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Everything posted by SonofBaldwin
SonofBaldwin added a post in a topic Janet is included on Spin magazine's top 50 albums of the year
SonofBaldwin added a topic in All About JanetBlack Eagle Appreciation ThreadYo.
Besides being a slick-ass groove, Janet got REAL political on this song.
References to the Black Lives Matter movement, and to "room number four": http://www.roomno4.org/en/about/.
This song is even more politically daring than "Rhythm Nation" and "State of the World."
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SonofBaldwin added a topic in All About JanetNewsday: 'Unbreakable' review: Two assured sides of Janet Jackson; Grade: A!'Unbreakable' review: Two assured sides of Janet Jackson
September 30, 2015 4:09 PM
By GLENN GAMBOA firstname.lastname@example.org
0 + - REVIEW
She really is, you know.
Janet Jackson suffered the steepest of career turnarounds following her Super Bowl halftime show wardrobe malfunction in 2004, practically becoming a pariah in the pop mainstream she once ruled.
She soldiered on -- first pretending/hoping it would blow over, then actively challenging her accusers with edgy, sex-themed songs. With "Unbreakable" (Rhythm Nation/BMG), Jackson finally seems like she's over it.
Maybe that comes with time or new perspective. Maybe it comes with marrying a billionaire Qatari businessman. In any case, Jackson finally seems like herself again -- actually an even wiser version of herself.
For "Unbreakable," she has teamed again with Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam, the producers who shepherded her rise to Jacksonian heights with "Control," and their partnership has seemingly restored both her confidence and her ambition.
"Unbreakable" is divided into two sides, which Jackson announces. The first side has her rolling out dance pop as savvy as any around.
"The Great Forever" shows what she has learned from her late brother Michael about phrasing and drama, ratcheting up the song's power one step at a time, while "No Sleeep" shows that she hasn't forgotten how to mine a laid-back groove. "Dammn Baby" reminds us of her impressive history in this field by slipping bits of "I Get Lonely" into the breakdown. "Burnitup!" with Missy Elliott, is a hard-hitting dance floor delight, alternating stretches of smooth soul and thudding beats, not to mention Elliott's charming cameo.
However, it is "Shoulda Known Better" that shows how much Jackson has grown in her years away. It is politics you can dance to, declaring herself "ready for real solutions," spare and pretty to start and then building into a grand pop spectacle."I had this great epiphany," she says. " 'Rhythm Nation' was that dream. I guess next time I'll know better."
She sketches that out on Side Two, which is more experimental, more provoking.
In the simple, poetic "Black Eagle," she addresses the struggles of today, but goes with "All lives matter. . . . We all need to do better."
"Well Traveled" is the closest Jackson has come to arena rock since "Black Cat," though this is more lighters-ready Bon Jovi power ballad than in-your-face Van Halen. "Gon' B Alright," though, is twisted psychedelic rock, like she's ready to front Sly & The Family Stone.
Whether or not "Unbreakable" returns Jackson to the upper reaches of the pop world doesn't really matter. She has returned to making music, on her own terms, for the fans who still believe in her. As she sings in one of the album's most memorable tracks, "Broken hearts heal stronger."
THE GRADE A
BOTTOM LINE A pop comeback on her own terms
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SonofBaldwin added a post in a topic Dammn Baby is appearing on the Billboard Trending Chart
SonofBaldwin added a topic in All About JanetThe Wall Street Journal: "‘Unbreakable’ by Janet Jackson Review"‘Unbreakable’ by Janet Jackson Review
Janet Jackson’s back with her first album in seven years.
ENLARGE Janet Jackson’s new album, ‘Unbreakable,’ is out Friday. Photo: R. Chiang/Splash News/Corbis ByJim FusilliSept. 29, 2015 5:59 p.m. ET 0 COMMENTS Tampa, Fla.
