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The Times reviews Damita Jo

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Here is a very positive review from The Times which gave Damita Jo a four out of five star rating! The newspaper edition also prints a previously unseen photo of Janet performing on her UK promo tour.

JANET JACKSON is The Most Looked Up Lady On The Internet. The question is not how did it happen to the sweetest-sounding member of the Jackson clan — think of Super Bowl, Justin, wardrobe malfunction — but how come it took so long?

It has been more than a decade since Jackson first tried to outrage Middle America. In 1993 she posed for the cover of her fifth album naked from the waist up, jeans unzipped and with a bloke’s hands on her breasts. But when the CD hit the shops, the shot had been cropped at the shoulders.

What the censors couldn’t hide, however, was Jackson’s obsession with sex. The album was packed with tracks about her bedroom exploits and even spawned a hit, If, that was an ode to oral sex.

Ever since, Jackson has been doing the dirty in public, although few people noticed and none ever seemed to take offence. Her last album, All for You, in 2001, may have been musically patchy, but there were lots of steamy lyrics and, on Son of a Gun, the standout collaboration with Carly Simon, even hardcore swear words. By then, Jackson was stripping off as often as possible, but at worst, she was seen as a little bit bad. Naughty perhaps, but still nice.

So you can hardly blame her for flashing an impressively decorated nipple. How else was she supposed to make people listen? And if you still can’t understand why she did it, Damita Jo might explain. Jackson’s eighth album (the title, apparently, is her middle names) is a 22-track masterpiece that, if you don’t pay enough attention, you might dismiss as frothy dance-pop. On first listen, admittedly, there’s little that gets up and grabs you. It’s all perfectly pleasant, slickly produced and toe-tappingly catchy, but there’s no new musical ground broken and no songs that sound like a No 1 single.

Two plays later, however, and Damita Jo reveals itself to be something rather special. Suddenly, rather than sounding like a take on Jazzy Jeff’s Summertime, the opening title track turns out to be a clever, classy, hip-shaking song with a groove that’s hard to get out of your head. Singles are popping up everywhere: the gorgeous, guitar-backed Island Life, with its mid-song strings break, the Evelyn “Champagne” King sampling, peak-era Prince-style R&B Junkie, and My Baby, featuring the hot new hip-hop star Kayne West.

Her vocals have taken an adventurous turn — rather than just sounding sweet, she trips out lines in time to a beat, half-raps, hits high notes like her brother Michael and gasps as though she’s singing while, well, having sex.

And while we’re on the subject (again) there’s hardly a song here that Jackson keeps her clothes on for. On Strawberry Bounce, she’s teasing a man on his knees, Warmth is an explicit description of the act of arousal and on Moist, well, enough said.

Ironically, these are Jackson’s least personal lyrics for years. In the past her albums have had some sort of relationship story. On Damita Jo, she seems to be having random action all over the place — on a beach in Island Life, or on a weekend at home in Spending Time with You. Good God, the girl can’t even go clubbing without getting X-rated over the vibrations of the bass — the superb Herbie Hancock-sampling All Night (Don’t Stop).

On its own, of course, singing about sex isn’t enough to make a great album. It didn’t work on All for You. This time though, Jackson’s longtime collaborators, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and those old R&B hands Dallas Austin and Babyface, have all stepped up to the challenge.

Their style may sound a little dated — there’s no nicking from the Neptunes here. Rather than the sparse beats most R&B stars demand these days, Jackson has encouraged them to throw layers of keyboards, bass, handclaps, brass, strings and backing vocals or raps into the mix. So it doesn’t sound like typical 21st-century R&B, but then there’s enough of that around already.

Now here’s the odd part. Tacked on to the end of the album is an average, uptempo pop song called Just a Little While. And it’s the first single. Why? Probably because Jackson’s nipple caused such a fuss, it was thought too risqué to release a sex song. Talk about missing the point.

Comments

comments

11 COMMENTS

  1. I DONT THINK THE PERSON WHO REVIEWED ‘DAMITA JO’ REALLY GETS JANET, ITS ALWAYS EASY TO CRITSIZE SOMTHING YOU DONT UNDERSTAND. I HAVE LOVED JANETS MUSIC SINCE I WAS 11 YEARS OLD AND I CONCIDER MYSELF A PRETTY FAIR CRITIC OF HER ALBUMS AND WHILE I WAS SOMEWHAT DISSAPOINTED WITH HER LAST RELEASE ‘ALL FOR YOU’ THIS ALBUM IS A BEAUTIFUL EXPRESSION OF LOVE, EMOTION,AND YES ‘THE DREADED WORD’ SEX. THE VELVET ROPE IS HER BEST WORK IN MY OPINION BUT DAMITA JO IS NOTHING SO SNIFF AT. I GIVE IT FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS…..AND THATS MY TWO CENTS :rolleyes: :satisfied: 😀 🙂

  2. I have to agree with the rating the reviewer give of "Damita Jo," but comply that he has no clue what Janet’s about. He talks about censorship of Janet’s 93 pic, has he seen the cover of janet.remixed???? There they just took the breasts. He seems to say it like Janet has been undershadowed for a decade about her sexual lyrics. I think she’s gotten plenty of attention for it. I mean, "The Velvet Rope" release was held back in Singapore because of their government’s censor department. Thus reviewer hit the mark with "Damita Jo," but failed to get an overall correct image of Janet and her career.

    Visit my Janet site to hear clips of all of "Damita Jo"
    Janet Discs:
    http://www.janetdiscs.homestead.com

  3. I’ll have to agree with you guys.
    Janet loves to express herself through music and sometimes people dismiss that and think she is just talking about sex, it’s much more than that. Damita Jo may not be ones of her best albums but it’s another chapter of Janets life being told.
    Love ya Janet! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. I dont know if that person is a true fan or maybe they are but they dont really get her music or her, coz I dont really agree with much of anythin theyre sayin, and was IF bout oral? I’ve listened to it more times than I can remember and I didnt get that at all, I felt it was jus a song bout the things the person could have with her if she was with them, sure it talks bout her goin down, but thats not all she says,its bout alot of different things, bottom like I think what they were sayin could have been more acurate. Thats jus what I think

  5. Janet my love, this one request from your die-hard fan in Philly, Please..please RELEASE the song called ALL NITE (DON’T STOP) as the next single
    Please please..
    I just can’t stop listening that song
    I think All Nite is the best dance song that Janet ever since Rhythm nation and If!
    love ya! JANET ROCKS!!!!!!!

  6. i think u guys are rather dumb (sorry) he is reviewing for the times he can’t be totally bias because the people will dissmiss him as a fan and not pay attention to his great review of the album (if we got janet fans to review her album then there would be no credit to it)

  7. "was IF bout oral…"

    "If you’d like/I’ll go/down/da down down down/da down down/I’ll hold you in my hand and baby/your smooth and shiny/feels so good against my lips…"

    Yeah, oral. :laugh:

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