Many would not think of Jennifer Lopez as being a singer first and everything else thereafter, but the Bronx-born diva is definitely relying on that trait a lot more heavily as time goes on. Just this week, the 44-year-old released her tenth album, the ambitious yet humdrum A.K.A. Many music critics blasted the album well before it was released and apparently, music lovers were listening. The disc is expected to shell out about 30,000 copies in its first week. While that may amount to the lowest sales point ever for an album by Lopez, the superstar proved with some recent comments that “flops” are just as important as successes.
Lopez has solidified a modern-day icon title with a mass of movies, products and yes, albums in her wake. One bad album, or according to some critics more than one, should not break that stride. Sitting down with The Breakfast Club, a New York based morning radio show, Lopez spoke about the insignificance of A.K.A.’s opening numbers.
“At a certain point in your career, there’s a reinvention that has to go on, she expressed. “You’re in it for a marathon; it’s not about a sprint.”
Explaining that there is still quite a bit more promotion to go, including future singles, she added that “the release of the album is a celebration because it’s the beginning of something new.”
Interestingly enough, the comments from Lopez unintentionally bring up the current woes of pop star Lady Gaga. In late 2013, her third (or fourth, depending on who you ask) album, Artpop, was released. Gaga, speaking from an exalted position of success, expected the album (which she considered “a celebration and a poetic musical journey”) to be the grandest work she had ever created. To say the fall from grace was damaging would be an huge understatement.
Artpop sold a lot more in its first week than A.K.A has (around a quarter of a million copies) and debuted at the top of Billboard charts, but it has faltered ever since. Gaga has blamed everyone from record execs who did not have her best interests at heart, to “time constraints” regarding video releases. She has somewhat placed the finger of blame at herself, but only after making sure that same finger has been pointed to every other person in the room.
The thing is Gaga can come back from the dirt that Artpop has created. A flop does not have to be the most definitive moment in the life of an entertainer. Her first offerings changed what pop music was and she did it without apology. It is surprising that she has seemingly become such a wilting flower in the face of defeat; wallowing in the pity that has befallen her. If only she would realize that she could build herself back up from the flames, the rise would be that much more amazing.
Persistence is something many entertainers seem to forget. The word “flop” is thrown around so many times in such a strong way and yet, we would all be nowhere without them. When we were younger, our parents taught us that in order to succeed, we were going to go through a lot of failures. We were not supposed to give up simply because things were tough. You push on until you find the right way to do it. Only then would the mastering of a certain feat own the full weight of a job well done. We all flop from time to time. We just happen to notice more when an entertainer does it because they are in the spotlight.
Jennifer Lopez realizes this. She understands that her past successes and failures more than make up for the slow draw of popularity towards A.K.A. She brought up another long-standing artist, Mariah Carey, whose most recent album, Me. I Am Mariah failed to open as strongly as most expected.
“We had the time when we would drop the thing and it’d go straight to Number One,” she shared. “We did that two, three, four times over.”
Lopez has paid her dues. It is not solely because of her most shining moments, but because she knows what it is like to fail and still find a reason to keep going (remember Gigli, everyone?). It is not always about being the best for the sake of others. It should be about being the best for the sake of you. We should appreciate the flops of life. They are what make true successes in our world. We do not linger in the mistake, we learn from them. A win is always a good thing, but the flop is just as important. Thank you for the lesson, Ms. Lopez.
Opinion by Jonathan Brown