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NYLON: Janet Jackson’s ‘Discipline’ Was Way Ahead Of Its Time

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Janet Jackson’s ‘Discipline’ Was Way Ahead Of Its Time

In honor of the album’s 10th anniversary, we explore why

BY HAYDEN MANDERS · FEBRUARY 26, 2018
Janet Jackson’s 'Discipline' Was Way Ahead Of Its Time
 

PHOTO BY CHUANDO + FREY

Janet Jackson’s 10th studio album, Discipline, was ahead of its time when it came out in 2008. People were hoping for something a little more like 2006′s 20 Y.O., something like... Well, honestly? We don’t really know. What were people expecting from Jackson? She was—and remains—pop royalty, a diva in her own right, and had recently been through a PR nightmare—thanks to Justin Timberlake. If she’d released an album reminiscent of Rhythm Nation 1814, it would have been reductive. She had to do something drastic, something that moved the needle in a way only Jackson could. Discipline may not have been the album people thought they wanted, but it sure as hell was the album Jackson needed to release.

Let’s not forget, Jackson was in a peculiar place 10 years ago. She had left Virgin Records on poor terms and was still reeling from being virtually blacklisted following the Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” four years earlier. At the same time, the pop scene was spiraling; the release of Britney Spears’ Blackout in late 2007 laid the foundation for Top 40′s imminent club-friendly renaissance, which would only be further cemented when Lady Gaga released a juggernaut called “Just Dance” in April 2008. The sound Jackson helped make iconic was being replaced with a much more electronic sound. So, instead of going against the grain, Jackson went with it, linking up with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Dernst “D’Mile” Emile, and then-beau Jermaine Dupri to imbue her brand of R&B with flourishes of pop’s future.

The result is a 22-song deep album that, if released today, would have the kids gagging. Jackson may have leaned a bit too far into the future a decade ago, but, even then, its lead single, “Feedback,” banged. (It still does!) As a fey 15-year-old anxiously anticipating pop’s next Blackout moment, songs like “So Much Betta” and “Rollercoaster” felt revolutionary to me. Jackson was flexing Missy x Timbaland-inspired productions through a decidedly pop lens. Though her voice is processed to no end, the raw sexuality and flirtation are still palpable. A decade in and the songs still go hard.

Look, did Ms. Janet create a masterpiece with Discipline? No. The interludes, which run aplenty on Discipline, went against the burgeoning singles-only culture iTunes was fostering then, bastardizing the concept of an album altogether. But in between those seconds-long tracks are honest and true jams: “What’s Ur Name” is a sensual highlight trapezing with fetishism and hookup culture; “2nite” takes the anticipation of sex to a disco cosmos; “Discipline” is an ode to S&M wrapped in an impeccable soulful package. When Jackson drops the “yo” in you for “Rock With U,” she pushes the song Michael made famous in 1979 to 2079 where sensuality and carnality have somehow become bedfellows. It’s future-funk, and it’s infectious. But what else would you expect from “Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty”? Restraint? Please. A little discipline is more like it.

 
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7 minutes ago, State of the Game said:

:sigh: No... no it was not. 

It definitely was. Had FB and RWU been released in 2009/2010, they would have done much better. 

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1 minute ago, Mr. Wonder said:

 RWU been released in 2009/2010, they would have done much better. 

:lmao::lmao::lmao: boy bye

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Yea no, it fit the time it was released in perfectly and is perfectly comparable to her peers and lessors that released. But the article lost me at it being "deep"... :unsure:... anyway I even though its her bottom of the barrel I like that their respecting the Queen:wub:

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2 hours ago, State of the Game said:

:lmao::lmao::lmao: boy bye

FB and RWU wouldn't have been bigger hits during the height of EDM? K. :lol:

 

7 minutes ago, Black Eagle said:

#InductBionic

Reported. 

  • Upvote 1

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32 minutes ago, Mr. Wonder said:

RWU wouldn't have been bigger hits during the height of EDM? K. :lol:

 

Reported. 

Uhhh no.. have several. RWU is a flop and should have never made the album. It’s trash and overrated by JanFam. 

Which is why it never took off like Feedback... the video is awesome but the song alone is trash... like AN(ds)

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1 hour ago, State of the Game said:

Uhhh no.. have several. RWU is a flop and should have never made the album. It’s trash and overrated by JanFam. 

