Janet : All For You
Return of Janet Jackson in a frisky mood following end of eight-year marriage
Busy yourself with those nappies, Madge – this is what it really feels like to be a girl. At 35, recent tumultuous events in Janet Jackson’s life have forced the megastar to think long
and hard about what it is she wants. But the break-up of her bizarre ‘secret’ eight-year marriage to collaborator Rene Elizondo, and the $10million lawsuit he filed against her claiming lost revenue, have, chronic heartbreak and loneliness aside, evidently liberated La Jacko to such a degree that she now acts as though life is just one long, particularly saucy episode of [I]Sex And The City[/I].
While readers of celebrity magazines might be thrilled to learn of Janet’s new-found proclivity for dating and her sexual reawakening, its translation into gooey clichéd lovespeak and slick power-balladry on ‘All For You’ is, for the most part, roughly as erotic as receiving a parking ticket. Produced by cheery MOR bump’n’grind daddies Jam and Lewis, ‘All For You’ finds Jackson in predatory mode, keen to reclaim both in the boudoir and on the dancefloor territory which is today dominated by pneumatic mini-Janets like Britney, Christina and J-Lo. Of course, experience counts for nothing – do we really believe Britney’s been through all she sings about?
Padded out with kooky skits and glossy muso noodling to an interminable 73 minutes, had half-an-hour of slushy flab been shaved off ‘All For You’, Jackson’s bid for cultural relevance might seem credible (remember, her co-starring role in mirthless fat-fest [I]Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps[/I] was not a [I]cool[/I] move). Still, one’s appreciation of the better tracks is enhanced following exposure to songs as excruciatingly naff as ‘When We Oooo’, ‘China Love’, ‘Love Scene (Ooh Baby)’ and the unforgettable ‘Would You Mind’, the chorus of which has JJ cooing, “I’m gonna kiss you, suck you, taste you, ride you, feel you deep inside me, ooh”. Whatever helps you sell records, sister.
Once Jam and Lewis have finished humiliating their mannequin, however, out come the hits. ‘You Ain’t Right’ and ‘All For You’ are faultless funk affairs, as instant as anything from ‘Rhythm Nation’, ‘Come On Get Up’ marries tribal house to FM pop, while ‘Someone To Call My Lover’ recalls Aaliyah’s ‘Try Again’ in its squelchy simplicity. Even Jackson’s duet with Carly Simon, a digitally remastered interpolation of ‘You’re So Vain’ named ‘Son Of A Gun’, proves a smart choice.
So, mid-life crisis over, another over-produced album of predictable designer funk in the Prada bag. And here come Destiny’s Child to show us how it should be done.