Released: 23rd April 2001.
Here's the anticipated album that follows the successful release of the debut single, "All For You". It was an uplifting party tune that charmed the charts around the world. Can the album live up to the expectations?
First of all, those who bought "The Velvet Rope" know Miss Jackson's love for totally redundant and annoying 'interludes', as she calls them. You won't be spared them this time round either!
The album takes you on a journey through Janet's post-divorce moods. At first, Janet and the girls go and party, then Janet gets intimate (do we really need to know all the details?) and sometimes you just wish she'd left the bedroom noises where they belong. Afterwards, Janet is upset and you can hear her swear at her ex, Rene Elizondo.
The sad thing about this part of the album is the song "Son Of A Gun" feat. Carly Simon, with lyrics such as "I'm gonna make you suffer/ You stupid mutherfucker", "You're so vain, I betcha think this song is about you". Well girls, if you put it that way... it damn is about him!
There are some highlights on the album though, including the mellow "China Love", the classical-rock-hybrid "Trust A Try". Also worthy of your attention might be the retrospective "Truth" in which, Janet acknowledges some facts in her life: "I had a career before now didn't I/ I had a few hits before now didn't I/ And I had my fans before now didn't I".
The best track is definitely saved for last, "Better Days". Both musically and lyrically in shines through the album. It's a relief to know that after all the disaster, Janet has managed to sort herself out ('Cause I made up my mind/ That today will be the start of better days / Leavin' old shit behind / And move on with my life").
Unfortunately the rest of the tracks don't manage to make themselves heard above the noise, as they are all standard US R&B that you are all used to.
"The Velvet Rope" seemed very mature, but it had this painful aura around it. "All For You" is definitely more positive, even childlish in places. It has its advantages, unfortunately not enough to make me go crazy about it.