Akini's Tribute to Janet Jackson: [#1 Revealed!]

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From which album is my favourite Janet Jackson song lifted?

Janet Jackson
1
7%
Dream Street
2
14%
Control
0
No votes
Rhythm Nation 1814
1
7%
janet.
4
29%
The Velvet Rope
5
36%
All for You
0
No votes
Damita Jo
1
7%
20 Y.O.
0
No votes
Discipline
0
No votes
Unbreakable
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 14

Postby JSparksFan » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:22 am

phoenix98 wrote:Too true :lol: I'll at least consult a Thesaurus to try and find a variety of ways to say "It's tolerable but should've been lower."
I look forward to it. :lol:

Erotica wrote:What about is perfection :D
It's definitely one of her most emotional songs, and I can respect that about it.

phoenix98 wrote:Since it sounds like a formal post about them has been officially canned, might I be able to see a few quick "honorable mentions"? Just curious which stand out for you (if any).
No, I never compiled such a list, but I can say that Rhythm Nation 1814 has my favourite JJ interludes.

phoenix98 wrote:Yeah, I'm pretty sure of that. I'll give "BURNITUP!" a proper revisit (or two) whenever it pops up here, but that "kitty cat meow meow meow meow meow" intro leaves quite the lasting impression. I really love the story of "Take Me Away" - that yearning to escape from it all sometimes (basically, all the same praise that I heaped on Rita's "Anywhere" not too long ago). For me, BIU! just feels like something she's done much better many times before.
Three years ago, I wouldn't have rated "BURNITUP!" high, but I really love its energy.

phoenix98 wrote:• Well..."The Magic Is Working" is adequate, but I would've rather seen it far further down the list ;) Kidding (but not kidding) aside, I hadn't really taken notice of/attached any significance to the male vocals in the chorus, but as you highlighted, they do offer something to strengthen the story of the song (making the magic a mutual affair) and they're an element that helps it stand out from its peers on the album.
Good to hear that you appreciate the contribution of the male vocals. :D

phoenix98 wrote:• "Like You Don't Love Me" is such a sweet and smooth-sounding track for a song whose lyrics basically amount to "you need to get rougher with me ASAP" ;) That disconnect is part of its charm, though (how the production doesn't really at all scream "I'm annoyed and HORNY!") The track has a really fun flow to it, and as you mentioned, the reality of needing to put in some effort/creativity to keep the flame burning in a monogamous situation after many years is all-too-real.
Too true! :lol: It's a fantastic contrast.

phoenix98 wrote:Janet just can't manage to cover domestic violence quite right for you, eh? You break down "What About" so beautifully, but I guess understanding a song and feeling it don't always go hand-in-hand :( Definite Top 50 contender for me.
I feel like this thread may be an inappropriate place to say this, but...Madonna does the topic better.

phoenix98 wrote:• I'm totally on-board with how your review of "Forever Yours" essentially ends on the note of "it's my countdown, and sometimes I just like what I like, so deal with it." Amen!
A+ on the translation, Paul! :lol:

phoenix98 wrote:• I respect "Got 'Til It's Gone" on paper/as a concept (especially the choice to make it the lead single), but I can't say I've ever really gotten into it. In terms of personal satisfaction/replay value over the years, it'd probably be at the bottom of all the singles from TVR (and several album tracks too). It's certainly a significant component of her catalog/career, just not up my alley.
I think it was a poor choice for lead single, but I love the video concept, and can totally see myself growing to appreciate it more with some more years of familiarity with it.
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Postby JSparksFan » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:08 am

095. 2 Nite

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Sensuality served over a disco-pop beat with an R&B flavour, the classic Janet Jackson recipe, "2 Nite" is stuck between mid-tempo groove and unabashed dancefloor territory, and it's that lack of identity that prevents it from being listed under 'scorcher' territory. For what it is - a tame club bop - it's sufficient. 7.5/10
094. Throb

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Were I awarding points for 'environment', "Throb" would get near-perfect marks. The production is so massive here, and I love the moans. Unfortunately, the song has little lyrical content, so it's essentially moans affixed to a house production, which makes for a mixed product with singular soundtracking capabilities. 7.5/10
093. The Knowledge

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A song praising the virtues of education is right up my lyrical alley, but, strangely enough, this track doesn't hit me as hard with its message as it should have due, in great part, to the fact that similar messages can be found on its sister tracks, which execute the theme to far greater effect. 7.5/10
092. When I Think of You

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Teeming with tenderness and innocence, "When I Think of You" would have fit more seamlessly on Dream Street than Control, but I love the joy expressed in the song, punctuated with that lovable laugh of Janet's towards the end. 7.6/10
091. Roll Witchu

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A dual-purpose cut, "Roll Witchu" is as appropriate for dance floor dalliances (Like when the flow is smooth) as it is for bedroom activities (When you do it right, you'll see it on my face). I love the sequence that keeps in tune with the rhythm (Janet counting 1,2,3 in verse one, then 4,5,6 in verse two). 7.6/10
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Postby cheapthrills » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:30 am

Throb and When I Think of You are both fantastic. Disappointed to see the latter ranked so low - I love the call and response part where she sings oooh, and the "you're in love" builds :)
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Postby Erotica » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:39 am

95 and 94 are Two of my favourites from her
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Postby phoenix98 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:45 pm

JSparksFan wrote:I feel like this thread may be an inappropriate place to say this, but...Madonna does the topic better.
:o Turning your own tribute into a stan battleground! Kidding aside, if I absolutely HAD to choose, I'd also go with "Till Death Do Us Part" over "What About" or "Lessons Learned." "What About" is right on its heels, though!

• Ha, too true about "Throb" being mostly moans (though I do love that "boom boom boom, until noon noon noon..." bit). It's obviously (and effectively) a track made for the club, which isn't the type of song that typically gets many at-home/on-the-go/everyday life plays from me.

• It's hard to pinpoint any specific faults in "The Knowledge," but it still gets over-shadowed by most of RN1814. As you've done here, I wouldn't place it at the absolute bottom of that epic album's roster (though it'd certainly be below "Alright" for me), but it's definitely among that LP's least memorable moments.

