Mitchell: Hits from J.Lo; arena intimacy from Sade

It is somewhat surprising to discover that Dance Again…The Hits, is J.Lo’s first collection of chart topping songs.

Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again…The Hits (Epic)

J.Lo has had plenty of hits dating back as far as the pre-millennium with songs such as If You Had My Love and the delightfully Latin tinged dance pop of Waiting For Tonight, so it is somewhat surprising to discover that Dance Again…The Hits, is J.Lo’s first collection of chart topping songs.

There are a few lesser hits that did not make this anthology but the 16 tracks here collect most of the highlights along with two new songs to hook old and new fans alike into a purchase.

The lead off song and album title track, Dance Again, has a retro disco sound where Lopez seems to channel a little Donna Summer in the mix with the familiar lyric “love to make love to you baby” before Pitbull enters the mix for his run-of-the-mill rap.

The other new track features Flo-Rida & Lil Jon for an electro pop song Goin’ In that is synth heavy and not all that memorable but likely a hit anyway given the similar dreck on the airwaves right now.

In spite of J.Lo’s pop hits, I still think of her as mostly a star of the big (her turn in Selena is amazing) and small screen from her hit movies with George Clooney to the TV show American Idol. Hence this collection comes as a CD plus DVD set with many of her iconic music videos including a new one for the current hit Dance Again.

Also comes with a 24-page booklet full of cheesecake and fetish photos for the tried and true fan.

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Sade: Bring Me Home, Live 2011 (RCA/Sony)

Last year Sade (still pronounced shar-day for the uninitiated) released a definitive double Best Of set as well as a live album from Munich. This new live recording has very little info in the liner notes but the title Bring Me Home would indicate Sade recorded this gig in her native U.K. and again in 2011 like the German gig.

However, this is a CD plus DVD set where the DVD is definitely the prize as it is the only disc that includes Sade’s biggest hits Smooth Operator and The Biggest Taboo which are not on the audio disc at all.

What is particularly impressive about this recording is its intimacy in an arena environment.  After the initial huge audience outburst of the opening song Soldier Of Love, the crowd settles down very respectfully to embrace the concert so that wood blocks and shakers can be heard in the mix of Sade’s sophisto-pop “quiet storm”.

One doesn’t usually think of an arena as a place for sensuous, jazzy world beat music but Sade pulls it off.

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