Which is why it never took off like Feedback... the video is awesome but the song alone is trash... like AN(ds)

You have so much pent up anger and it's not healthy.

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4 hours ago, Mr. Wonder said:

You have so much pent up anger and it's not healthy.

The song is overhyped by certain JanFam is all. Always has been. Some swear up & down that it woulda been a hit but let’s face facts. :coffee: 

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2 hours ago, State of the Game said:

The song is overhyped by certain JanFam is all. Always has been. Some swear up & down that it woulda been a hit but let’s face facts. :coffee: 

It's the song that would've picked up internationally and have Janet a reason to tour outside of the US, instead of blaming the "economic crisis". Certainly you don't think "Luv" was about to do more. :umm:

 

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10 hours ago, Mr. Wonder said:

It's the song that would've picked up internationally and have Janet a reason to tour outside of the US, instead of blaming the "economic crisis". Certainly you don't think "Luv" was about to do more. :umm:

 

:lmao: one song could have saved Janet’s international appeal :lmao: 

Luv should have been second single as intended by Janet. It would have had more momentum

That album is her third worst anyhow so it honestly doesn’t matter. 

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22 hours ago, State of the Game said:

:lmao: one song could have saved Janet’s international appeal :lmao: 

*laughs in "Together Again"* 

 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Wonder said:

*laughs in "Together Again"* 

 

It’s not 1997.. it was 2008 and TA >>>>> anything from 2004-2008 

time period fail

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4 hours ago, State of the Game said:

It’s not 1997.. it was 2008 and TA >>>>> anything from 2004-2008 

time period fail

Time period isn't being argued here.

Comprehension fail. 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Wonder said:

Time period isn't being argued here.

Comprehension fail. 

You compared TA.. an international hit from 1997 to RWU, an international embarrassment. Two different time periods in music... two different genres of music.. one song is 103739x better and relatable while the other is lazy and produced/written not by The Goddess herself. 

You failed miserably comparing the two. What’s next? TTWLG & No Sleeep? 

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1 hour ago, State of the Game said:

You compared TA.. an international hit from 1997 to RWU, an international embarrassment. Two different time periods in music... two different genres of music.. one song is 103739x better and relatable while the other is lazy and produced/written not by The Goddess herself. 

You failed miserably comparing the two. What’s next? TTWLG & No Sleeep? 

Again, time period is not being argued. And now to add, genre and quality of song are not being argued, either. 

https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/150/Red-Herring 

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41 minutes ago, Mr. Wonder said:

Again, time period is not being argued. And now to add, genre and quality of song are not being argued, either. 

https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/150/Red-Herring 

:sigh: I’m not arguing the time period or genre but the time period and recent events surrounding the songs in question is relevant. Ignoring the period of time is a fallacy within itself 🙄

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32 minutes ago, State of the Game said:

:sigh: I’m not arguing the time period or genre but the time period and recent events surrounding the songs in question is relevant. Ignoring the period of time is a fallacy within itself 🙄

Why are you having such difficulty following an otherwise very straightforward argument? 

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10 hours ago, Mr. Wonder said:

Why are you having such difficulty following an otherwise very straightforward argument? 

Why are you attempting to attack me and not the topic: you thinking RWU was a good song :umm: 

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2 hours ago, State of the Game said:

Why are you attempting to attack me and not the topic: you thinking RWU was a good song :umm: 

Did I argue the quality of the song, or did you do that?

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On 2/26/2018 at 8:12 PM, Mr. Wonder said:

 RWU wouldn't have been bigger hits during the height of EDM? K. :lol:

 

On 2/28/2018 at 2:22 PM, Mr. Wonder said:

*laughs in "Together Again"* 

 

 

50 minutes ago, Mr. Wonder said:

Did I argue the quality of the song, or did you do that?

Yeah.. yes you did 

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7 minutes ago, State of the Game said:

Yeah.. yes you did 

No, I did not. Go back and read. I drew an analogy. 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Wonder said:

No, I did not. Go back and read. I drew an analogy. 

👍🏾

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The LIES. 

The album would have to be packed with FB and RWU to be ahead of it's time. 

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