• For some reason, "When I Think Of You" doesn't charm me as much as it seems like it would/should, being this catchy bubbly poppy lovestruck anthem. It'd probably land inside my Top 50, but somehow following such a seemingly surefire recipe didn't produce as satisfying results as she later does with the likes of "Love Will Never Do (Without You)," "Because Of Love," "Doesn't Really Matter," etc. She really does have a charming laugh, though!

• I'm kind of hoping I can blame JD for relegating "Roll Witchu" to bonus-track-status while every weak uptempo he could muster (somehow) made the standard edition. This would've been perfect for breaking up (or simply replacing some of) that mediocre "Show Me" ---> "This Body" stretch.
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Postby JSparksFan » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:33 am

cheapthrills wrote:Throb and When I Think of You are both fantastic. Disappointed to see the latter ranked so low - I love the call and response part where she sings oooh, and the "you're in love" builds :)
Glad you like them! "Throb" has fantastic elements, but isn't wholistically as impressive as the best janet. tracks, whereas "When I Think of You" is slightly flawed in every department.

Erotica wrote:95 and 94 are Two of my favourites from her
Glad you appreciate "2nite". It's a bit basic on paper, but enjoyable still.

phoenix98 wrote: :o Turning your own tribute into a stan battleground! Kidding aside, if I absolutely HAD to choose, I'd also go with "Till Death Do Us Part" over "What About" or "Lessons Learned." "What About" is right on its heels, though!
Well, the cool thing about doing tributes to the Big 5 (Céline is calendared for next summer) is that you see the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the quintet across the board. For instance, there is a certain emotion that Janet conveys infinitely more convincingly than any of the other four, but I'll get into that at some point...particularly towards the end.

phoenix98 wrote:• Ha, too true about "Throb" being mostly moans (though I do love that "boom boom boom, until noon noon noon..." bit). It's obviously (and effectively) a track made for the club, which isn't the type of song that typically gets many at-home/on-the-go/everyday life plays from me.
Yeah, I need multi-purpose music! :lol:

phoenix98 wrote:• It's hard to pinpoint any specific faults in "The Knowledge," but it still gets over-shadowed by most of RN1814. As you've done here, I wouldn't place it at the absolute bottom of that epic album's roster (though it'd certainly be below "Alright" for me), but it's definitely among that LP's least memorable moments.
Well, it's technically not at the bottom, as "Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)", "Alright", and "Skin Game" have already fallen, but you probably mean the first within the Top 100 to bite the dust. You're right that it doesn't standout, though. When you're sharing CD space with "Rhythm Nation", "Miss You Much", and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)", you gotta bring it!

phoenix98 wrote:• For some reason, "When I Think Of You" doesn't charm me as much as it seems like it would/should, being this catchy bubbly poppy lovestruck anthem. It'd probably land inside my Top 50, but somehow following such a seemingly surefire recipe didn't produce as satisfying results as she later does with the likes of "Love Will Never Do (Without You)," "Because Of Love," "Doesn't Really Matter," etc. She really does have a charming laugh, though!
I share very similar thoughts, minus the Top 50 inclusion! Janet's laugh reflects her spirit, in my opinion.

phoenix98 wrote:• I'm kind of hoping I can blame JD for relegating "Roll Witchu" to bonus-track-status while every weak uptempo he could muster (somehow) made the standard edition. This would've been perfect for breaking up (or simply replacing some of) that mediocre "Show Me" ---> "This Body" stretch.
It's interesting because the whole point of deluxe/bonus tracks is that they should be added treats to an already tasty album, but when the album is a mixed effort, it's like, "Get all the good ones on the standard disc, so I don't have to shell out extra bucks for an LP that's already meh."
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Postby JSparksFan » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:24 am

090. SloLove

Image

A pop/R&B summer-ready groove, equipped with strong dance-funk sensibilities, "SloLove" is a light, comfortable ride, with warm vocals and more infectious laughter. This song suffers slightly due to its overarching similarities to my favourite Damita Jo track, which will be considerably higher up. 7.6/10
089. Night

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A house track with exceptional warmth, Janet pairs breathy vocals in the verses with deeper, more pronounced vocal stylings on the chorus. The vocal and sonic shifts from verses to chorus make for seamless transitions, and an appropriate arc for the intense feelings Janet describes. Lyrically, it's one of many tracks in Janet's discography that would neatly fit under the category of 'My Joy Abounds'. 7.6/10
088. Moist

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I'm fairly confident in my prediction that there won't be a batch in this tribute without a track about sex, and "Moist" is one of Janet's stronger sensual songs. Despite not having a five-octave range or particularly massive voice, Janet's ability to convey emotion with her instrument is stunning. I can feel the excitement as she sings, and I get chills at the end of the first verse, where she muses, A touch is all I need to make me scream obscenities. Her reiteration of the make the rain come down line is a not-so-subtle ode to the title of the track, and sets the stage wonderfully for the chorus. 7.6/10
087. The Best Things in Life Are Free (with Luther Vandross) [feat. Bell Biv DeVoe & Ralph Tresvant]

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A mismatch on paper, Janet Jackson, the dance queen, teams up with Luther Vandross, the duke of R&B and soul balladry, for a song that meets in the middle of their respective realms. With the addition of the hip/hop verse from Raph Tresvant, the song covers all major urban bases. In short, it's a cute romantic jam that doesn't stand out in either of the major parties' discographies, but that doesn't stop it from being enjoyable. 7.6/10
086. Start Anew

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Some relationships warrant a second attempt, and "Start Anew" features Janet lamenting on the joy that would re-enter her life if she lets her ex-lover back in. The pre-chorus starts on a sharp note - perhaps too sharp - but once the I want to fly to you verse gives way to the Let your angel, baby, bring you a dream chorus, Janet's back in her sweet spot and owns the rest of the performance. 7.6/10
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Postby phoenix98 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:05 pm

