CD Review: Janet Jackson

By Ashley Emert

To say that Janet Jackson’s new album, 20 Years Old, is sexual would be a vast understatement. The first track has Jackson speaking about everything she’s covered in her music over the years, ranging from domestic abuse to racism. She finally declares that with this album, she wants to keep things “fun.”

I am very into the lyrics of songs because I love poetry. The lyrics on this album leave me feeling unfulfilled — although it does not sound like that is how Jackson is left feeling. With lyrics like, “How bad do you want it? How bad do you need it?” there is not very much left to the imagination.

Several of the songs sound like they have already been done before. The track “Show Me” has a definite Gwen Stefani influence to it. There is even a cheer and call-back part, much like Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.”

The beginning of the song “Do It 2 Me,” another subtle title, reminded me of the Jay-Z song “Can I Get A . . .” that was released in 1998. Jermaine Dupri actually sings on the track, “Can you bounce with me, bounce with me,” which is something that is said in Jay-Z’s song.

Nelly appears on the track “Call On Me” and, surprise, it sounds like every other duet Nelly has appeared in. It also reminded me of a song that was released while I was in middle school. It makes me think of the good old days of boys being on one side of the cafeteria during the school dance, awkwardly looking at the girls on the other side and vice versa.

The album starts with a bang and tapers off to a more romantic theme, with “Love 2 Love” which says, “Your kisses got a poetry that leaves me shaking in the knees.” It is a little more subtle than the rest of the CD. It is a positive, slower note to end on, rather than the purely dance beats that inhabit the rest of the songs.

Adding another facet to the album are the interludes between every few songs. It is Jackson and, in some cases, a few other people discussing how crazy it is that she’s been in the industry for 20 years. At one point someone tells her that they met her in 1978 and tells her, “That was when you were cute.”

If I was going shopping for music, I would most likely not pick up this album for myself. Although I am not a fan of the lyrics, I must say that the catchy beats and music really grew on me. I think there is a threshold that music gets to where it is so catchy, you would have to be the reverend against dancing in “Footloose” to not want to dance. Janet Jackson’s new album has that reverend tapping his foot.

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