JoJo is back with first single, Disaster, from her third, upcoming 2012 album, Jumping Trains. Originally finding her biggest success as a teenager with début single Leave (Get Out) way back in 2004, the singer- songwriter has returned, out of her teens- though, only barely at 20- readying herself to make the difficult leap from teenage star to it's adult equivalent.
What better way to do this then by adding a rock tinge to the music. Sure, it's clichéd and predicable, but if it works who cares. The question is, does it work for JoJo on Disaster?
Yes and no, is the answer to that. JoJo does her best to bring fire, passion and emotion to this tale of relationship meltdown, offering a spirited and dexterous vocal that has exciting pacing and beautiful variations of tone and register that are sympathetic to the lyrics of the song. In other words, no problems here.
The problems are to be found with tracks production, that crazily mirrors JoJo's fine and light tone with the faux-rock production way too closely. The consequence of this is that Disaster becomes sonically blurred at times, with the vocal and the backing fighting for the foreground- a place that should belong to JoJo's voice alone.Try as I might, messing with equalisers, volume, the bass settings and even listening through headphones, I frustratingly just couldn't get this song to sound balanced.
Those problems aside, the production is also missing any semblance of a soul: sounding tinny and cold in its polished and manicured flatness. Even though this isn't a rock song and JoJo isn't trying to be the next Joan Jett, Disaster really needed an edge and authenticity that the use of live drums and strings, instead of their synthesised counterparts, would have brought.
Disaster had all the requisites for a great rock-pop song-well written lyrics, an interesting melody and top notch vocals- to relaunch "adult" JoJo and the new album with, but it's really let down by Mario Marchetti's anaemic and overly-polished production.