JSparksFan wrote:
phoenix98 wrote:• It's hard to pinpoint any specific faults in "The Knowledge," but it still gets over-shadowed by most of RN1814. As you've done here, I wouldn't place it at the absolute bottom of that epic album's roster (though it'd certainly be below "Alright" for me), but it's definitely among that LP's least memorable moments.
Well, it's technically not at the bottom, as "Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)", "Alright", and "Skin Game" have already fallen, but you probably mean the first within the Top 100 to bite the dust. You're right that it doesn't standout, though. When you're sharing CD space with "Rhythm Nation", "Miss You Much", and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)", you gotta bring it!
Whoops, sorry! My wording there made no sense :lol: I meant to convey how I agree with your choice to place it toward the bottom of that album's roster, but not quite dead last. I was definitely fine with seeing "Livin' In A World..." even lower. ;)

• Ooh...I'm really distracted by that tease at the end of your "SloLove" synopsis! Lately, it seems like "Spending Time With You" has become your Damita Jo fave, but I never would've thought to connect those two tracks before. "SloLove" feels much more upbeat to me, with that dance-y (almost modern-disco-y) production, but I guess they do have a similar overall message/theme. I could also be totally off about "Spending," and just biased/blinded by its recent strong showing on your daily charts. HmMmMmMm...

• I've always wondered if "Night" isn't called "Tonight" just to avoid any confusion with the Discipline track. Not that artists can't have two songs with the exact same title, but I don't think she ever says just "night" throughout this entire song? That tangent aside, "Night" definitely gave me some hesitation when I was labelling "Take Me Away" Unbreakable's best uptempo earlier. It's a pretty close race between those two.

• It wasn't until years after first purchasing Damita Jo that I finally started noticing and appreciating "Moist." I don't think it helped that it's stuck between two of that album's most forgettable/regrettable songs, so I probably just skipped ahead to "SloLove" often. Both the pre-chorus and chorus are pretty catchy, and there's quite a few lines that make me smirk: "hope you like drownin' in it, you don't have a life jacket..."

• On one hand, I feel like "The Best Things..." deserves better, but I also have this (not entirely rational) bias toward an artist's own tracks as the lead act when it comes to tributes/countdowns. Not that a singer can't make a noteworthy contribution as a featured guest/co-lead/whatever, but it'd just feel so...off...to see something like "I Know What You Want" inside a Mariah Top 10, "Higher" in a Kylie Top 20, or "We Are Young" atop a Janelle tribute. Claiming that the best thing an artist has ever done is appear on another act's song feels like disrespect to their whole unique catalog. I'm not saying there can only be completely-solo tracks, but the honored artist should comprise the bulk of the runtime of the highest-ranking entries. I apologize in advance if "Scream" turns out to be No. 1 here :oops: This one's a slightly tricky case, since it's an "&," and Janet does open the track all by herself. It's also never been on a studio album of hers or Luther's (only hits collections and that soundtrack), so the "ownership" feels pretty truly shared. A part of me reacts with "Yes! Banish the '&'s and 'with's and 'featuring's toward the bottom so her own material can shine!", while another part is like "But it's such a feel-good bop!" Long story short: mixed feelings about it landing at No. 87. :lol:

• I assume this must've played a pivotal role in helping "Start Anew" to place this high? ;) I've actually never checked this one out before (looks like it was a stand-alone Japanese single, then tacked onto the first pressings of Control there?) It's cute on first listen. It probably would've been one of my favorite Dream Street moments, but seems pretty out-of-place (and among the weakest) on Control.
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Postby JSparksFan » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:50 am

phoenix98 wrote:Whoops, sorry! My wording there made no sense :lol: I meant to convey how I agree with your choice to place it toward the bottom of that album's roster, but not quite dead last. I was definitely fine with seeing "Livin' In A World..." even lower. ;)
Ah, coolio!

phoenix98 wrote:• Ooh...I'm really distracted by that tease at the end of your "SloLove" synopsis! Lately, it seems like "Spending Time With You" has become your Damita Jo fave, but I never would've thought to connect those two tracks before. "SloLove" feels much more upbeat to me, with that dance-y (almost modern-disco-y) production, but I guess they do have a similar overall message/theme. I could also be totally off about "Spending," and just biased/blinded by its recent strong showing on your daily charts. HmMmMmMm...
We'll see! :lol:

phoenix98 wrote:• I've always wondered if "Night" isn't called "Tonight" just to avoid any confusion with the Discipline track. Not that artists can't have two songs with the exact same title, but I don't think she ever says just "night" throughout this entire song? That tangent aside, "Night" definitely gave me some hesitation when I was labelling "Take Me Away" Unbreakable's best uptempo earlier. It's a pretty close race between those two.
To which Discipline track are you referring? Do you mean the title track, or The Velvet Rope's "Tonight's the Night"?

She doesn't, but I agree that the song is a solid uptempo. There are so many tracks ranked in these lower regions that I could see growing on me over time, and "Night" is one of them.

phoenix98 wrote:• It wasn't until years after first purchasing Damita Jo that I finally started noticing and appreciating "Moist." I don't think it helped that it's stuck between two of that album's most forgettable/regrettable songs, so I probably just skipped ahead to "SloLove" often. Both the pre-chorus and chorus are pretty catchy, and there's quite a few lines that make me smirk: "hope you like drownin' in it, you don't have a life jacket..."
My sister made a comment last night about Janet's music not being that sexual, and I was like, "Girl, she literally has two songs titled 'Moist' and 'Throb'. Ms. Jackson ain't shy about bedroom activities." :lol:

phoenix98 wrote:• On one hand, I feel like "The Best Things..." deserves better, but I also have this (not entirely rational) bias toward an artist's own tracks as the lead act when it comes to tributes/countdowns. Not that a singer can't make a noteworthy contribution as a featured guest/co-lead/whatever, but it'd just feel so...off...to see something like "I Know What You Want" inside a Mariah Top 10, "Higher" in a Kylie Top 20, or "We Are Young" atop a Janelle tribute. Claiming that the best thing an artist has ever done is appear on another act's song feels like disrespect to their whole unique catalog. I'm not saying there can only be completely-solo tracks, but the honored artist should comprise the bulk of the runtime of the highest-ranking entries. I apologize in advance if "Scream" turns out to be No. 1 here :oops: This one's a slightly tricky case, since it's an "&," and Janet does open the track all by herself. It's also never been on a studio album of hers or Luther's (only hits collections and that soundtrack), so the "ownership" feels pretty truly shared. A part of me reacts with "Yes! Banish the '&'s and 'with's and 'featuring's toward the bottom so her own material can shine!", while another part is like "But it's such a feel-good bop!" Long story short: mixed feelings about it landing at No. 87. :lol:
"Scream" will not be #1 here; I can definitely confirm that! :lol:

