are stunningly accomplished- dancing around the last quarter in a flawless pirouette of rising scales and effortlessly held notes, while the thunder clap drums and power pop strings herald a triumphant victory march back into the musical limelight where she so clearly belongs. It follows on from her haunting cover of Drake’s ‘Marvin’s Room’ earlier in the summer (where she does tend to say Fuck rather a lot), and marks a new mature Jojo- keen to take the reigns on her career and steer it in the direction which best suits her.
SEE YOU FOR ALBUM FOUR IN 2025 LUV!