It’s accurate to say that JoJo‘s cover of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” probably drummed up more attention than her so-called comeback single, “Disaster”. “Marvin’s Room” became a viral hit last year, racking up 28 million views on its official Youtube page and inspiring a cover-of-a-cover from 2NE1′s fierce leader CL, as opposed to “Disaster”, which spent about five seconds on the Hot 100 and is still sitting around 8 million Youtube views.
The people have spoken, letting JoJo know that it’s urban music fitting of her 21-years that they want — not rehashes of the old hits that originally made her a teen star. JoJo’s listened, snagging “Marvin’s Room” mastermind (and Drake’s BFF) Noah “40″ Shebib to craft her new single, “Demonstrate”.
Shebib puts a more sensual spin on his usual template of moody melancholia on “Demonstrate”, creating a cloudy atmosphere of alt-urban for JoJo to play with. There’s a lot of unexpected changes in the production, beginning with some Prince-y guitar strings at the start, then running running through to sudden bursts of staccato and suction-y splashes in the background that sound like the song’s being momentarily pulled into a black hole. JoJo matches Shebib’s production prowess by running the vocal gamut, working out her versatile voice in a way that The Weeknd and Drake aren’t able to do when tacking similar-sounding songs.
And yes, JoJo is singing about sex, but don’t act surprised — homegirl has been wailing about getting fucked since the underrated “In The Dark” dropped two years ago.
Ultimately, Drake and the permanently-depressed The Weeknd are still the masters of this gloomy alt-urban niche, and the way that Kelly Rowland has recently married the genre with the more traditional sounds of top forty R&B deserves a lot more credit than it’s gotten, but it’s refreshing to see JoJo moving forward with her music and getting more experimental on her singles, rather than just her mixtape releases.