Monday, April 4th, 2011

Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – On the Floor

Back on top, then…


Iain Mew: I guess this is a British English versus American English thing, but for me the images conjured by “it’s getting ill, it’s getting sick on the floor” derail this otherwise likably functional song completely.

Al Shipley: I don’t know which lyric is a funnier use of the song’s title, “clap your hands on the floor,” “getting sick on the floor,” or “rest on the floor.” And that’s not even getting into the more abstract ones like “change your world on the floor,” “we work on the floor,” and the most repeated and least coherent of all, “tonight we gon’ be it on the floor.”

Jonathan Bogart: At first glance, if I had personally designed the new Jennifer Lopez comeback single to flatter my own interests — at the intersection of global bosh, Latin Pop, and historical curio — I could hardly have done a better job. So RedOne resurrects the Lambada complete with synthesized accordion (and so joins forces with two other major global dance hits of recent vintage, “Stereo Love” and “Danza Kuduro”), gives Pitbull space to do his goofball sleazebag thing, and turns La Lopez into an anonymous floor-filling diva. It’s perhaps the only way she could have gotten any traction in today’s overheated, oversized pop marketplace, but the furious competence of the song leaves her no room for personality or identity. Maybe she’s saving that for the album?

Chuck Eddy: Ha ha, it’s about time somebody sampled Kaoma’s forbidden dance. The Macarena can’t be far behind!

Edward Okulicz: Lambada forever! Or not, as the case may be. Sampling or interpolating a melody into a different context is art, but here it’s bad art. Kaoma’s stealing of the song was OK to me a) because I was too young to know where it came from, and b) it sounded fantastic. J.Lo’s second-generation photocopy of it is less brazen but takes it to places unbefitting of its inherent grace.

Asher Steinberg: J.Lo has always taken an obnoxiously imperial, corporate attitude to her audience, and that’s especially pronounced here, what with her addressing us in the beginning of the song as “a new J.Lo-ration of party people.” I do not want to be a part of your J.Lo-ration! I am a part of my own generation, one not in its early forties, thank you very much. And, for as much thought as obviously went into the craft of this song (I like the quiet parts), no one seems to have thought at all about what the brave leader of our J.Lo-ration would say! This whole repetitive, tuneless series of things one can do “on the FLOOOOOR” is rather ungainly, not to mention absurd, as when she suggests to the criminals in the audience that they start killing “it” on the floor. It’s so ungainly, in fact, that Pitbull’s tired comparisons of women’s anatomy to Tonka trucks and Donkey Kong are the best thing in the song, and I hate Pitbull, a talentless, veritable human embodiment of those fliers clubs give out for their parties with clip art of champagne and nude models who won’t really be in attendance.

Zach Lyon: No, pronouncing it “AF-RLEE-KUH” doesn’t make up for the fact that you just equated the entire continent with a bunch of cities (and one of the countries in the continent?).

Katherine St Asaph: Any criticism you’ll throw at this is pretty much valid. Yes, it’s a craven attempt to cash in on Jennifer Lopez’s barging in on American Idol (she had a decent claim to the throne, but nobody remembers that). Yes, Pitbull’s presence is another cash grab, with reasoning that likely amounted to some producer going “hey, that guy’s Latino, right?” And every damn song’s set on the floor these days, this one not even bothering to probe the nightmare landscape of “Till The World Ends” and ilk. But this one’s still different, trust me. It namechecks Ibiza, for one, and people generally aren’t acknowledging their obvious roots that way lately (We don’t talk about that song). The music’s cheerier, too, and cheesier; you’d expect it from Cher sooner than RedOne. It’s refreshing. But mostly, this works for the sheer tonal beauty of Lopez’ voice. Despite what anyone says, it’s totally distinctive — listen to the prechorus of “Waiting For Tonight” if you have any doubts — and even underneath the autotune you can hear how warm the timbre is. Add Pitbull being more tolerable than usual, and you’ve got a pretty good comeback single! Not convinced? “Louboutins.” Automatic five-point curve.

Martin Skidmore: I don’t imagine I will ever think a J-Lo single is a great record, and while this is not at all original, it pushes all the right buttons for her very efficiently.

Jer Fairall: Unexpectedly pretty in the moments where the synths burble under the intro to the chorus, allowing for something close to the euphoric release it’s undoubtedly aiming for once the “la la la”s and 4/4 thump kick in. Damn shame that we gotta endure a full minute of Pitbull to get there, though.

Alfred Soto: So long as Pitbull is going mushmouth and J-Lo is going na-na-na, I can appreciate the vacancy of this thumper. I don’t think I’ve ever requested more Auto-tune for a vocalist.

6 Responses to “Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – On the Floor”

  1. “But mostly, this works for the sheer tonal beauty of Lopez’ voice. Despite what anyone says, it’s totally distinctive”

    In a Celine Dion w/less of a weird accent sort of way. Like I kind of feel the opposite about ‘Waiting For Tonight,’ I love the pre-chorus but only insofar as for years I didn’t realize it was J-Lo’s song. Once I found out and detected that signature warm mall-pop timbre, the song became tainted for me.

  2. “Waiting For Tonight” is still my favorite J-Lo moment: her colorlessness as a singer works there.

  3. That’s the thing, though — I don’t think J-Lo is colorless at all! In fact, she’s probably one of the warmest-sounding singers, just purely speaking vocally here, of the past decade. “Waiting for Tonight” is of course the best example — there’s more personality in Lopez’ delivery of “all alone” than in many full songs — but there’s also “If You Had My Love,” “Jenny from the Block,” etc.

  4. Yeah, it’s hard to separate the, um, personality in Lopez’s delivery from her saying things like, “stay real, for me it’s like breathing.” And then bringing in a couple of much less wealthy rappers to attest to her realness. Maybe she’s stupid enough to buy into her own self-mythologizing and, therefore, sings that nonsense with a lot of warmth, but in reality it was just a calculated, condescending sop to the demographic that supported her in the first place so that they won’t get too mad at her for doing terrible movies with Matthew McConaughey and Ralph Fiennes, and not just any type of movie with Ralph Fiennes, but the “maids can land wealthy Senators too if they dress up in nice clothes” kind of movie. So you know, the fact that she actually brings some earthiness and warmth to the song in a way only makes it more appalling. Not that it isn’t a very fun song, unintentionally.

  5. This is a total mess and Pitbull is I think getting to Nicki Minaj levels of over-exposure. However, “Waiting For Tonight” was, and still is, a classic… my general ire at J.Lo is because she seems determined to do things like THIS when she could so effortlessly carve out a satisfying niche as a hungry but warm presence on light, hooky disco tracks like “Tonight”.

  6. I am very fond of J-Lo, mainly due to all this. Sampling the lambada seems like a logical next step. [6]