JoJo has made a triumphant return with her fourth studio album Good To Know. A true journey through self-discovery, love and heartbreak, the autobiographical content is elevated by the sincerity and breadth of JoJo’s vocal performances. Fans of JoJo have longed for the day she would give us a full R&B flavored album and she has delivered. While the album still has tons of crossover sensibility, it is anchored by a soulful undercurrent that allows JoJo to shine. Although the album is only nine songs, I didn’t feel cheated. It was like JoJo asked us to catch up. As we sat down over lunch, she told us all that she’d been going through in less than 30 minutes. Due to its brevity, I felt it reasonable to address each song individually.
An unexpected choice for an album opener. The song opens with somber chords that foreshadow the verse’s haunting lyrics. JoJo taunts a lover by offering to be there “in a trench coat/back of the bar in the shadows.” She makes it clear she wants “it” bad even though he has a girlfriend. Written after a night out at a gentleman’s club, the song’s vibe definitely embodies its title. Her desire in the song feels primal. JoJo recently opened up about her personal struggles of drugs, partying and drinking. This song feels like the soundtrack for that time in her life. Therefore, it is the perfect place to start the album’s journey.
You’ve probably been there before. It’s the morning after a long night on the town, and the hangover is so intense that you vow never to drink again. That’s the premise here on “Pedialyte.” While the word Pedialyte is never said in the song, it’s a reference to the alleged hangover cure. The melody in the hook is extremely catchy, and the tone of the lyrics seems to be at odds with the upbeat nature of the melody. Halfway through the track, it switches to an untitled sensual track that serves as a prelude to the album’s next track.
Lush, layered vocals set the tone for this sensual, moody ode to a transcendent sexual experience. When the connection is both mind and body, the output is like liquid gold. JoJo’s harmonic opening repeats throughout this atmospheric track. This one is sure to be responsible for many “Quarantine Babies.”
We’ve reviewed the lead single from the album previously, but it is worth noting that the bop is well positioned on the album. After a few slower songs, it gives us a moment to dance. In the story of the album, it gives us our first glimpse into her reclaiming her independence and rediscovering love for herself.
“Small Things” We all know that moment when you start getting over a breakup, and then you see something or a place that reminds you of your ex. Immediately it puts you in your feelings. It’s like all the work you had done didn’t prepare you for this. That’s the story here with “Small Things.” This is a high point on the album. From start to finish, the lyrics perfectly articulate this all too common experience. This is paired with a vulnerable vocal performance from JoJo. Honestly, this song deserves to be a single, and JoJo deserves a GRAMMY nomination for this masterpiece.
After a temporary emotionally upset in “Small Things,” JoJo flexes her resilience in “Lonely Hearts.” “How can I work on me if I’m working on your body?” she asks in the song’s chorus. Check out our full review of the song here.
“Think About You”
Some people believe that “the best way to get over an old man, is to get under a new one.” JoJo tackles this ideology head on in this song, admitting even if she did that all she would do is think about her ex. This record is a definite standout on the album. The unique rhythmic melody in the song’s chorus is insanely catchy. The lyrics are simple yet relatable and manages to capture an all too common post-breakup experience. At this point in the story, she takes accountability for her role in the demise of the relationship. The vocal breakdown at the end is pure bliss. Hopefully, this gets the single treatment in the future.
“Comeback” feat. Tory Lanez & 30 Roc Without a doubt, this is JoJo’s raunchiest record to date. Sexually liberated and forward, JoJo makes it clear that she wants another round in the bedroom with her ex-lover. After learning that he made her body eject “liquid gold” earlier in the album, can one blame her? Tory Lanez assumes the role of her ex lover, and he drops one of his best verses to date. Sexually explicit and with complete confidence, he lets her know what time it is without hesitation. This record may be NSFW, but it will definitely be in constant rotation this summer.
“Don’t Talk Me Down“
Throughout the album, JoJo has been on an emotional rollercoaster with her lover. From on again to off again, it becomes clear that despite their best efforts it isn’t meant to be. In a last ditch effort, she musters up enough courage to end the relationship. However, she warns her lover not to try and talk her out of it because if he does….she just may take him back. This song is the vocal highlight of the album. Raw, passionate and honest she delivers another stellar vocal performance that will definitely be a highlight on the tour. It’s the perfect conclusion to the album. It is real, imperfect and leaves you craving more.
In conclusion, the album feels like the most honest peek into the artist’s heart and mind that we have been privy to. On the album, her growth as a vocalist is only matched by her growth as a storyteller. Gone are the days where she embellished notes just for show. On Good to Know, each ad-lib and melisma feels deliberate. A necessary extension of a sound or word to accurately capture the emotion of the song. Each song on this album could stand on its own, but collectively they create an experience. If Good To Know is a snapshot of JoJo’s life these past few years, we can’t wait for our next musical conversation with the talented star.
Listen to Good to Know below: