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Something heavy like a first day period.
on March 14, 2008
She said it, not me. I've read the excellent review by Terry Mesnard here, and he hit every point I was going to hit, so I'll be brief. I, too, have been listening to Janet (Ms. Jackson if you're nasty) since "Control", which I consider to be one of her finest efforts. I would also add "Rhythm Nation" and "The Velvet Rope" as her other two fine efforts. Yet, ever since "Rhythm Nation" I have felt, with each release, Janet has become weaker and weaker as an artist.
The problems are clear. No one would say that Janet is a fantastic singer. She's a package deal (performance, looks, hooks, attitude). She's Michael's younger sister, and it's not lost on me that in 1993, after Michael's growing unpopularity for child molestation charges, that she dropped her surname for good. That's also when her music began to drop in quality as well. 1993's "Janet" was uneven and 1997's "The Velvet Rope" equally as uneven. Then, in 2001, she changed her sound for the second time, and every album since "All For You" has been about the same in sound.
I thought dropping Jimmy and Terry would offer a new sound. I thought dropping her old record label and moving over to Island would contribute to a new sound, but this is not the case. In fact, someone like Janet is only as good as her material. She has other people writing her songs for her, and this isn't good. On "Discipline" her songs are primarily written by four men who clearly have their minds in their pants. Excuse me, but isn't Janet 41 years old? I don't know any 41 year olds that would talk about, let alone sing about, their sexual practices. Janet should be maturing and singing about more important matters than, "seven inches".
So what about the arrangements/melodies? Well, I figure there are seven good songs and six weak songs. The best of the best are "Feedback", "Rock With U", "2Nite", "Never Letchu Go", "Greatest X", "So Much Betta" and "The 1". Funny that Janet utilizes the brilliant Missy Elliott when she's in direct competition with her. Also, Janet's music, in general, seems to be aping Missy's style rather than coming up with something original and having Missy rap over it.
The obvious weak tracks are "Luv" (generic), "Rollercoaster" (repetitive), "Can't B Good" (boring), "What's Ur Name" (asinine), "Discipline" (how old are you Janet?) and "Curtains" (snoozefest). What's with the dumbing down of the song titles? Janet's gotten older and she can't spell anymore? If she's trying to be hip and cool, the one thing we know about someone getting old and trying to be hip and cool is that it looks pitiful and painful. It's okay to NOT pander to the teens, Janet. Life isn't all disco balls, sex and ecstasy--you can talk about more adult subjects.
Here's what I say to Janet--why not write your own songs and produce the album yourself? That would be different. In addition, why not go your own way and not sound like all banal hip hop that's already jamming our ears with garbage? I believe in the talent Janet has, but it seems that too many people are telling her what to do. She should just stick to what she knows best.