JoJo’s return to music and fame

Kaitlynn Breeden, Editor-in-Chief

JoJo was a huge star in the 2000s and she’s been mostly out of the limelight since 2006, when she released her second album “The High Road.” Though she hasn’t been releasing much music since, it doesn’t mean she hasn’t been trying.

JoJo was 13-years old when her song “Leave (Get Out)” hit number one on the Billboard pop charts in 2004, the youngest artist to ever do so at the time. “Too Little Too Late,” the lead single from her second studio album, made it even further to the No. 3 on the Hot 100, and in 2008, JoJo promised fans that her third album would arrive in time for her 18th birthday.

That album was never released. During JoJo’s time with her label, she wasn’t allowed to release music with her label. They allowed her to put out mixtapes for her fans on websites like Soundcloud for free but wouldn’t allow her to release an album with the label. In 2013, JoJo sued her label, Blackground Records and Da Family Records, and was released from her contract the following year. In 2018, she re-recorded and re-released her first two albums, “JoJo (2004)” and “The High Road (2006),” after they had been previously removed from streaming services.

Her new album “Try Not To Think About It,” is a capsule of how JoJo was feeling during the end of 2020. The theme of the album is representative of how depressed, anxious, and negative thoughts impact each person and have the potential to impact those around them as well. She flies solo through the 12-track album, with no features, and showcases honesty, vulnerability, and transparency around mental health.

JoJo spoke about learning healthy ways of dealing with mental health struggles with MTV. One of them is personifying her depression and anxiety as a woman named Burlinda, which inspired the first track she created for the project, “Anxiety (Burlinda’s Theme).” “You only show up when it’s inconvenient / Always talkin’ loud, fill my head with lies,” she sings on “Anxiety (Burlinda’s Theme.)” The song is JoJo talking to her personification of her anxiety, explaining how it affects her.

JoJo released the first single from the album titled “Worst (I Assume) with a music video on Aug. 20 and wrote the song in the prospective of a protective mechanism, bracing for the worst in a relationship. “I keep assuming; you’re gonna do shit / That might break my heart so I keep up my guard / And I know it’s confusin’, how I put you through it.” JoJo sings about how her past relationships impact the way she acts in her current ones.

“Lift” is about JoJo admitting that she wants to get better, but she needs help getting there. “Can I get a lift / Gotta get somewhere other than this / Breathe a little fresh air / And after some reflection, I can’t get there on my own / I need a lift” The tone of the song is hopeful and uplifting, though the lyrics are littered with sad notes about JoJo’s self-reflection. The song goes on to go through JoJo attempting to feel better mentally and eventually finding her way to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking on the track, “Dissolve,” JoJo wrote on Instagram, “This song is about feeling so low at the end of a tumultuous era with someone to where you wish you could just disappear til the confusion and pain subsides.”

Working through her insecurities with her place in the music industry in real life, as well as creatively through “Trying Not To Think About It,” has led her to a more optimistic, confident place today. The EP is a musical expression of her continued honesty, vulnerability, and transparency around mental health, tacking the different shades of it- including anxiety, depression, negative thoughts, relationship self-sabotage, and emotional immaturity. Rather than striving for top-charting success with this record, JoJo simply made the project to provide the same comfort for others experiencing the same pain.