“Baby It’s You” downplays celebrity chic, MTV ideals and pricey accessories. “Not That Kinda Girl” seconds that motion and goes further, saying no to clubbing while demanding respect from a date. She puts indecisive and unfaithful partners in their place on “Yes or No” and “Leave (Get Out),” respectively. JoJo gushes about a terrific guy (“Never Say Goodbye,” “Sunshine,” “The Happy Song,” “Homeboy”) and offers to comfort a hurting friend (“Use My Shoulder”). As the title suggests, “Keep On Keepin’ On” urges the urban poor to persevere, acknowledging God’s sovereignty and the need for prayer.
A jilted girl becomes cynical and pessimistic about romance, claiming, “I guess it’s time for me to close up and go back on the shelf because I’m done” (“Fairy Tales”). That attitude is disconcerting coming from a 13-year-old. Comments about street fighting (“Homeboy”) and a “high” compared to a medicated buzz (“City Lights”) also feel inappropriate in light of the artist’s age.
Barely a teenager, Joanna Levesque has already toured Europe with Usher and scored a gold record. Her peers—including fans of CCM’s Stacie Orrico—will be drawn to her strong vocals and urban grooves. JoJo isn’t perfect, but most families should be able to talk through the hiccups.