Originally published on So So Gay on 21 August 2015.
You wait for years for your faves to make a comeback, and then like musical buses three of them come along at once: Janet Jackson, Dannii Minogue, and now JoJo. 2015 is truly turning into a great year.
After recently teasing the ‘tringle’ concept on her Instagram, the 24-year-old’s long-awaited official release with new label Atlantic is here, and it doesn’t disappoint. III. is a highly accomplished set of songs that bode well for the inevitable new studio album.
Opening with the house-inspired and Benny Blanco-produced ‘When Love Hurts’, the joyful chorus and euphoric sound has ‘summer banger’ woven into its fabric – more’s the pity that it’s almost September. Nevertheless, it’s a slightly different direction for JoJo, but she carries it off effortlessly. Tringle centrepiece and masterpiece ‘Save My Soul’ touches on addiction and feeling helpless, whether it’s to a drug or a lover. This is the sort of song JoJo does so effortlessly and one might say peerlessly: the emotive mid-tempo power ballad. Following in the footsteps of ‘Too Little Too Late’ and ‘Disaster’, the song shows off the young singer’s vocal flare and range, inspiring a sea of air-grabbing hands of appreciation. The tringle goes out with ‘Say Love’, a booming ballad that really sees JoJo flex those impressive pipes that have been sadly away from the mainstream spotlight for too long.
The standout track is ‘Save My Soul’, but III. is a typically A-grade set of material from one of this generation’s most talented singers and songwriters. As she confesses in the bonus Spotify-only commentary track, ‘music is absolutely what I need to do to survive’, and she does it so well.
Welcome back, JoJo; please don’t ever go away for so long again, and if your new album could be this year’s Christmas present to us all that would be tip top.