i'm sorry ms. jackson! no really, i am.
Janet Jackson is in desperate need of some emancipation a la Mimi. Since her career peaked with 1993's janet. (selling 19 million copies worldwide), her album sales have been steadily declining. Some blame the superbowl incident for her downward spiral...but apparently things started to slide around the time of 1997's The Velvet Rope, which sold less than half what janet. sold-- 8 million worldwide. The 2001 follow-up, All For You, sold only a million less...and then the real disaster occurred with 2004's Damita Jo, selling only 3 million worldwide despite churning out two #1 single on the US Dance charts.
RANDOM INTERRUPTION: Did you know that Janet Jackson is HUGE in Japan? Over there she has 19 number one singles, which is 9 more than she has in the US. Japan is also the only place where two singles from Damita Jo managed to break into the Top 5 on the charts. In the US, the highest charting single from the album, "Just a Little While", only managed to reach the #45 spot. Damita Jo was the first album by Janet since 1984's Dream Street to not produce at least one number one single in the US.
So Janet is thirsty for success...especially after her boyfriend Jermaine Dupri has recently aided in skyrocketing rival Mariah Carey's career to a level it hasn't seen since 1997's Butterfly. Dupri, along with Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam, are among a long list of individuals called upon to perform much-needed surgery on Janet's career with the album 20 Years Old (named for the 2oth anniversary of 1996's Control and the age Janet claims to feel). The first man on our team of surgeons is Johnta Austin, the man who co-wrote Mary J. Blige's big comeback single "Be Without You" and the first four US singles released from The Emancipation of Mimi. Next we have LRoc, who co-wrote and co-produced Nelly's "Grillz" and Usher's "Yeah". The list doesn't end there-- Nelly, Khia, Kanye West, and a rumored duet with Ms. Mimi herself. All of this sounds like an equation for success, but can Janet deliver?
If the canned first single "Weekend" is any indication of things to come, the answer is a big fat (just like Janet a few months ago!) "NO". The song was streamed on Janet's official website on May 1, 2006. The next day, Janet left a message on her site to let fans know that the song is not the first single and will not even appear on the album. And it won't appear on the album for good reasons...it's atrocious. Seriously. It makes Damita Jo look like The Beatles' White Album. "Weekend" samples Debbie Deb's 1983 single "When I Hear Music", which still receives plays on dance music radio stations to this day. Unfortunately, Janet can't even save this trainwreck.
Janet's actual first single "Call On Me" f/ Nelly will be released to radio this coming Monday. It samples S.O.S.'s "Tell Me If You Still Care", a song obscure enough for it's target audience that it shouldn't cause too much of a problem. Word on the street is that starsareblind.com will have this song the moment it leaks. Hopefully, it will prove to the world that Janet can still be cool at her actual age...40 years old.
WATCH: A super-gay (literally) collection of clips from Brokeback Mountain set to Damita Jo's "Just a Little While". Because it's the only time you'll get to see Jake Gyllenhaal taking it from behind to the sounds of Janet Jackson...unless there's something you're not telling me.
DOWNLOAD: JANET JACKSON- Weekend
DOWNLOAD: DEBBIE DEB- When I Hear Music
PRE-ORDER 20 Years Old
BLOGWATCH: Shake your booty to DJ Mehdi's "I Am Somebody" f/ Chromeo over at bigstereo. Listen to some new songs by Zero 7 at Culturebully.
CORRECTION: The song in my first post called "F as in Knife" is NOT by The Knife...It is actually by another Swedish group called Zeigeist. The song is called "Tar Heart".