JoJo — Good to Know (Review)

JoJo’s 4th album, Good to Know, released May 2020 on Warner Records.

Joanna Noelle Levesque, known by her stage name JoJo, got her big break back in 2003. At the age of 13, she broke out on the scene with her hit single “Leave (Get Out)”. The song made it to number one on the Billboard Top 40 charts, making her the youngest artist to even achieve this in the United States. From the success of the single, JoJo would go on to tour with Usher as an opening act. The album would receive platinum status. Her follow up record, The High Road, would also be certified platinum. The single, “Little Too Late”, would be a mainstream hit on radio making it to number two on the Billboard Top 40. JoJo began to run into major road blocks with her label after the release of her second album. While waiting for her third record to be released, 20 of her songs had been leaked on YouTube in 2009. She has also stated that she was pushed to be thinner by the label and developed an eating disorder during this time period. She sued her then label, Blackground Records, to break her contract due to putting her in limbo. It would take her until 2013 to settle out of court with the label before she would be officially released from the label. She would then sign with Atlantic that year and release the III EP. After the release of her third album, Mad Love, she departed from Atlantic and started her own label, Clover Records. She rerecorded and rereleased her first two albums through her label. Her most recent record, Good to Know, is a strong set of songs that show off her vocal skills and love for modern R&B music. Of all the things that brought JoJo back onto my radar, it was TikTok. A video brought up her song “Pedialyte” and I was immediately hooked. The record is tight collection of R&B jams that will get you moving while fully sounding original.

“So Bad” kicks off the record. It’s a smooth groove with an infectious beat that kicks in that makes your body. The sexy dangerous tone to the song reflects the lyrical theme to the song. She’s the girl on the side letting him have his way. She wants him as much as he wants her. JoJo ponders over if his girl ever gets to see this side of him with the lines “Does she know you like it in the morning?/ Know you, without warning?/ Know you smile when you’re performing?/ Oh, baby, does she need to know that?” and “Does she know how you like to get dirty?/ Know how much you like to hurt me?/ You don’t ever have to worry/ Oh, baby, she don’t need to know that”. The song oozes sexuality. She’s not worried about the consequences, as the chorus says “Need it so bad, need it so bad”.

“Pedialyte” is an ode to the morning after. The title is a play off being dehydrated the morning after partying too hard and needing something to quell the hangover. The song really bumps in the chorus with its 808s and chant like vocals. JoJo is regretting the side effects of her partying, “Good afternoon, feeling bad still/ I need a prayer and an Advil/ I got too drunk tryna keep up/ Slurring my words, tryna speak up”, and thinking about changing her ways. The song ends with short epilogue, which is a bit more aggressive and sexy. Here, she’s all turned up and ready to give it all away. The lines “take me” repeated before each line only further that heightened sexuality behind the lyrics. The theme of yearning for the physical works right into the following track.

The deluxe release of Good to Know released in August 2020. The adds 6 extra tracks and includes the version of “Lonely Hearts” (feat. Demi Lovato).

“Gold” has an etherial atmosphere with its some of the slight vocal delay and gentle guitar. The song feels like it could have easily fit out on Ariana Grande’s last record. JoJo is in pure bliss over the type of loving this man is giving to her. With lines like, “You’re bringing it out of me/ From my head to my toes/ I call that anatomy/ That’s the way that shit goes/ You’re moving inside of me/ Speaking so heavenly/ I call that divinity/ We already know”, let you know the exact headspace she’s in. Her backing vocals envelope you like a wave of warm water during the chorus. The song is the shortest on the album, coming in at just under two and half minutes.

The first single off of Good to Know, “Man”, released March 2020.

“Man” is one of the first singles off the record. It is no wonders why it was chosen to be a single. The song definitely one of the strongest on the album with it’s sexy swagger and a blend of R&B and pop that is radio ready. JoJo is tired of playing games and looking for someone that’s here for a long time, not just a good time. She comes off as strong and confident in herself, and as the chorus say, “Damn, I’m gonna need a fuckin’ man (man)/ He ride for me like he a stan (ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh)/ I need somebody who can love me like I love me/ Love me like I can (yeah)”. The video shot for the song is simple mix of outdoor shots, mixed in with shots with JoJo and her friends, and some sexy solo dance shots. She comes off as confident in herself and sexuality in the video as she does in the song.