I totally get what you're saying, though, which is why I made it a point to only include songs where Janet was at least the co-lead act on a collab. The interesting thing about Janet's discography, though, is that she can command a banger by herself. Most of her collabs aren't even close to her best solo material, but there is one collab that is. :wink:

phoenix98 wrote:• I assume this must've played a pivotal role in helping "Start Anew" to place this high? ;) I've actually never checked this one out before (looks like it was a stand-alone Japanese single, then tacked onto the first pressings of Control there?) It's cute on first listen. It probably would've been one of my favorite Dream Street moments, but seems pretty out-of-place (and among the weakest) on Control.
I wasn't sure whether to class it as a Dream Street track, or a Control one, but since it was technically on the latter LP, I went with Control even though it does 'sound' more Dream Street.
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Postby JSparksFan » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:41 am

085. Empty

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A song about a connection made over the Internet, "Empty" is even more relevant in 2018 than it was in 1997, as there's been a proliferation of online-rooted relationships thanks to the social media boom and the assortment of dating apps available worldwide. Though I'd say the whole song is fairly relevant to me, the second verse is particularly so: Is this a new way to love? Never face to face, is it enough? Does it really count, or am I a fool? So tell me, please, am I wasting my time? My stance on online relationships is that some of the most meaningful friendships and romances can blossom from them, but I think physical contact is essential to confirm that the connection is something transferable from those little textboxes to face-to-face meet-ups, where the more tangible magic can ensue. 7.6/10
084. Can't B Good

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According to Janet herself, "Can't B Good" is about a girl letting her guard down after disciplining herself to keep her walls tall after her previous break-up, but the constant flow of affection and the genuine love expressed by her new suitor tears those walls down. I love how Janet is trying to convince herself to abandon ship here, as most people can relate to how past relationships can lead to self-sabotaging good ones out of a fear that they're too good to be true, and will inevitably end as disastrously as the previous ones did. Beyond the doubt, there's an overriding hope that the protagonist is wrong and maybe it can be good. 7.7/10
083. The Body That Loves You

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This Latin-scented, jazz-spritzed janet. cut is said to have been inspired by acts like Astrud and João Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, and Maria Bethânia that Janet grew up listening to. I love how romantic and sensual this track is, and that's not an easy balance to strike, but Janet does it better than anyone else. The sleek production on that last line is heavenly. 7.7/10
082. Someday Is Tonight

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The sequel to "Let's Wait Awhile", where Janet reiterated the importance of waiting until you're ready to have sexual relations, "Someday Is Tonight" is basically six minutes of Janet saying that the time has arrived, three years later (good things come to those who wait, I suppose). Won't hold back/don't hold back shows that the angst has reached an intolerable height, and that magical horn solo, followed by what sounds to be the finishing stages of Janet's climax is some pretty intense stuff! I have a history of not being kind to lengthy songs, but Janet fills this song with some solid lyrics and epic instrumentation, so there's never any empty space for wandering. 7.8/10
081. My Baby (feat. Kanye West)

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The protagonist on "My Baby" seems to be in a relationship with a guy with a bad reputation, but she sees a side to him that his naysayers can't see, and the way the protagonist feels is more important than the malice spread by irrelevant folks. I have to admit that although I love the lightness of the track courtesy of Janet, it's Kanye who is the highlight of the song for me. What can I say? You gotta love Kanye West at his pre-MAGA Kanye best. 7.8/10
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Postby Erotica » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:32 am

None of my favourites in the last two batches
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Postby phoenix98 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:00 pm

JSparksFan wrote:To which Discipline track are you referring? Do you mean the title track, or The Velvet Rope's "Tonight's the Night"?
I was thinking of "2nite" (which is technically spelled differently, but the titles would sound identical out loud if she'd called the Unbreakable track "Tonight," since that’s the word she actually uses throughout that one). Ha, good point about "Tonight's The Night" - she'd already done a track combining both options too! :lol:

JSparksFan wrote:My sister made a comment last night about Janet's music not being that sexual, and I was like, "Girl, she literally has two songs titled 'Moist' and 'Throb'. Ms. Jackson ain't shy about bedroom activities." :lol:
:lol: Although an indisputably inaccurate assessment on your sister's part, her reaction is a nice real-world reminder of how Janet's remembered/recognized for SO much more than just being a sex jam songstress (despite producing such an ample bounty of them over the years).

JSparksFan wrote:I wasn't sure whether to class it as a Dream Street track, or a Control one, but since it was technically on the latter LP, I went with Control even though it does 'sound' more Dream Street.
Yeah, and while it spiritually "belongs" on DS, I appreciate your choice to honor how things actually played out.

• Ah, "Empty." AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was all-the-rage when I was in junior high and high school. As a burgeoning gay youth unable to access bars/clubs (and in a pre-Grindr world), chat rooms were pretty much my only option for connecting with other members of our community (beyond the less-than-a-handful at my school), so this track spoke to me loud. and. CLEAR! Like you said, so much of it applies in today's explosive social media era, but there's something especially late-90's/early-00's about lines like "damn, disconnected."

• "Can't B Good" mostly sticks out to me for being such a "WTF?" single choice. It certainly switched up the tempo after the first three Discipline offerings, but it felt like a total final-nail-in-the-coffin/throwing in the towel moment after "Rock With U" and "LUV" had already lost much of the momentum generated by "Feedback."

• "The Body That Loves You" has always struck me as sexy elevator music. It has a sound unlike any of her other sensual songs, but that somehow makes it stand out and fairly forgettable at the same time. The production has a more calming than titillating effect, which is both enjoyable and...unremarkable. I like it, but it's also easily over-shadowed.

