One fan theory about why Dr. Luke has been so petty about not letting Kesha out of her contract with him is that he hasn’t produced a genre-shifting hit in a couple of years, and that he’s now more inclined to follow than lead. (His last true smash, 2014's “Timber,” was by Pitbull featuring Kesha.)
With “Ain’t Your Mama,” the new song by Jennifer Lopez produced by Luke and written by Meghan Trainor and Jacob Kasher, that theory certainly appears to hold true here; for the beat, Luke used a pared-down syncopation that’s in the spirit of the reggaetón lite that’s been taking over pop radio, and in that sense he is behind Diplo (“Lean On”) and Skrillex (“Sorry”). Of course, Luke’s worked with Latin-genre artists before (Pitbull, Becky G, Lopez) but mostly he’s crafted the sort of algorithms that lend themselves to lucrative non-specificity, for both good (“Time of Our Lives”) and bad (Maroon 5's “Sugar”).
So for “Ain’t Your Mama,” J.Lo finger-wags at some dude she’s dating for expecting her to do his housework for him and generally not acting like an adult. Of course, the whole crux of this song is “Why don’t you just dump him, dude,” which could of course also be applied to Dr. Luke—but of course, when an artist works with another tarnished artist, we don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes; J. Lo could potentially have refused to work with him, yet this song dropped on Epic Records, a Sony imprint. As Tinashe reminded us when she revealed publicly that it wasn’t her choice to work with Chris Brown, label executives can theoretically coerce an artist into working with people they don’t necessarily like or respect simply by rights of what’s in a contract, and of course in these cases, it’s all about the bottom line. The bottom line, in fact, is protected in court, as we saw with Kesha’s Sony case. (Yesterday, her appeal to be freed from her label by immediate injunction was thrown out.)
Still, it’s disappointing, as is the song, which is also a reminder that Meghan Trainor writes her songs in hashtags.
Image via Epic/Sony