JoJo Searches For Meaning On “trying not to think about it”
Last Friday, the R&B/pop-singer JoJo released her latest album, “trying not to think about it.” This chapter sees the vocalist transform from career-defining “Too Little Too Late” to “Dissolve,” a track about overstimulation. “Trying not to think about it” finds JoJo in a grey space and struggling with her mental health. Evidently, chatting with MTV News, the singer-songwriter expressed how the pandemic caused her to rethink her purpose and compare herself to peers. She states, “That’s where a lot of Trying Not to Think About It came from, being in that negative, ruminating place of catastrophizing and thinking about, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’” JoJo gets it: she’s human, just like us all.
At the end of “Lift,” her optimistic album closer, she comforts her fans, “So if you’re feelin’ low / Don’t be hard on yourself”. Throughout the album, the songstress harmonizes her way through self-healing (with help from answering backing vocals). Writing and producing seems to be her form of self-care. The production is full with vocal layering and consistent down-tempo– usually sparse until it hits the chorus! However, recent R&B resembles much of the late 2000s soundscape where JoJo took off with her career. Thus, JoJo further carves a place for herself in music; she sounds in her element and at the top of her game!
JoJo Wants To Be Free on “Anxiety (Burlinda’s Theme)”
In “Anxiety (Burlinda’s Theme),” the 30-year-old wants to end her relationship with hateful thoughts. As the song progresses, her backing harmonies build into a menacing overlap, similar to our own inner saboteur, eventually reaching a whistle tone. While the beat is sparse, the vocals and its message are at the forefront, ” You only show up when it’s inconvenient / Always talkin’ loud, fill my head with lies / Keepin’ me home, keepin’ me from leavin’.” She’s fed up with her anxiety, aka Burlinda, telling Genius “… naming your depressed/ anxious self and keeping it separate from who you really are can be helpful.” Separating herself from her negativity gives her a piece of freedom to say what she feels, and it sounds amazing!
There’s No Good Footing on “Spiral SZN”
“Spiral SZN” starts with this addicting bubbling bite similarly used in Mariah Carey’s “Caution” title track. On this track, JoJo struggles with maintaining positivity in the face of upsetting events. In the chorus, her voice breaks into the front, sounding rushed, “I keep on startin’ fights with myself, all downhill / Postpone the healin’, it’s / Spiral season again, yeah.” Her background vocals are belted, filled with frustration and unrest. She just can’t seem to catch a break.
Interlude Love: “Nikki’s Sound Bath *interlude*”
Even though it’s only 49 seconds long, “Nikki’s Sound Bath” is a much-needed break from JoJo’s heavy emotional baggage. The interlude is an intimate, meditation-like space. The atmosphere is much more important than lyrics and words. From this placement, the tracklist feels intentional, that JoJo wants us to take a breath with her and feel a moment of peace. She lulls, “Yeah, yeah / It’ll be alright,” the only words to this song. And, yeah, I believe her!
JoJo Is On The Move
To promote her new album, JoJo just wrapped up a six-stop mini-tour. Its last date was October 11th in LA with special guests Demi Lovato and Nikki Flowers. Her plans afterward are unknown, but there’s no telling what JoJo can do with this newfound confidence. “Trying not to think about it” is personal, raw, and, most of all, honest. JoJo learned to care for herself through music– turning her depression, her uncertainty, into art!
Do you enjoy this album just as much as we do? Let us know in the comments!