March 31, 2004

Review: Janet Jackson's Damita Ho?

Janet. And her little dog too

Update: This review is the meanest thing I've ever written. I was so disappointed with Damita Jo that I went postal. She deserves better, but then, so do her fans.

Everybody knows that I love pop music and treat it with the same passion and critical ear that I would any other type of music.

Janet Jackson has always been a really solid pop artist. Her CDs between 1986 and 1993 were perfect. Now, post nipplegate, when Janet should be seeking to regain credibility, she releases the weak Damita Jo. Poor J-Ho seems to have fallen victim to the same Diva Curse that afflicted Madonna, Mary J. Blige and many others recently. This CD is a bunch of underbaked midtempos and finger-snap-beat sex ballads that sound like rejects from her superlative '93 Janet. CD.

Her usual lame-o interludes are here, of course. Last time it was between-take Fran Drescher imitations and this time it's faux interviews about her personal history. A last-minute attempt to string this record into some kind of autobiographical narrative? This would be fine if you were a HOOKER and your life revolved around giving head in parked cars. How many Janet tracks do we need that give her explicit instructions on the oral arts? Especially if said "head" belongs to jheri-curled maestro Jermaine Dupree? Blech.

Is this all she has to say at 37 years old?
Come back to the rhythm nation, Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson!

Yes, the new single I Want You is somewhat of an Alicia Keys ripoff, but it does have a lush, carefree sweetness. I particularly like the "have your way with me" bridge, which is a tasty come-on, but not dirrrty. There are maybe 4 other tracks worthy of Janet, All Nite among them, and the rest is craven drivel. Bring back Jam and Lewis with Janet in Minneapolis.