At this stage of her career, Janet Jackson faces the daunting task of regaining her place as an artist of the moment rather than of the recent past. She is staking her claim on today with a new album, “Unbreakable” (Rhythm Nation), out Friday, and a lengthy world tour that runs well into 2016. On disc and in concert, the 49-year-old Ms. Jackson proves her significant talent remains undiminished.
“Unbreakable” is Ms. Jackson’s first album of new material since “Discipline,” which was released in 2008. On that recording, she employed a cavalcade of producers who shifted the focus from Ms. Jackson’s voice to the arrangements. It launched strong, but faded quickly and generated only one top 20 hit single, a meager result for a Janet Jackson album. To stave off a continuing decline, Ms. Jackson responded by dropping her record label, starting one of her own and reuniting with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who had a hand in most of her pre-“Discipline” recordings and helped her transition from teen star to R&B goddess.
The marketplace can be harsh for women of a certain age who once topped the charts—see Mariah Carey and Shania Twain, who were Ms. Jackson’s peers in popularity in the late 20th century—especially if they seek to continue to create new music, rather than willingly enter the prison of the past. How well Janet Jackson circa 2015-16 succeeds commercially may well depend on whether her fans and followers of contemporary R&B and dance music are interested in new songs from one of the most successful recording artists of the ’80s and ’90s.
“Unbreakable” makes the wise choice of returning Ms. Jackson to appealingly familiar settings without ignoring today’s pop tropes, including the clichés. The hot dance track “Burn It Up!” kicks off with a rap by Missy Elliott, while the slow jam “No Sleeep” features rapper J. Cole. (Ms. Jackson giggles when Mr. Cole proposes a “friends with benefits” relationship.) “Shoulda Known Better,” which opens as a ballad, borrows EDM beats for its underpinning.
For the most part, though, Ms. Jackson and the producers explore a satisfying range of musical styles plucked from across the span of pop history. Her voice rides atop funk keyboards and a synth bass in “Night,” a swirling sizzler begging for a dance-club remix. A sweet tune that ends too soon, “Dream Maker/Euphoria” taps into Philadelphia-style soul of the early ’70s. “Dammn Baby” and “The Great Forever” present two interpretations of the classic Jackson sound: In the former, Ms. Jackson sings above percolating bass lines that evoke, albeit in a less strident version, the effervescence of her late-’80s recordings. In “The Great Forever,” a gauzy mid-tempo funk environment permits Ms. Jackson to sing and phrase much as her brother Michael did. The effect is both a tribute to him and a reminder of their shared heritage as exemplars of soul.
On Thursday at a concert here at the Amalie Arena, Ms. Jackson gave prominent placement to her new material, eagerly juxtaposing it with earlier hits. With a video of J. Cole projected on white curtains streaming from the rafters, “No Sleeep” bled into “Got ’Til It’s Gone,” a similar cool burner that appeared on Ms. Jackson’s 1997 album “The Velvet Rope.” After intermission, she came downstage, perched on a stool and offered a series of her romantic ballads, the highlight of which was a gorgeous rendition of “After You Fall” from the new album. The ballads revealed the strength of her voice, which doesn’t need studio polishing to convey tender emotions.
Ms. Jackson has had so many top hits that to perform most of them required medleys of truncated versions: Dancing along in a whirlwind with her nine-member troupe, she squeezed 14 up-tempo songs into a 30-minute whip-snap opening set. The evening leaped into a higher gear with “All for You” and the extra-funky “All Nite (Don’t Stop),” both from early 21st-century albums. She pulled the past forward with a polyrhythmic, house-like “Throb” and revived her rock-funk hybrid with “Black Cat” and “Scream,” the latter featuring her brother Michael’s recorded voice.
By the time she closed the evening with the new “Shoulda Known Better” and the “Unbreakable” title track, which was sweetened by the harmonies of her three backup singers, Ms. Jackson had already established a flawless bridge across the decades. Her new music adds to her already rich musical legacy and should sweep her into a new, relevant future.
Mr. Fusilli is the Journal’s rock and pop music critic. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @wsjrock.
