Credit: Doug Krantz
by Alec Lane Music Pop Rocks

JoJo | Good to Know

November 28, 2020

Good to Know is a celebration of JoJo’s confidence and artistic independence, marking a new course after her career’s detours.

Best known for the prodigious vocal talent that she displayed as a teen with her early R&B singles, JoJo is an artist with multiple top 40 hits but not enough of a presence to be a pop mainstay. So when her career fell into limbo because of label issues, no one made too much of a fuss. Now, after two self-released mixtapes, a handful of EPs, and one studio album (as well as re-recordings of her first two albums), JoJo has signed with Warner Music, and has put out her first album for the label. Good to Know demonstrates Jojo’s confidence in her own (figurative) voice; the album has an artistic personality distinct from those teen singles. First released in May, a deluxe repackage came out in August with five new songs (plus an intro and outro) to bulk-up the initially-nine track set. The new songs further testify to Jojo’s creative drive, with the highlight being quite possibly the outro: at once playful and overwhelming, featuring a voice recording of JoJo’s mother chopped up over an inspiring ballad. The bonus tracks all easily hold their own with the set’s originals, mostly continuing the project’s penchant for sleek bedroom jams edged with emotional anxiety and insecurity. “In Your Room,” the last proper song on the deluxe version, finds Jojo giving in to the comforts of a lover, with a chorus built around sprightly drums and vocal overdubs. The tonal contrast between the song and the last track on the standard edition of Good to Know, “Don’t Talk Me Down,” is striking: Whereas the older song is a melancholy belter about the bad temptations of an old flame, “In Your Room” foregrounds Jojo’s ongoing discovery of selfhood through her music. Don’t call Good to Know a comeback, but its confidence and its celebration of artistic independence are worth toasting.

Published as part of Pop Rocks | Q3 2020 Issue — Part 2.