JMany artists come and go through the course of popular music. We have seen our fair share of one-hit wonders, legends, and all around disappointments in music. Those who manager to hold onto their careers for years are the ones who eventually get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and are known as influences over newer acts on the scene. What happens when one of these legends looses their edge?
Recently, Janet Jackson released her new album, 20 Y.O. I was extremely excited over this offering, thinking that Ms. Jackson may actually be back to her roots; a mix of pop, rock, and all around funk that just makes you want to dance. This type of music has been her hallmark throughout her career, and Damita Jo, her last album, missed this mark horribly. It was infused with a ghetto theme, very drastic from Janet herself, and sounded forced. You could tell that this was not the work for the same woman who did "If" and "Son of a Gun" years prior. Damita Jo was everything that could possibly hurt Janet, and came at a time when she needed a boost. The release of the album came directly after the entire Super Bowl Half-Time incident, right when her reputation was in tatters.
Fast forward a few years, and Janet comes out with 20 Y.O., which represents the 20-year mark in her recording career. Much of the early buzz was highly positive about the album, and seemed that Janet may once again be back on top in the music world. The first single, "Call on Me" with Nelly was a huge disappointment. Nothing flashy, nothing to get you dancing, just a slow beat, which is not the way Janet usually makes an entrance. Simple mistake one could think. Well, until you sit down and listen to the entire album and realize that the album concept was the mistake, not just the first single.
Now, don't get me wrong, the album is nowhere near as bad as Damita Jo was. There are a few really good songs on the album, such as "So Excited" and "Get It Out Me" which are shinning examples of what Janet is still capable of. The problem being is that they do not represent her as the artist. Knowing that she is with Jermaine Dupri, and the men in her life do influence her music, we can see parts of him in her songs. The problem is, Janet has never really been part of the Rap or R&B genre at all. She has always been pop with a little bit of an edge. This album does not do her the justice that she deserves.
I have heard many people say that Janet is not a good singer at all, and she is a decent one at best. These people have never seen her live. The woman has an amazing voice, but she does not strain it like Mariah Carey and Whitney do. She is able to hit those high notes when she wants, and the woman can hold a note like no one's business. I think the funniest thing is that most people do not even realize this, which is a shame.
All in all, All For You set a high bar when it comes to Janet's music, because it showed what she still had in herself creatively. It showed that Janet was still able to hold her own in a genre of music that is populated by people half of her age. The problem is, she is loosing herself in her music, and letting too many people reflect their tastes. Once Janet is able to infuse herself back into her craft, we will see a return to the amazing artist that she is. Until then, we have snippets, just snippets of what may come in the future.
Come back to us. We miss you. We miss the contributions that you have made to the music world, and wonder when you will start making them again. You were the one shinning light that we always had, and your music was always so uplifting.
We understand you have a new man, but that does not mean that he should control your music or your career. Sweetie, you are self-made, a superstar in your own right, and your choices, your music have placed you in the stratosphere of pop music over the last 20-years. Now that you are letting Jermaine pick your music, well, we are disappointed. We are not tapping our feet, and we are not looking forward to your videos anymore. We are just wondering when our amazing girl will be back.
So please understand, we are not turning our backs on you. We are imploring you to return to the music that you do so well. Grab hold of your career, shove it back onto track, and be the Janet that we all love so much. We were with you at the beginning, and we will be there in the end. Just please, please, please, do not make us suffer along the way.
Your Devoted Fans