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SonofBaldwin added a topic in All About JanetAJC: Janet Reigns in the Rain in ATL!http://music.blog.ajc.com/2015/09/27/concert-review-janet-jackson-at-chastain/
Concert review: Janet Jackson reigns at Chastain
September 27, 2015 | Filed in: ajc music scene, atlanta concerts, chastain park amphitheatre, concert review.Comments 1 Fans endured a rainy night to see Janet Jackson at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Sept. 26. CONTRIBUTED BY LIZ MINIET
BY LIZ MINIET
When Mother Nature messed with Janet Jackson’s first Atlanta concert in four years, she forced the pop star to live up to the title of her tour and new album: “Unbreakable.”
The crowd waiting Saturday night at Chastain Park Amphitheatre sat in rain that picked up again each time they thought it was over, but when Jackson appeared on stage about 15-20 minutes past the scheduled 8 p.m. start, her fans’ reaction was joyous.
How joyous? Let’s just say the Falcons live for the day when they hear cheers and screams that loud.
Rain doesn’t matter when we’re all part of a rhythm nation.
Jackson started the show with a recently released song from her “Unbreakable” album, “Burnitup,” featuring Missy Elliott (with Elliott’s participation coming via a video; the same was true later in the show with the new song “No Sleeep,” which features J. Cole). Then Jackson, with her band, backup singers and backup dancers, went through songs everybody knew, from “Miss You Much” to “Control” to “Escapade.” In some cases during the show, especially for songs such as “Nasty” and “Together Again,” she encouraged the crowd to sing along (like you could stop them anyway).
Though the first section of the show stayed fast-paced, Jackson took time out to give special treatment to “When I Think of You” and “Love Will Never Do.”
There was a break of a few minutes, and considering that the show’s first part gave Jackson and her backup dancers a cardiac workout that would kill most of us, you were almost relieved when she came back from the break, sat down and delivered a few ballads. She started with one from her new album called “After You Fall.” You could tell that unlike a few of the songs from “Unbreakable,” this one hadn’t been released yet. Every song up to this point had received some reaction, while the fans seemed to be taking this one in.
Jackson is not quite a month into the tour behind her new album, “Unbreakable,” which is to be released Oct. 2. It’s her first new material in seven years.
Sorry, fans, but Jackson decided not to allow press photographers , so this is all we’ve got. CONTRIBUTED
After the ballads, she went back to songs that kept the fans on their feet more, including the crowdpleasers “Together Again” and “Rhythm Nation.” This section of the show also included “Scream,” a duet with her brother Michael from 20 years ago. When she took time out at the end of the show to talk to the audience, one of the things she did was to thank fans for their love and support not just of her but of her family over the years.
She also told the crowd that the weather had led to some changes in the show: For instance, the stage was supposed to be twice its size (the covering at Chastain goes only so far).
Speaking of the weather, let’s take a moment to acknowledge what I’ll call the “honorary” backup dancers: the guys who were mopping the stage periodically throughout the show to keep the rainwater from tripping up anybody.
Though there were times it was a little hard to hear the lyrics during the show (whether it was the weather, the crowd or just acoustics, I couldn’t tell you), the energy of Jackson and everyone around her was unmistakable.
And if you’re sorry that you missed Saturday’s concert, don’t worry: Jackson will be back in Atlanta for a March 3 show at Philips Arena. I think she’ll be grateful to have a roof over her whole show this time.
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SonofBaldwin added a topic in All About JanetTampa Bay Times: "Where have you gone, Janet Jackson? (To Tampa, for starters)"Where have you gone, Janet Jackson? (To Tampa, for starters)
Where have you gone, Janet Jackson?
For decades you were among the biggest, baddest pop stars on the planet — as big as Madonna, as big as Prince, maybe even as big as your big brother Michael. None of this is hyperbole — you once meant that much to that many.
