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Jo Jo decided to record "Too Little, Too Late" to express how much she had matured since the release her self-titled debut album in 2004, having experienced both her relationship and first broken heart since that time, and personally selected the track to be the album's first single.
The song has earned very positive reviews from music critics, who praised its composition, mature themes and Jo Jo's vocal performance; some critics and media publications have included it on their rankings of the best breakup songs.
And herein lies a basic principle of the pop song: Jo Jo’s performance on 'Too Little Too Late' is irreducible to any evidence of authenticity.
She did not have to write the song, nor live its lyrics at the time of recording, for it to cut across as real. We’re all bound to meet an asshole or two between 15 and 25.
Steinberg identified "Too Little, Too Late" as one the few songs in his career to which he contributed only after some of it had already been written, with Alexander introducing the song to him after he had already conceived its title, as well as some of the ballad's lyrics and melody, admitting that Steinberg essentially "helped him finish writing that song and that lyric." After hearing Cunningham perform another one of her original songs, Steinberg invited her to collaborate with him on writing "Too Little, Too Late", which they successfully completed by the following day during a writing session with Alexander.
Upon learning that Bruce Carbone, executive vice president of A&R at Universal Records, was interested in obtaining new material for Jo Jo's then-upcoming second studio album, Steinberg sent a demo recording of "Too Little, Too Late" to Carbone, who immediately expressed how much he liked the song.
However, the record was ultimately broken by Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You", which jumped from number 97 to number one on the issue dated February 7, 2009.
A power ballad, "Too Little, Too Late" is a pop and R&B breakup song about a girl who refuses to reconcile with her ex-boyfriend despite his efforts to convince her; its composition and theme about an unsuccessful relationship have drawn comparisons to Jo Jo's debut single, "Leave (Get Out)" (2004).According to Vibe, the overall more mature, personal sentiment of the album prompted her to record "Too Little, To Late", having experienced both her first love and first heartbreak since the release of her self-titled debut album.The songwriters got along both with Jo Jo and her mother Diana Levesque, who is also her manager, so well that they later returned to the studio to co-write a second song for the album with Jo Jo herself, entitled "How to Touch a Girl".Directed by Chris Robinson, the song's music video features a soccer theme, inspired by both Jo Jo's appreciation for the sport and her relationship with then-boyfriend Freddy Adu, a professional soccer player.
Soccer player Mike Zaher, junior defender for the UCLA Bruins at the time, portrays Jo Jo's boyfriend in the music video, which also features appearances by the rest of the soccer team.
Having previously written several successful singles throughout the 1980s and 1990s for artists such as Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles, Whitney Houston and Heart, Steinberg, aged 56 at the time, realized he is older than Jo Jo (15) and Alexander (24) combined while working in the recording studio with the two younger artists but didn't find it difficult to write lyrics appropriate for them, explaining, "I think that the part of me that writes lyrics isn’t really old or young ...