By Corinne Love
By Corinne Love
On the opening of her album Janet Jackson talks about covering a lot in her twenty years, unfortunately one would never guess that with ’20 Y.O’.
Jackson’s ninth album 20 Y.O.,tries to recapture the relentless energy found on her mega-dance record, “Control”.
With the assistance of producer boyfriend Jermaine Dupri, Jackson loses what was supposed to be her comeback album.
’20 Y.O.’ is a thin set of slow grooves, mild dance floor beats and lean vocal styles. Jackson has a lot to say with ’20’ , but does not say much other than what she has said on her previous albums, she’s a sexy woman and you should know it.
’20 Y.O.’ is ideally a recap of her style since “Control”, but more about relevancy.
Jackson since the release of ’20’ has endured a series of potentially career ending moves. ‘Damita Jo’ her last album, was all around disappointing.
Where does this leave Jackson? Virtually on the cover of every magazine showing the world that she has not faded into obscurity.
Jackson like Madonna, are pop icon artists who consistently innovate whatever style of music they come into grips with.
Too bad, “20 Y.O.” does not feel like innovation.
Instead the breezy set is punctured every so often with a great song to coast off the disappointing one.
The lead single “Call on Me” with Nelly is a mid-tempo R&B sleeper hit.Instead, ‘So Excited’ featuring Khia should have been the first single.
The song is modern and urgent, building a crescendo, which surprisingly never peaks. It is production layer atop production layer – but it’s smart.
“This Body” is anecdotal evidence, that Jackson ‘s formula of playing the sexuality card is not being tucked away anytime soon.
Again this is generic production, with a guitar riff that practically comes out of nowhere and an anonymous rap break.
Jackson has never had a strong set of pipes like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, this fact has led to Jackson prevailing them with precise pop/R&B hybrid wonders like “If”, “ControlRythmn Nation” and “Son of a gun” among others.
However, the slick and smart production are rare instances on ’20 Y.O.’ everything else seems to be formulaic to a fault, calling attention to the issue, can Janet be more than sexy?
Moreso can she grow as an artist?
Songs like “Enjoy” and “Love 2 Love” are reassuring and show signs of maturity that would not be found in Ciara or the vigorous Beyonce.
Jackson is a pop icon; she does not have to rely on generic music to prove that she is.
Ciara, Rihanna, Beyonce and more point out that Janet is their icon.But Janet does not want to play their icon, she wants to be their competitior.
This is the fault in ’20 Y.O’ rather than showing why she is an icon and relevant, Jackson reverts to telling that she deserves to be prominent.
Desperation taints ’20 Y.O.’, and unfortunately paints Jackson into a corner.