And yet when you survey the pop landscape nowadays, it's not always evident what role you played in shaping it. It's far easier to point to artists influenced by Madonna (Lady Gaga), Prince (Janelle Monáe) and Michael Jackson (The Weeknd) than yourself, even though one could make the case that those artists owe you just as much.
There's a simple one-word answer for this: Nipplegate. When Justin Timberlake bared your right breast at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII, you became pop persona non grata, your career derailed by an iconic, inflammatory instant. You retreated. The world chose not to follow.
Witch hunts were more in vogue back then; just ask Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks. And Timberlake escaped the controversy unscathed, suggesting some collective sexism was at play. That almost certainly would not happen today. Facebook launched exactly three days after Nipplegate. Social media leveled the playing field of public opinion and hastened the cycle of public humiliation. Had Nipplegate happened yesterday, it would already be yesterday's news, with Twitter's hot-takers lining up to your praise your bold, provocative performance.
As it stands, more than a decade later, your career has been, as Joseph Vogel wrote in the Atlantic last year, "grossly undervalued by critics and historians." While Madonna coasted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility in 2008, you have never even been nominated. That seems like an oversight for one of the top-selling female artists in history.
But now, you are back. This summer, you received BET's inaugural Ultimate Icon Award for your contributions to music and notched your 40th Billboard Hot 100 single, No Sleeep. Tonight, you'll bring your blockbuster Unbreakable World Tour to Amalie Arena in Tampa. Next week, you'll drop Unbreakable, your first new album in seven years and your first collaboration with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in nine.
No bones about it: This is your comeback, your statement to the world that you still matter and, more importantly, still have plenty to say. Your fans have long hoped for this moment, even if there were years when it looked like it might never come.
To mark the occasion, we're presenting 30 artists whose careers were directly or indirectly influenced by yours, from Beyonce and Rihanna to Taylor Swift and, yes, even your old rival Madonna.
Where have you gone, Janet Jackson? Nowhere, really. You're all around us. Let us show you where to look.
A NEW TEMPLATE FOR TEEN POP
One class of musicians has always cited you as a major influence: The teen-pop idols of Y2K. We're talking Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Aaliyah, Destiny's Child, Backstreet Boys and N' Sync (there's a reason you and Timberlake were paired up at Super Bowl XXXVIII, you know). These artists may have loved Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston and New Edition, but their dancing, their singing, their styling — all of it screamed Janet. You were still a commercial force at this time; All For You, released in 2001, was your last No. 1 hit. But that younger generation inspired mass hysteria around the globe, and set sales records that will never be broken. Every time a new Miley Cyrus or One Direction arises in our culture, it evokes memories of that millennial moment when teen-pop ruled the galaxy. Never forget that you helped make that happen.
"This is a story about control. My control. Control of what I say, control of what I do. And this time, I'm gonna do it my way." So began your emancipatory 1986 album Control, your first collaboration with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and an evolutionary leap forward in your music, all at the ripe old age of 19. Control frequently challenges your would-be suitors — What have you done for me lately? Better be a gentleman, or you'll turn me off. My first name ain't baby, it's Janet ... Ms. Jackson if you're nasty. — but it softens as it progresses, ending with the sparkly wet dream Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun). No female artist, not even Madonna, had ever brought such a scary/soft, tough/sensual dynamic to that wide an audience. The fact that you're African American made this all the more groundbreaking and empowering. It's a template since employed by generations of pop dominatrices who are as likely to seduce you as they are to kick your butt. Just ask Rihanna and Beyonce ... or Ms. Fenty and Mrs. Knowles-Carter, if you're nasty.
THE BLOCKBUSTER POP ALBUM
You might think Michael Jackson's Thriller is the undisputed king of the all-killer, no-filler pop album, having produced five Billboard Top 5 singles. But here's a fun fact: Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, released seven years later, produced six. No album before or since has produced more. In today's albums-are-dead, singles-rule-all universe, you can practically hear artists reaching, yearning, killing themselves for that kind of chart dominance — Katy Perry on Teenage Dream, Taylor Swift on 1989, the Black Eyed Peas on The E.N.D., The Weeknd on Beauty Behind the Madness. These are some of the biggest, most inescapable, most hit-filled albums of the past decade. And none of them have touched Rhythm Nation.
