The Singles Bar: Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull, "Dance Again"

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It is a year. Jennifer Lopez has been bequeathed her greatest comeback opportunity since all her other comeback opportunities with a judging stint on American Idol that's going surprisingly well compared to her peers' Idol comeback opportunities, because Idol is a world where Jennifer Lopez's peers can be said to be Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres. To further that opportunity, she's also been bequeathed a dance-pop song, about dancing, produced by RedOne and guested upon by Pitbull. Is this the year of "On the Floor" or of "Dance Again"? They're different years? It's all the same anymore.

The above metaphor wasn't totally accurate. "Dance Again" isn't quite "On the Floor," because one big piece is missing. Specifically, there's no "Lambada"--the sinuous Kaoma sample that, around the same, lent swoon and allure to Edward Maya's breakout hit "Stereo Love." This is a problem in many ways. It means "Dance Again" doesn't have any of that swoon or allure, let alone one unifying riff, and it means that right before every verse-to-prechorus or prechorus-to-verse transition, you're imagining the "la-lalalala..." chorus that doesn't break out.

What breaks out instead is the stately dance-pop that makes up the rest of "On the Floor," more polite than pressing even when it's even clearer that the metaphor here is dancing-as-sex (complete with Donna Summer "love to [love/make love to] you, baby" callout.) There's a bit that sounds like "Show Me Love," a bit that sounds like "Waiting For Tonight" and plenty of bits that sound exactly like what RedOne does. Jennifer Lopez does perfectly OK on a track that could've been released anytime from the '90s to the present and that'll probably land comfortably midpack in her list of singles. Pitbull, for his part, starts subdued-for-him then gets lovably louche in typical form "a little bit of Voli and she'll open sesame," which probably means Pitbull will try to sell the world sesame-infused vodka soon. Everyone involved has done better, but still: diminishing returns can still kill it on the floor.