Album Illegal Leak of the Week: Janet Jackson, Discipline
posted by February 21 at 14:00 PMon
First time I listened to Janet’s Discipline, set for release next week, I was distracted enough to think the disc was awesome. The thought crept up on me while I was working on a writing assignment; I wasn’t paying much attention to the music, but 15 minutes into the disc, I realized my head had been bobbing the whole time. So I went back and gave it a harder listen, and the highlights on this thing are surprising. She’s on a robo-pop kick now, evident from the over-vocoded opening single “Feedback,” but even that track’s robophilia is redeemed by its hook (I happen to dig the over-edited enunciation of “fee-DBACK, fee-DBACK”). That bleeds into the crunk-keys slow-jam “LUV,” then turns into “Rollercoaster,” a strange piece of tribal pop whose melody is stripped to leave only multi-tracked vocals and synth percussion. Hey, give the girl credit for picking out a few good producers (Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, her boyfriend Jermaine Dupri…did you know Dupri produced Kris Kross’ debut record? I just figured this out and thought it deserved a two-sentence aside).
When I used the term “robo-pop,” I totally bet you thought about Kanye and Daft Punk’s bro-mance as of late, no? Then you’ll love this—Janet’s “So Much Betta” completely cribs DP’s “Daftendirekt” for its beat. To her credit, she smothers the sample with a bizarre, chipmunk-pitched rap, giving the thing a vocal-percussive quality that actually makes it an album highlight. Still, this shit is getting ridiculous. What’s next? Christina Aguilera releasing a FSOL tribute album? Decks&Drums&HannahMontana?
There are a couple of other decent tracks on Discipline (by-the-books radio single “The 1,” complete with Missy Elliott cameo, and “Rock With U,” not an MJ cover but a Euro-house popster that could’ve been on Madonna’s Music), but that’s about it. She’s not exactly reinventing pop music with the good tracks, and the other 2/3 of the disc is boring, played-out R&B. Seriously, most of it is awful. Terrible. The kinds of jams you’d expect dudes to hump an ottoman to. Worse, I think that Janet’s voice sounds more and more like her brother’s as the years pass by, which is mighty creepy. If you’re asking me to stomach sugary love/lust lyrics, Janet, don’t sound like you’re trying to serve the Jesus Juice.