After focusing on her heritage with the flaccid Latin balladry of Coma Ama una Mujer, Jennifer Lopez returns to her wannabe-R&B vamp role on the disco-thumping “Hold It Don’t Drop It”, a cinematic club joint in which she’s once again pushing her paper-thin voice into a range she doesn’t have.
Remember back on “Get Right”, when Lopez thought it was good idea to pair a wailing horn loop with her shrill singing, resulting in more damage to the human ear than nails on chalkboard. This is like that, but a tad less grating thanks to Midi Mafia’s chunky sampling of Tavares’ invigorating 1975 #1, “It Only Takes A Minute Girl”. A funky strut on the verses leading up to a whirly explosion on the tsunami wall of a hook, “Hold It…” stands as one of Lopez’ most exciting productions ever, yet performance-wise, her voice never really settles into a likable nest within the retro groove. She overplays the sexual tension of the lyrics (“I try my best to turn around/ But your touch won’t let me leave”) the same way she tends to underplay any emotion needed in her acting roles. On the encircling bridge when she’s at most combative with the beat, you sort of wish she would just stop trying to sing her heart out and let the beat truly breathe.
Yeah, this has more of a presence than anything she brought to the table on the Spanish album, but Jenny needs to take a few pointers from the similarly vocally limited Ciara and realize that it’s probably in her best bet to go ahead and let the beat take the starring role.