• I'm scratching my head at the notion of Kanye being the highlight of "My Baby," but this (alleged) strength of his contributions sounds like further evidence for this track's (untapped) single potential (in the sense that his parts might speak strongly to some listeners, while others, like myself, would be drawn in by Janet's bits). His lines about being a cheating addict are pretty clever. The way she sings "bAaAaAaby, these butterflies..." in the pre-chorus = <3 <3 <3 (Well, and during the actual chorus too...)
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Postby JSparksFan » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:27 pm

Erotica wrote:None of my favourites in the last two batches
Aw. :( I have a feeling you won't like any of the songs in this next set either. :(

phoenix98 wrote:I was thinking of "2nite" (which is technically spelled differently, but the titles would sound identical out loud if she'd called the Unbreakable track "Tonight," since that’s the word she actually uses throughout that one). Ha, good point about "Tonight's The Night" - she'd already done a track combining both options too! :lol:
You had me frightened for a sec, thinking I'd missed a track! :lol:

phoenix98 wrote: :lol: Although an indisputably inaccurate assessment on your sister's part, her reaction is a nice real-world reminder of how Janet's remembered/recognized for SO much more than just being a sex jam songstress (despite producing such an ample bounty of them over the years).
I think a fair few folk remember her as much for her music as they do for her acting.

phoenix98 wrote:Yeah, and while it spiritually "belongs" on DS, I appreciate your choice to honor how things actually played out.
Yeah, I was tempted to go with its 'spiritual' parent, but I figured if Janet and her team physically placed it on an album, I might as well go with their decision.

phoenix98 wrote:• Ah, "Empty." AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was all-the-rage when I was in junior high and high school. As a burgeoning gay youth unable to access bars/clubs (and in a pre-Grindr world), chat rooms were pretty much my only option for connecting with other members of our community (beyond the less-than-a-handful at my school), so this track spoke to me loud. and. CLEAR! Like you said, so much of it applies in today's explosive social media era, but there's something especially late-90's/early-00's about lines like "damn, disconnected." [
Have you been on a Skype call recently, 'cause I can assure you that's an ever-present struggle in 2018 as well! :lol:

phoenix98 wrote:• "Can't B Good" mostly sticks out to me for being such a "WTF?" single choice. It certainly switched up the tempo after the first three Discipline offerings, but it felt like a total final-nail-in-the-coffin/throwing in the towel moment after "Rock With U" and "LUV" had already lost much of the momentum generated by "Feedback."
There were definitely better single options (I'd even have gone with the title track over "Can't B Good") but I think "Can't B Good" would've fared well were Janet in better standing with the general public at that time.

phoenix98 wrote:• "The Body That Loves You" has always struck me as sexy elevator music. It has a sound unlike any of her other sensual songs, but that somehow makes it stand out and fairly forgettable at the same time. The production has a more calming than titillating effect, which is both enjoyable and...unremarkable. I like it, but it's also easily over-shadowed.
Fair points! I love the descriptor "sexy elevator music"!

phoenix98 wrote:• I'm scratching my head at the notion of Kanye being the highlight of "My Baby," but this (alleged) strength of his contributions sounds like further evidence for this track's (untapped) single potential (in the sense that his parts might speak strongly to some listeners, while others, like myself, would be drawn in by Janet's bits). His lines about being a cheating addict are pretty clever. The way she sings "bAaAaAaby, these butterflies..." in the pre-chorus = <3 <3 <3 (Well, and during the actual chorus too...)
Kanye brings a lot of energy to the track. I feel like Janet's parts are so chill that it's a welcome change of pace when he steps in, foreshadows his future a bit (I have porno stars and spouses), and delivers that cheating addict line you highlighted. "My Baby" isn't even the biggest offender as far as Damita Jo non-selections for singles go, though.
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Postby JSparksFan » Tue May 01, 2018 12:17 am

080. Say You Do

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The first track on Janet's first album, "Say You Do", clocking in at just under seven minutes, features Janet asking her lover to express his true feelings for her because even at the tender age of 16, Ms. Jackson had no time for unrequited love. There's a running string arrangement that builds quite delectably in the short span of five seconds that I really like (just after the chorus). Tracks that have more instrumental than vocal runtime have a high rate of disastrous implosions, but this one manages to sidestep that with a truly engaging production that's quite of-its-era, yes, but still charming, and it's aged well, I'd say. 7.8/10
079. You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine)

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Cue the breezy chorus and lyrics narrating the folly of young love, and you've got the formula applied on Janet's first two LPs, but this one's chorus really does draw me in. It may be the female backing vocals that give this track a very Supremes-ish vibe, and Janet delights in her portrayal of a young Diana Ross. 7.8/10
078. All My Love to You

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Disco-driven with the standard trope of a chorus that is nearly identical, lyrically, to its sister Dream Street and predecessor Janet Jackson tracks, the verses are the big selling point of "All My Love to You". They feature a more confident, assertive, rapid-fire-in-parts delivery from Janet, which would be a style she would perfect later on in her career. 7.8/10
077. Young Love

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"Young Love" marked the genesis of Janet Jackson's solo career in the music industry. With the popular "Ring Around the Rosie" nursery rhyme cleverly incorporated in the song's chorus, "Young Love" screams youth. It's charming, though, and an inoffensive introduction to a superstar. It's the highest ranking Janet Jackson track, which becomes the first album in the countdown to have all its songs fall. 7.8/10
076. Island Life

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"Island Life" is one of those rare tracks where the verses are superior to the chorus. It's also a track where Janet showcases the under-heralded greatness of her upper register. Like most of my Damita Jo favourites, "Island Life" is a smooth ride from start to finish. I especially love the sound of waves gently rushing ashore at the end. 7.8/10
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Postby Erotica » Tue May 01, 2018 8:21 am

Island Life is sweet
I am not trying to seduce you... Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?
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Postby phoenix98 » Tue May 01, 2018 7:30 pm

JSparksFan wrote:Have you been on a Skype call recently, 'cause I can assure you that's an ever-present struggle in 2018 as well! :lol:
:lol: Touché!