THE BLOCKBUSTER POP TOUR
You didn't invent the blockbuster pop tour. But as Taylor Swift is proving this year, an A-list pop tour doesn't matter if you don't pull out all the stops. You did not tour after Control, so by the time you announced a slate of shows after Rhythm Nation 1814, your fans were in a frenzy, gobbling up tickets to many shows within minutes, making it the most successful debut tour in history. By the time the tour hit St. Petersburg's then-named Suncoast Dome in 1990, it was a fully realized freight engine, popping the eyes of 19,000 fans with lasers, confetti, costume changes and immaculate choreography. If you think artists like Pink, Lady Gaga and — dare we say it? — Madonna don't look back to the Rhythm Nation Tour for inspiration when plotting their own spectacular roadshows, think again.
A key component of your live shows and videos is your choreography, which — while not quite as revolutionary as your brother's — still raised the bar for a generation of performers. Your body snaps with militaristic precision, your limbs jutting and cracking with fierce fury. As the New York Times wrote following your Unbreakable World Tour kickoff, Jackson "can suddenly sync an entire room to her angular moves." Among those who have praised your moves are Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Jason Derulo and Justin Bieber, who in 2009, at age 15, tweeted, HOLY CRAP....JANET JACKSON IS IN THE SAME DANCE STUDIO AS ME!!! I NEED TO MEET HER.
Like all the best pop chameleons, you have evolved your style over the decades, influencing generations of later performers. The tough, almost masculine wardrobe and attitude you adopted during the Rhythm Nation years captured a certain futuristic androgyny without sacrificing sexiness, an approach later co-opted by the likes of Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae and Sia. For 1993's Janet and 1997's The Velvet Rope, you became much more comfortable in your own skin, provocatively baring (cupped) breasts and midriffs left and right. Over the years you would see that look pop up on countless pop artists — not just Britney Spears, Rihanna and Beyonce, but also Keri Hilson, Ciara and Selena Gomez.
And so we come back to the original question: Where do we see your influence today? How are new artists in 2015 pulling from what Jackson gave the pop world nearly 30 years ago? Well, you can hear echoes of her soft, airy voice and strong sensuality in a new generation of R&B singers like Tinashe and Jhene Aiko. The Control/Rhythm Nation/Janet years are a touchstone era of pop and R&B for more experimental artists like FKA Twigs or singer-producer Dev Hynes, who contributed to Carly Rae Jepsen's acclaimed new '80s pastiche Emotion. We'll have to wait a week to see how Unbreakable will impact on the pop world, but the first two singles, Unbreakable and the J. Cole-featuring No Sleeep, are classic Janet, slinky bedroom grooves that could've come from any decade. We're lucky to get it in this one.
Contact Jay Cridlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.
The singer's Unbreakable World Tour takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $46.25–$126.25. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.
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SonofBaldwin added a topic in All About JanetMiami New Times: "Janet Jackson Let Her Talent Do the Talking at American Airlines Arena"http://www.miaminewtimes.com/music/janet-jackson-let-her-talent-do-the-talking-at-american-airlines-arena-7917735
Janet Jackson Let Her Talent Do the Talking at American Airlines Arena
A AFacebook795Twitter44More shares10By Angel MelendezMonday, September 21, 2015 | 4 hours ago Miss Jackson hasn't lost a step.Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.comLast night, American Airlines Arena was a dangerous place to be. Explosions, fireballs, and the very real possibility of getting an enthusiastic elbow in the face were only some of the hazards present. Thankfully, they were all part of the grand musical pageant known as Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable World Tour.
