Janet

Damita Jo (Virgin Records)

No, Janet isn't flashing a breast in Damita Jo's liner notes, and she doesn't have any songs about "wardrobe malfunctions." However, heavy sexual references and innuendos are prevalent throughout the record. The eighth studio album from Ms. Jackson picks up where her previous album, All For You, left off celebrating the single life. Longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are at the helm once again; the disc also features contributions from Rockwilder, Dallas Austin, Babyface, Scott Storch and Roc-A-Fella alum Kanye West. While the lyrical content is a bit risqué for the younger audience, the real obscenity here is the lack of continuity. The Kanye West-produced tracks, "I Want You" and "My Baby," seem like they were intended for Alicia Keys or Monica, not Janet. Janet is a trendsetter, yet these two cuts sound like she's playing catch-up, trying to assimilate with the latest sounds.

Jam and Lewis falter a little bit, as well. Their once-signature style of full, interwoven sounds and beats have been stripped down to simplistic drum patterns and predictable melodies. Tunes like "Damita Jo," "Strawberry Bounce" and "Like You Don't Love Me" lack that pop/soul sound the collective has become known for. The other producers seem to know what works best. Scott Storch's "Island Life," Babyface's "Thinkin' Bout My Ex" and Swedish hitmakers BAG & Arnthor's "SloLove" capture the essence of Jackson. You can have Damita Jo; bring Janet back.

 
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