JSparksFan wrote:Kanye brings a lot of energy to the track. I feel like Janet's parts are so chill that it's a welcome change of pace when he steps in, foreshadows his future a bit (I have porno stars and spouses), and delivers that cheating addict line you highlighted. "My Baby" isn't even the biggest offender as far as Damita Jo non-selections for singles go, though.
:o Clairvoyant Kanye!

It's probably not too shocking that I'm not shedding too many tears over several JJ and DS tracks finally getting shown the door. Admittedly, as much as I'd like to think of myself as someone who can rise above bias/preconceived notions, these albums' reputation of being shunned by fans (and even Janet herself, as far as her hits collections are concerned) had been planted in my head for many years before I finally got around to actually hearing them. I appreciate and admire how that doesn't seem to have hampered your assessments as much (if at all) - especially now that we're getting write-ups for each track, since you're highlighting some qualities that are easily overlooked/dismissed when one goes into these albums with the impression that they're essentially just under-performing, out-of-print Joe Jackson Presents: My Youngest Daughter LPs. Basically: it's a struggle for me to see their material for their own merits, removed from any context/comparisons to her eventual career.

• "Say You Do" is cute, with a bit of funky fun to it. You're being quite kind about its runtime, since I think it starts pushing its luck with that instrumental break around the 4:00 mark, then really loses me when it devolves into just a handful of repeated/distorted words for the final minute or so. :oops:

• "You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine)" probably would've made a better single choice than the above (without requiring any editing for radio either) ;) The Supremes had never crossed my mind before, but it's not a crazy comparison for the (catchy) chorus.

• "Young Love" falls right into the same cute, catchy (but instantly forgotten as soon as I start bopping to the likes of "The Pleasure Principle," "Miss You Much," "If," etc.) basket. It's perfectly pleasant, but just so... **shrug**

• It warms my heart to see "Island Life" called one of your DJ faves <3 I'm on a different wavelength when it comes to the chorus, though, since that's a big part of what sells me on the song. It kind of flows just like you're riding the waves that she's describing. Granted, that pre-chorus is pretty blissful too: "'cause everything he's spinning is one for meEeEeE..." This track really does take you on a lovely little 4-minute tropical vacation.
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Postby JSparksFan » Wed May 02, 2018 1:42 am

Erotica wrote:Island Life is sweet
Ah, happy that that one saved the batch! "Island Life" is definitely solid.

phoenix98 wrote:Not too shockingly, I'm not shedding too many tears over several JJ and DS tracks finally getting shown the door. Admittedly, as much as I'd like to think of myself as someone who can rise above bias/preconceived notions, these albums' reputation of being shunned by fans (and even Janet herself, as far as her hits collections are concerned) had been planted in my head for many years before I finally got around to actually hearing them. I appreciate and admire how that doesn't seem to have hampered your assessments as much (if at all) - especially now that we're getting write-ups for each track, since you're highlighting the qualities that are easily overlooked/dismissed when you go into these albums with the impression that they're essentially just under-performing, out-of-print Joe Jackson Presents: My Youngest Daughter LPs. Basically: it's a struggle for me to see their material for their own merits, removed from any context/comparisons to her eventual career.
As a huge Rihanna fan, who appreciates her first two LPs, it was a familiar experience going into Janet's first two albums with an open mind because I know what it's like for a quality artist's first few efforts to be classed as 'mixtapes'. Some of Rihanna's career-best songs are on her first two records ("Music of the Sun", "Final Goodbye", and, of course, "Pon de Replay" and "SOS"), and, similarly, there's a monster on Janet's second album that is criminal to overlook.

phoenix98 wrote:• "Say You Do" is cute, with a bit of funky fun to it. You're being quite kind about its runtime, since I think it starts pushing its luck with that instrumental break around the 4:00 mark, then really loses me when it devolves into just a handful of repeated/distorted words for the final minute or so. :oops:
Yeah, when I glanced at its runtime on that initial spin, I really thought I might've gotten bored of it at some point, but boredom didn't come!

phoenix98 wrote:• "You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine)" probably would've made a better single choice than the above (without requiring any editing for radio either) ;) The Supremes had never crossed my mind before, but it's not a crazy comparison for the (catchy) chorus.
Yeah, I can understand why the first two eras had messy single releases, but "You'll Never Find..." felt like a clear choice to me, too.

phoenix98 wrote:• "Young Love" falls right into the same cute, catchy (but instantly forgotten as soon as I start bopping to the likes of "The Pleasure Principle," "Miss You Much," "If," etc.) basket. It's perfectly pleasant, but just so... **shrug**
Funny that you highlight those three songs, as one of them is falling in the next batch! :wink:

phoenix98 wrote:• It warms my heart to see "Island Life" called one of your DJ faves <3 I'm on a different wavelength when it comes to the chorus, though, since that's a big part of what sells me on the song. It kind of flows just like you're riding the waves that she's describing. Granted, that pre-chorus is pretty blissful too: "'cause everything he's spinning is one for meEeEeE..." This track really does take you on a lovely little 4-minute tropical vacation.
I feel like I'm going to end up saying this a few more times, but...there's another song on Damita Jo that does what several of its sister tracks does, just considerably better!
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Postby JSparksFan » Wed May 02, 2018 2:37 am

075. 70s Love Groove

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"70s Love Groove" fits neatly within Janet's 'Bedroom Romping Soundtrack' playlist. Most of the song is stuck in a singular groove, the chill frequency, but there are timely injections of sensual sighs and breathy moans from Janet, and the song culminates in a spirited expression of a climax from Ms. Jackson. 7.8/10
074. Shoulda Known Better

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26 years post-Rhythm Nation 1814, "Shoulda Known Better" references the intense passion for social reform and justice that Janet expressed in the late 80s; however, those same issues - racism, sexism, widespread poverty, and substance abuse - that pervaded that era, which Janet denounced, still exist almost three decades later. On "Shoulda Known Better", there's a sober realism with which Janet seems to view change, and the bitter dose of reality is that it takes generations sometimes to see significant change in problems that took generations to build. I love that this has such a strong dance production, as it really helps to lift the mood on a realisation that may appear, on the surface, to be depressing, when it's really just a caution to be patient and stay steadfast in one's fight for, and commitment to, enacting tangible change. 7.8/10
073. Gon' B Alright

