Since one of our best loved comedic actors, James Corden, started as the host of the popular ‘Late Late Show’ on CBS in America, it’s fair to say the former ‘Gavin & Stacey’ star has well and truly won over audiences there. Not least because of a now legendary feature on the show called ‘Carpool Karaoke’, in which, as the name suggests, he drives around the carpool traffic in Los Angeles with some A-listers belting out a bit of a karaoke.
Everyone from Stevie Wonder to Adele to Chris Martin has joined him on this feature, and everytime a new one is aired it takes less than a day for it to go viral on the interweb. His latest ‘Carpool Karaoke’ this week was with international superstar, J.Lo, aka Jennifer Lopez, and is easily the best 15 minutes of YouTube related funny stuff you’ll see this week (not least because James casually texts Leonardo DiCaprio off her phone midway through, with the consequences you might expect).
J.Lo was a big part of the musical background in my teen years – largely because my sister Cat (of Dear Cat & Fi fame to you, readers) was and still is a massive fan of hers. A star of acting, singing, judging and dancing, and certainly when you consider the massive exposure she received in the early 00’s, it’s all too easy to forget that she’s made more of a success of her music then she’ll generally be given credit for. But today, she’s going to get that credit as I bring you my specially curated playlist on Spotify of some of her finest moments…
1. WAITING FOR TONIGHT
(from the album ‘On the 6’, 1999)
Picture the scene. It’s the summer of 1999. Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and, erm, Geri Halliwell have ushered in the nu-Latino wave in pop. Jen took it one step further and into the clubs with her second single and bought us the song which most people consider to be her signature anthem. ‘Waiting for Tonight’ has it all – melancholic heartache, a great vocal performance, hypnotic dance beats and even a bit of faint, carnival-esque samba brass. Magic.
2. LOVE DON’T COST A THING
(from the album ‘J.Lo’, 2001)
Her first UK chart topper back in January 2001, ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’ is everything and more you’d want from turn of the millennium US R&B. From the second the military, bassy orchestra hits kick in on the intro, you know you’ve got something special. After a couple of years of TLC and Destiny’s Child proclaiming they didn’t have time for no scrubs who didn’t pay their bills, here – perhaps with a slight hint of irony given what was to happen in the time immediately following this single – was Jen saying that diamond rings and credit cards weren’t the keys to her heart. But to cuss it for that is to miss the point entirely.
3. ON THE FLOOR (feat. Pitbull)
(from the album ‘Love?’, 2011)
And from Jen’s first chart topper, we get to her most recent, and what is easily the best single of hers from the 2010s thus far. Working with the then man of the moment RedOne on what was by all accounts a comeback for her after some time away from our shores, and geniusly sampling ‘Lambada’ to devestatingly euphoric effect, not even the presence of intolerably awful rent-a-rapper Pitbull on this track detracts from it all. If you fail to dance to this, you have no soul.
4. GET RIGHT
(from the album ‘Rebirth’, 2005)
One of the great things about J.Lo is that she never sticks to one genre twice, as was the case when the first single from her aptly named fourth album ‘Rebirth’ appeared in early 2005. Slinky, club led hip hop pop, ‘Get Right’ has an insanely catchy chorus, a looped sax sample that’s just as contagious, and an accompanying music video that was one of her best, playing a barmaid, reveller, DJ and go-go dancer at a packed club whilst her video played on the screens.
5. IF YOU HAD MY LOVE
(from the album ‘On the 6’, 1999)
Where it all started for her back in 1999, ‘If You Had My Love’, whilst not only being one of her best moments – all moody, Darkchild helmed R&B with a chorus to die for – was a watercooler moment for the lines between two fields of entertainment being torn down. Very few actors or actresses cross successfully over into pop music – and vice versa. But Jennifer broke down those barriers and proved herself a success in both fields the minute she released this as her first single – and she’ll continue to break those barriers for years to come.