On a rainy evening, the massive tour, which extends all the way through next summer, swept through Miami like a hurricane. The extensive set list, with a whopping 32 tracks, touched upon every major milestone of Jackson’s impressive career. Considering the show was conceived as a sort of appetizer to get us salivating for her upcoming record, Unbreakable, it was a happy surprise to hear every one of her chart-topping hits.
Perhaps more striking was the overall production quality of the entire affair. Jackson is one of pop’s original divas, in the most positive sense of the word. The atmospheric opening saw a film depicting a swarm of birds against a stormy background, projected onto three translucent hanging banners that stretched from ceiling to stage. These giant screens rose or dropped depending on the occasion and produced some very cool moments, including “duets” with Missy Elliott and J. Cole. Both rappers appear on the forthcoming record. The Missy track, “Burn It Up,” is a song Jackson’s been saving for live shows, and the sultry J. Cole number, “No Sleep,” is her current single.
The crowd was deafening from the start, outdone only by the fireworks and the thunderous music saturating the arena. Dressed in all white, Jackson stepped out alone but was soon joined by an army of dancers that hardly left her side the rest of the show. In fact, from the opening medley of hit songs, which she later performed each in full, to the final minutes of the concert, Jackson and her dancers seemed to be in constant motion for what was an exhausting but thrilling display.
Janet Jackson at American Airlines Arena
Fans got to hear every single hit.Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.comJackson time-traveled through her own career, comfortably reliving each era a few spectacular songs at a time. During her visit to the '80s, Jackson slipped into her Control and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 groove, performing “Nasty," “When I Think of You,” “Miss You Much,” "Escapade,” and more. She segued effortlessly from hit to hit like a best-of collection made flesh. “Love Will Never Do Without You” found her on rotating stairs, the lights from the spacecraft overhead shifting with the mood. On “Again,” Jackson came out with a stool, a single spotlight, and a digital orchestra on either side of her, fictional musicians performing on imaginary stone ledges for a scene that could’ve been pulled straight from a Harry Potter film. She allowed the audience to sing the opening verse for what was a truly beautiful crowd-sourced sing-along.
For the second half of the concert, Jackson made a costume change, exchanging her white suit for a black doppelgänger. With the lights down low and her outfit suggesting something sexier, she brought out her slow jams, including the suggestive (but not very subtle) “Anytime, Anyplace,” with a guest appearance by Kendrick Lamar’s voice. It was a knowing nod to the Compton MC, who sampled the Jackson song for his own 2012 track, “Poetic Justice” (also the name of a 1993 film starring Jackson and Tupac Shakur).
Probably the most anticipated guest appearance was that of Jackson’s brother, the one and only Michael Jackson. And she didn’t disappoint.
With the help of technology, Jackson summoned the voices of Missy Elliott, J. Cole, and Michael Jackson.Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.comIt was a sequence that began with “Throb,” her dancers performing flips and spins throughout the sexually overt track, Jackson cracking the whip from atop the stairs. “Black Cat” and its harsh reds and blues were coupled with the stark ideas of what people in 1989 thought the future would look like. This led directly into “If,” punctuated by its volatile guitar riff and accentuated by billowing smoke machines. Miss Janet and her troop executed some classic Jackson dance moves before finally summoning the spirit of "The King of Pop" on “Scream.” It was only a vocal track, no hologram, but still — cue the goosebumps.
Jackson didn’t directly address the crowd until the encore, wherein she introduced and thanked each member of her crew. It gave way to the sweetest moment of the night, when one of the last dancers named was revealed to be a hometown Miami girl. The crowd’s jubilant applause brought her to tears and brought the show to a touching end.
Fans let Janet know how they felt about her.Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.comA Janet Jackson show is less about her singing, which of course was great, than it is about everything else. It’s more about the pomp and circumstance, the grandeur, the carefully choreographed dances, the spiraling lights, and Jackson’s hair blowing theatrically as she sashays like the badass she is, back and forth across the stage. At no time did Miss Janet ever allow even a second of boredom to creep in. She will entertain you, whether you like it or not (and undoubtedly, you will.)
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