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The overriding theme in Janet's music is positivity, and "Gon' B Alright" ends the standard edition of Unbreakable on an uplifting note. Janet reassures those struggling with ailing love lives and other challenges that get us down in the dumps that everything's gon' b alright, and in my short time on this planet, I'm inclined to believe Ms. Jackson's message. We've survived 100% of our worst days, and sometimes we just need a little reminder that better days are ahead. The production on this is terrific, and a fun fact I learned recently is that Janet is responsible for all the vocals on this track, even the super deep ones! 7.8/10
072. The Pleasure Principle

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I want to like this song more than I do, if only so my love for the track can be commensurate with my love for its incredible video; however, there's a coldness to Janet's typically warm, lush vocals that gives this track a more robotic tinge than I feel a song about pleasure should have. 7.8/10
071. China Love

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I love the eclectic elements embedded in this song's melody, which I've read are borrowed from Yoko Shimomura's "Moonlight". There's an intriguing bell-chimes-like sound throughout the track that gives the song a regal flair. "China Love" could just as easily fit on Damita Jo, with its chill vibe. 7.9/10
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Postby biscuits » Wed May 02, 2018 3:17 am

I have over 100 songs to comment on
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Postby cheapthrills » Wed May 02, 2018 3:22 am

biscuits wrote:I have over 100 songs to comment on
Waiting :lol:
Vote for songs in the Summertime Madness Tournamentr!
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Postby phoenix98 » Wed May 02, 2018 4:30 pm

JSparksFan wrote:Funny that you highlight those three songs, as one of them is falling in the next batch! :wink:
I totally jinxed it :cry: I originally had "What Have You Done For Me Lately" there, then specifically came back to switch it to "The Pleasure Principle" because I like the latter a lot more.

• I know we already risked treading on thin ice by connecting these two acts once before, but "70's Love Groove" brings to mind a certain-other-legend's "S.E.X." in that both tracks feature the leading ladies just...listing things for a while. Instead of really setting the mood, it feels like they're reading a shopping list. I'm OK with this offering getting relegated to B-side status.

• We've talked about Janet's lyrical relevance spanning decades before, but "Shoulda Known Better" hits ESPECIALLY hard after 2016. To fight for so long just to achieve a few steps of progress, and feel like things are finally moving in the right direction...only to be abruptly yanked back a step or two by an equally-dedicated opposing force. I really admire her choice to craft a track around reflecting on her own youthful optimism (and even a bit of naïvety, in retrospect) that defined one of her most successful eras. As you mentioned, the production in the chorus really conveys how, despite foiled previous efforts, it's crucial to keep that fighting spirit alive. Catchy, introspective, and inspirational - this is easily Unbreakable's crowning glory for me.

• **Sigh** Well...you're certainly living up to the first line of "The Pleasure Principle" :cry: :cry: :cry: This hurts even harder than "Alright." Funnily enough, also like "Alright," this is another single that's generally better-remembered for its video than the song itself. I guess I can kiiiiiind of hear the coldness/robotic tone to which you referred, but it's definitely not something I'd ever felt during my many years of boppin' to this jam. There's certainly some emotion behind that "after all the love that we've been through..." toward the end. That whole outro is really solid. I can see how the fairly simple/repetitive chorus might work against this song for some, but there's other really great lines throughout: "I'm not here to feed your insecurities, I wanted you to love me..." I picked up a copy of the vinyl single at a used record store years back to decorate the wall in my first college dorm room.

• I don't have any particularly strong feelings one way or the other about "China Love" (still too busy sobbing over TPP to feel much else anyway) :cry: Your remark about it meshing well with much of DJ is something that had never crossed my mind, but it makes a lot of sense! It really would slip right into that album quite comfortably.
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Postby BlueScorpion » Wed May 02, 2018 11:47 pm

"Quality Filler" is what best defines China Love for me. :lol:
Hot like the real fever (the real Diva)
So successful yet still so eager
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Postby JSparksFan » Fri May 04, 2018 8:36 pm

biscuits wrote:I have over 100 songs to comment on
104, to be exact (109 after this next update). :lol:

phoenix98 wrote:I totally jinxed it :cry: I originally had "What Have You Done For Me Lately" there, then specifically came back to switch it to "The Pleasure Principle" because I like the latter a lot more.
Wow, this is a big enough offence to warrant an avi change! What have I done? :cry:

phoenix98 wrote:• I know we already risked treading on thin ice by connecting these two acts once before, but "70's Love Groove" brings to mind a certain-other-legend's "S.E.X." in that both tracks feature the leading ladies just...listing things for a while. Instead of really setting the mood, it feels like they're reading a shopping list. I'm OK with this offering getting relegated to B-side status.
Wow, that's an interesting point! :lol: I totally see where you're coming from, but I would argue that with "70s Love Groove" the melody does a great job of setting the mood (as do the sighs and moans).

phoenix98 wrote:• We've talked about Janet's lyrical relevance spanning decades before, but "Shoulda Known Better" hits ESPECIALLY hard after 2016. To fight for so long just to achieve a few steps of progress, and feel like things are finally moving in the right direction...only to be abruptly yanked back a step or two by an equally-dedicated opposing force. I really admire her choice to craft a track around reflecting on her own youthful optimism (and even a bit of naïvety, in retrospect) that defined one of her most successful eras. As you mentioned, the production in the chorus really conveys how, despite foiled previous efforts, it's crucial to keep that fighting spirit alive. Catchy, introspective, and inspirational - this is easily Unbreakable's crowning glory for me.
Although it's not my Unbreakable fave (there are five tracks from that LP ranked higher), "Shoulda Known Better" is a great pick! I totally agree about keeping the fighting spirit alive, and I'm pleased that so many other acts are releasing music that are encouraging others to not let the overwhelming waves of hatred, exclusion, and corruption numb them, as inaction is too dangerous an option.

