Album Track Listing
Release Date: 29 March 2004
By: Keya Modessa
1. Looking For Love2. Damita Jo
4. Strawberry Bounce
5. My Baby - feat. Kanye West
6. The Islands
7. Spending Time With You
8. Magic Hour
9. Island Life
10. All Night (Don't Stop)
11. R&B Junkie
12. I Want You
13. Like You Don't Love Me
14. Thinkin' Bout My Ex
17. It All Comes Down To Love
19. The One
22. Just A Little While
Few celebrity siblings can emerge from the shadows of their famous family to become superstars. However, in Janet Jackson’s case, this is exactly what happened. Her individual musical style and personality has gained her a reputation as one of the leading ladies of R&B/Pop since the 1980s.
Jackson's successful musical career has remained consistent from the beginning, when she broke through in 1986 with the album ‘Control’. The combination of high quality production and infectious R&B hooks has always managed to keep Jackson on top of the musical trends, and her name on everyone’s lips. With this said, never has Janet Jackson’s profile been higher, following the now infamous flesh-bearing incident, after a supposed ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at the 2004 American Superbowl. Call it what you want, but in my opinion it was pure publicity seeking at it’s best, in preparation for the release of her new album, ‘Damita Jo’.
The latest album offering from the youngest child of the Jackson clan is a classy mix of R&B, producing some essential Janet hits. Once again, she has teamed up with legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who she credits as her two ‘Dads’ in the albums’ cover.
The album ‘Damita Jo’ (after Ms. Jackson's middle name) kicks off with a short dreamy intro, ‘Looking For Love’, before launching into the first track ‘Damita Jo.’ The title track is definitive, catchy, and up-tempo, encouraging listeners to keep close contact to the rest of the album.
Initially, the smoothness of the album triggers a little shuteye; a sensation to drift off to an exotic getaway where the sun can beat down on the soft sand. However, a closer encounter to Damita Jo, and the realisation kicks in that it is not so much sun drenched, as it is sex-drenched. From the cover of her album, to tracks like ‘Moist’, the underlying theme seems to be an exploration and understanding of the sexual culture. In ‘Sexhibition’, which opens with a twang of Indian tablas, she conjures up a selection of cleverly crafted sex puns, which she sings oozing with pleasure; “sexplore, sexposure, sexacapade, sexplanation.”
Then there's ‘Warmth’, which makes even the slickest sex-orientated songs sound subtle. The sounds of rain and light thunder combined with Janet’s sleepy, soothing vocals comforts your thoughts, and for a little while, draws away any attention to her controversial lyrics. We realise that ‘Warmth’ lets all those inhibitions die, when she sings about her hands “wrapped around, strokin’ up and down”, and how “nothing can compare to the warmth of my mouth” before finally revealing that she’ll “take it further south.”
As sexually confident these tracks make her sound, the quiet, shyness of Janet is also exposed. In one interlude, Janet asks, “When you look at me, do you want me just for what you see? Do you think I'm that person that you watch on TV? There's another side that I don't hide, but may never show.” After hearing this, we’re left asking, ‘who is the real Damita Jo?’
Perhaps one of the biggest tracks on her 2004 album is the balled-esque ‘My Baby’ in which Janet collaborates with man-of-the-moment Kanye West. This track, which features very early on in the album, begins with a rhythmic guitar, which is repeated throughout the song, and Kanye once again uses his magic touch from start to finish.
Janet’s real persona comes out on the slower tracks, where Janet’s vocal talents sound real smooth and consistent, for example on tracks like ‘All Nite’ and ‘I Want You’. 'R&B Junkie', is a sure-fire hit which bounces along enthusiastically to the sounds of a soulful disco track, which you think would fit right at home in a ’60s-type roller skate rink.
Towards the end of the album, the funky ‘SloLove’ picks up where ‘R&B Junkie’ left off, proving a likable soulful dance floor bump. One element the album could have done without would be the seemingly neverending interludes, which are whispered throughout the 22 tracks. Maybe for Ms Jackson, these interludes served as an opportunity to reveal to fans a little more about Damita Jo. However, with such obvious exposure to her sexuality themed throughout the album, (and following her bare revelation at the Super Bowl) I can only ask, what more is there left to tell?
Rating 3 out of 5
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