Leave (Get Out)
The success of American Idol on FOX had the other networks scrambling for a talent show featuring three judges. CBS brought back Star Search, NBC resurrected Fame and had America’s Most Talented Kid. Aside from American Idol, hardly any of the contestants from the shows went on to have actual careers. Except for two. Ex-Talented Kids Diana DeGarmo became an American Idol 3 finalist and JoJo had a major airplay hit with “Leave (Get Out).”
At 13, the topics she can sing without squicking people out or appealing to perverts are limited. She’s left with dating, makeup, the newest spring lines at Forever 21, and how she is too old for the Bratz dolls for her birthday. Her handlers went for the dating angle, which is universal. As long as she doesn’t talk about sex or imply it, she’s safe.
Nonetheless, in her interview with MTV.com could’ve disturbed some adults: “I have little 11-year-old girls coming up to me like, “I just broke up with my boyfriend. That song really helped me and it means so much to me.” Yes, 11-year-olds date. When I was in elementary school in the 80s, 5th graders talked about who they were dating all the time. It was more for popularity than anything else. Does it make it right? Hell no. Who are these parents that let their kids date at 11-year-olds? In the 80s, it seemed much more innocent (or maybe it’s my own rose-colored glasses look at it.) Compared to now, children growing up are sophiscated and media-savvy. They pop out knowing a consumer name, if they aren’t named one already.
But her singing about dating at 13 is believable rather than appalling. I saw couples all the time in middle school, holding hands and kissing before class. One couple from my class even out from 6th grade to 12th grade. Anyway, in “Leave (Get Out),” Jo-Jo’s boyfriend has been cheating on her with her best friend. She’s sweet and kind in the first verse as she talks about how much he means to her. (“So won’t cha come and sit and talk to me/And tell me how we’re gonna be together always/Hope you know that when it’s late at night/I hold on to my pillow tight/And think of how you promised me forever”). He’s the type she’s always wanted (“I never thought that anyone/Could make me feel this way/Now that you’re here boy all I want”).
However, it’s a ploy. She breaks up with him in the chorus. (“Get Out, (leave) right now/It’s the end of you and me/It’s too late (now) and I can’t wait for you to be gone.”).
He’s surprised she knows about his other girlfriend. However, she’s asking him how he could he treat her like she was disposable as a napkin. Her boyfriend didn’t hide his secret girlfriend very well and left her number on his cell phone. She thinks it’s her fault for some reason. (“Tell me why you’re looking so confused/When I’m the one who didn’t know the truth/How could you ever be so cold/To go behind my back and call my friend/Boy you must have gone and bumped your head/Because you left her number on your phone…Maybe I’m the one to blame”). JoJo thinking it must’ve been something she did undermines the independence theme of the single. She’s supposed to be this secure young woman telling off her boyfriend yet it seems like she doesn’t believe herself.
In the bridge, she tells him breaking up with him wasn’t something she’d thought she had to do. However, it’s something she needs to do. (“I wanted you right here with me but I have no choice you’ve gotta leave/Because my heart is breakin’/With every word I’m sayin'”). Her sacrifices were for nothing and she’s not going to let him destroy her self- esteem. (“I gave up everything I had/On something that just wouldn’t last/But I refuse to cry/No tears will fall from these”). Although it seems like he’s made a dent and as soon as he leaves, the tears will flow.
The song idea works in theory. But “Leave (Get Out)” needs an experienced singer to pull it off. There are moments of insecurity in the single which another singer maybe would’ve noticed. JoJo sings like a puppet on a string. going through the motions of the lyrics.