phoenix98 wrote:• **Sigh** Well...you're certainly living up to the first line of "The Pleasure Principle" :cry: :cry: :cry: This hurts even harder than "Alright." Funnily enough, also like "Alright," this is another single that's generally better-remembered for its video than the song itself. I guess I can kiiiiiind of hear the coldness/robotic tone to which you referred, but it's definitely not something I'd ever felt during my many years of boppin' to this jam. There's certainly some emotion behind that "after all the love that we've been through..." toward the end. That whole outro is really solid. I can see how the fairly simple/repetitive chorus might work against this song for some, but there's other really great lines throughout: "I'm not here to feed your insecurities, I wanted you to love me..." I picked up a copy of the vinyl single at a used record store years back to decorate the wall in my first college dorm room.
I can't relate to the song, so maybe that's why I'm not too crazy about the lyrics, even if the song is decently penned. So with fairly unrelatable lyrics, cold vocals, and a decent melody, that summed to a middle-of-the-pack finish for the song. And, to be frank, I do wonder if, subconsciously, I threw some extra points its way for its video, 'cause I really do love the video.

phoenix98 wrote:• I don't have any particularly strong feelings one way or the other about "China Love" (still too busy sobbing over TPP to feel much else anyway) :cry: Your remark about it meshing well with much of DJ is something that had never crossed my mind, but it makes a lot of sense! It really would slip right into that album quite comfortably.
I know biscuits will probably have a lot more to say about "China Love", as it's one of his top favourites from her, if that 2012 countdown of his has held up for the six years between then and now, but glad to know it isn't a huge loss in your view.

BlueScorpion wrote:"Quality Filler" is what best defines China Love for me. :lol:
Aw, I think it's a bit better than that. :lol:
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Postby JSparksFan » Fri May 04, 2018 9:21 pm

070. What'll I Do

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A cover of the Johnny Dae 60s recording "What'll I Do for Satisfaction", Janet tackles this rock song with some of her most impressive janet. vocals, with gorgeous ad-libs inserted in the middle. By the time this song passes through the Janet and co. processing team, it's a quaint blend of R&B, rock, and soul. 7.9/10
069. When We Oooo

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Janet's not one to mince words when it comes to sex, so the fact that she employs oooo as a euphemism adds a layer of mystery that makes the subject matter even more enticing. The song is punctuated by more gentle waves, which makes me think that she really ought to string all the individual wave audios into a single beach-themed instrumental that her fans could use for therapeutic purposes (sleeping, studying, unwinding, perhaps even soundtracking their own oooo adventures). 7.9/10
068. Luv

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One of the best produced tracks on its parent album, "Luv" is a dance song tailor-made for the clubs circa 2008, with its 1-2 bounce/handclap-led melody. Even though the track is very Darkchild, the playfulness and charm of the lyrics ensure that Janet's spirit is well-felt. 7.9/10
067. Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)

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This is a weird song because the French-spoken intro and outro are great, the hook and bridge are quintessential light and breezy Janet moments, but the verses are almost lifeless in comparison, and the shift in melody between the chorus and verses is slightly jarring. Very little thought seems to have gone into the verses, which dilute a potential nine-scorer to solid-eight territory. With some reworking of the verses, this song would have been a big Control stand-out. The song, released as an airplay-only single in the US, does seem to have had some 21st century legs, though, as fairly relevant R&B acts like Tinashe and SWV have sampled the track in recent years. 8/10
066. Thinkin' Bout My Ex

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Essentially a letter of apology to a rebound guy who forgot he was a rebound guy, "Thinkin Bout My Ex" is a hugely relatable track about how feelings from major relationships tend to linger and affect subsequent unions, no matter how NSA those arrangements might be (or might have started out). It's more mellow magic from Damita Jo. This one was a tough one to rank, as I enjoy it more every time I play it; it was originally slated to be out of the Top 100, but kept getting bumped up. I think that has a lot to do with how seamlessly the song flows; there are ebbs and flows to the beat that are perfectly placed, so, despite the song not being particularly exceptional in any singular department, it just works to good effect lyrically, melodically, and vocally. Maybe by 2019, this will be among my Top 40 J. Jackson tracks. 8/10
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Postby phoenix98 » Sat May 05, 2018 7:30 pm

• "What'll I Do" is fun, and certainly interesting territory for her to explore genre/sound-wise. Rock-y/folk-y/soul-y...even a teensy bit country? Now that I think about it, was this the first cover to appear on any of her albums?

• For a long time, I pretty much just lumped together all the "sex-jams-that-aren't-'Would You Mind'" on All For You (especially since they all come back-to-back-to-back on the album), but "When We Oooo" really stands on its own two feet (or whatever position Janet prefers). It's more of a highlight than I managed to recognize for too long. Granted, that album does feature some pretty stiff competition when it comes to highlights.

• ...unlike Discipline, where "Luv" easily ranks among an elite few for me (it's tailgating "Feedback" in terms of standout status). "Rock With U" felt like a risky single choice because of the song itself, but this one's chart failure I place squarely on the blacklist (well, and its lack of video, which is a real shame). You're totally right about Darkchild's palpable presence, but those two have pretty quality chemistry sometimes (between this, "Feedback," "Make Me"...)

• I remember being pretty shocked to learn that "Funny How Time Flies" had been released as a proper single overseas. Much like its actual place on the tracklist, it's always fallen toward the bottom of Control for me, and really doesn't strike me as radio-friendly at all (though it seems to have found a place on certain formats). It's a bit like Kylie's "Music's Too Sad Without You" in the sense that it seems to really connect with other listeners, while I'm just left feeling...drowsy, and distracted. I didn't realize it's been sampled that much in recent years! The ending gets mighty steamy, especially considering this track immediately follows abstinence-anthem "Let's Wait A While." :oops:

• I would've been OK with "Thinkin' 'Bout My Ex"s original ranking :lol: That does give me hope that "Alright" and/or "The Pleasure Principle" could be in much better standing with you in just a year or two, though! It might be that "listing effect" striking again for me (when she just keeps naming places where she's been thinking about her ex instead of the new guy). Speaking of, some of this song is pretty cold on Janet's part...like, damn, I think the new guy gets the message now: you were thinking about your former flame EVERYWHERE. You don't need to mention every. single. instance. :cry: Just keeps twisting that knife in his heart...
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