The music video to “Man” off her 4th record Good to Know.

“Small Things” has most soulful performance on the record. The song is very simple with JoJo’s vocals and an acoustic guitar with only minimum added beats and production added to the track. JoJo’s vocal performance is one of the best on the entire record. It definitely highlights her vocal skills without it feeling too showboaty. Lyrically, JoJo is having a very difficult time getting over her ex. Day to day things keep bringing up old memories that only bring her right back to the bottom. The various things that keep this sadness in her mind come to a head at the chorus, “I’m getting good at holdin’ it in/ All my emotions, all my feelings/ But the more that I fight them, the bigger they seem/ What really kills me is all the small things”. This is definitely one of the highlights on the album for me.

“Lonely Hearts” gives off full 90s R&B vibes. It’s the blend of sultry acoustic guitar and a sexy beat that just feel like I’m back in time a bit. We’re pushing back against our urges in this track. JoJo knows she could easily pick up the phone, get him to come over, but she knows that’s not healthy and help her out in the long run. Through all these impulses to continue this fling, she knows that it’s best to be one her own than to just be with a guy for closeness. This sentiment is best told in the song’s chorus, “I know one thing, lonely hearts won’t break (no)/ Hearts won’t break (no)/ Lonely hearts won’t break (no)/ Hearts won’t break (no)”. The video shows JoJo is various forms of dress embracing herself, which gives off a since of regaining confidence in one’s self. The deluxe version of the album sees the addition of Demi Lovato on the track.

The music video to “Lonely Hearts” off of Good to Know.

“Think About You” has a chill-hop vibe. Continuing the theme of not being able to get over an ex, JoJo just can’t stop thinking about the last guy she was with. The relationship they had is still on her mind, and nothing can really purge that from her mind. She’ll take anytime of interaction from him at this point: an argument, a hate fuck, a one off escapade, just to openly blame; she’s just aching for the contact. Even though her friends have been telling her to get with someone else, have some one-night stands, she just can’t move on from him.

“Comeback” (feat. Tory Lanez and 30 Roc) is straight up down and dirty, raunchy sex. She’s in need of his body and his sex real bad. The chorus only heightens this, “I’m selfish, gimmie all that/ Greedy bitch when I want that/ Hit them splits like an acrobat/ Talk my shit ’cause I’m so bad/ With the lights off, you can see me/ Feel you right underneath me/ You and me back with the repeat, repeat”. Tory Lanez comes in to only let JoJo know the various ways that he can take her to ecstasy. The reversed tones and thick bass line put out full sex vibes. The video sees JoJo in full evening attire. The cast of red lights and her sexy moves let you know this song is meant for the bedroom. The song comes equip with bed squeaking, so you know its going down.

The music video to “Comeback” (feat. Tory Lanez & 30 Roc) off of Good to Know.

“Don’t Talk Me Down” closes out the album. The song is a a full slow jam complete with piano and beautiful backing strings. JoJo knows this relationship is bad for both of them, and even though it hurts she’s ready to set them both free and end it. There is a palpable ache to vocals that give off that pain in letting go. She’s finally put her foot down, “Don’t talk me down
Don’t fill my head with doubt/ Don’t call me late at night, knowin’ what I’m like/ Can’t trust myself/ When you walk out/ Don’t turn around/ Don’t talk me down”, she knows she’s holding him back and that they just aren’t right for each other. It’s a touching end to the end of the record.

JoJo has released an acoustic version of the album with a promotional music video to “Thinking About You” (Acoustic) and a deluxe version of the album with 6 bonus tracks. She released a holiday record, December Baby, in October of 2020. As of 2021, JoJo has released 3 singles: “American Mood”, “Dirty Laundry”, and “Creature of Habit”. You can go to her official YouTube channel to see the official music videos. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her most recent release. Her brand of R&B is uniquely her own and shows a reverence for the genre without feeling like she’s appropriating. I recommend giving the album a listen. The stand out tracks on the album:

  • “Pedialyte”
  • “Man”
  • “Small Things”
  • “Lonely Hearts”

My overall rating: 6.5 out of 10 Lonely Hearts…



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Z-sides: Music Reviews

Z-sides: Music Reviews

Welcome to my personal blog. This is a place where I discuss any of my musical finds or faves. Drop in and have a listen.