Back in 2004, teenage girls and old perverts alike raved as 13-year old Joanna “JoJo” Levesque released her debut album, JoJo. Despite being really, really young, Levesque’s voice was skilled beyond her years and her initial effort left critics and fans imagining what she could do when she got old enough. Well, she’s older now (almost 16!) and her follow up album, The High Road, is better than could’ve been expected.
Anchored by the hit single “Too Little Too Late,” The High Road boasts the same vocal showcases that her debut did, but with much better musical accompaniment. Levesque shows her range on the album, going from dance pop on the innocuous “The Way You Do Me,” to sampling Toto’s “Africa” on “Anything,” to semi-soulful ballads like “Exceptional.” Luckily for male listeners already feeling strange buying an album by a teenage girl, Levesque doesn’t sing about sex–a small miracle considering that the average album by a young girl contains at least six tracks of orgasmic moaning.
The lone weak spot on the album is the last track, the overly plodding and preachy “Note to God.” Once a novelty act, JoJo has somehow become a force on the pop/R&B charts and with a little luck, she may just stick around to become a grizzled three-album star by her 18th birthday, which is in one year, twenty-two days, exactly.