Janet Jackson recording 'up-tempo dance album'; can she recapture a rhythm nation?

MTV reports today that Janet Jackson’s upcoming 11th studio album, a follow-up to 2008’s Discipline, is focused on uptempo and mid-tempo dance tracks, with a sound “inspired by worldwide influences,” including Brazilian, African and Latin rhythms.

According to producer Rodney Jerkins (Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, Pussycat Dolls), she’ll also be addressing recent personal events: “You gotta understand, she lost her brother,” he told MTV. “She was in a relationship for seven years that’s over now. There’s things that she told me that I didn’t even realize. You know, certain [things] like self-esteem … I kinda had to persuade her, ‘Let’s just go, let’s talk about that.’ And she’s been doing it, and she’s a pro about it.”

I love me some Janet; I really do. And she’s had what anyone would deem an insanely difficult year. But after the disappointment of Discipline, I’m wondering whether I should just stick with her upcoming greatest-hits collection, Number Ones, due November 17.

Honestly, she still had me hanging on to 1997’s The Velvet Rope (I can take a Joni Mitchell mash-up!), but sort of lost me for good in ’04 with Damita Jo‘s relentlessly same-y sex-me jams. Where is the Janet who took us on an Escapade? That fierce Black Cat in Control who taught us all about the Pleasure Principle? (Requires knee-pads and an empty warehouse, fyi.) And where the Minneapolis are Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis?

If only you would Come Back to Me, Janet! But tell me if I’m wrong, readers. Will love still never do without her?

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Comments (68 total) Add your comment
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  • Torrence5

    Love Janet of the mid-80’s & into the ’90’s but the last few albums & songs have been big let downs (I think the last song I really liked was from the Nutty Professor) so I will wait and see if I like the songs I hear on the raido (assuming radio will play Janet. Many former radio stars (Whitney, Celine, Prince, Maddonna, & even Mariah are having a hard time getting air play today).

  • Jermaine

    First, the Velvet Rope album came out in 1997, NOT 2001. Second, if your magazine would get beyond the Super Bowl incident, you would have enjoyed Discipline a lot more (GREAT dance songs). Janet is a wonderful artist who always delivers great music that her fans enjoy and I can’t wait for her new album to drop.

    • Vel

      J.D. is that you! Boy, get on up from round here!

    • Jay

      I concur with your comment. People don’t seem to understand the follow basic concept: Art is no longer Art if it’s predictable or compliant. Janet is artist….Need I say more.

      • Jade

        Sorry, but you have just described Janets last 3 CD’s – predictable & compliant. That’s why she lost her audience – instead of breaking new ground she’s so formula it’s just insane. From working with Jimmy Jam & TL far too long to those insipid little sound bites between the songs that she just LOVES to include in EVERYTHING to the subject matter (OK OK OK we GET IT!!! You like to talk about SEX! Wow, that’s so SCANDALOUS!!! – NOT) I just find her to be so stuck in a rut and stale. What ever happened to the “artist” that wrote and recorded Rhythm Nation? She once really was an “artist” and she switched it up with every release – now she is just like a scratched record where the needle gets stuck and doesn’t move forward.

      • gorjus

        And you just know if someone is constantly doing ALLLLLLL that talking about sex, they ain’t gettin’ NONE!!!

  • mike

    Janet go back to your roots with Jimmy Jam and lewis or at least that feel good music. Today, Tom Joyner played rhythm nation and I was groving with the music and lyrics. I/we want that janet back also we understood what you were singing about, (understood the words). Can’t wait Janet do it for us and Michael keep the Jacksons sound.

  • darrin

    her last three albums have been really disappointing with only glimpses of the janet i always loved from the past. the number ones album looks fun and i’m curious to see how this new project turns out…

  • Greg

    I beleive you should take another listen too Damita Jo one of the best albums of 2004 the superbowl is what happened too that album, but in all honesty I think Ms Jackson deserves her comeback, she has handled her self graciously since the superbowl. I beleive she has earned the right to sing about whatever she wishes as does every artist, what needs too be asked is when will we see a velvet rope or a rythmn nation from todays artist.

  • HD

    I love Janet and I agree about everything you said post-Velvet Rope. It’s now or never and as long as she goes back to singing about life and not just sex, an official (and super hot) comeback she will have. There’s a huge amount of love and goodwill out there for her out there still.

  • Sarah

    I liked Damita Jo but it was definitely not her best album. After that, I felt like she was trying too hard to compete with younger artists and wasn’t true to herself. I wish she’d go back to working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. I still love Janet but not as much as I used to. I’d really like to see her come back and put out stuff that reminds me of her 1814/janet./Velvet Rope days.

  • Stephen

    Im excited.. I love me some janet.. always..

  • Daniel

    The Superbowl derailed her career, not the music. Could barely see the boob on TV, “offended” an entire nation of hypocrites (FB cheerleaders has on less clothes than JJ) who immediately went online to search for the photo. Second to Madonna, I loved Janet growing up. I loathed All for You, but really liked Damita Jo. It took time, but started to really like 20 YO (Enjoy could have been a huge hit for her) and Discipline was ok. No, these albums are not janet., but who consistently makes amazing albums? MJ only had one Thriller. Only criticism: she needs to keep the “I’ll open my spot for you” lyrics to a minimum.

    • Vel

      Mike only had one?!?!?!? What about Off The Wall, Dangerous and Bad? You can’t compare everything to Thriller! Most of Mike’s albums have gone 2 and 3 times platinum. I love Janet, but she’s no Mike….Not by a long shot.

    • twin

      i love janet too mut mj had more than thriller all of his albums were great hater.

  • Jason

    Janet has become a joke. And its obvious Rene was the brains behind the operation.As soon as he left she went downhill. All For You, Damita Jo, 20 YO, and Discipline were awful. She’s become a joke of her former self. Singing all her vag songs and moaning and carrying on. Its ridiculous. And she doesn’t seem to take the hint that the public is tired of all that stuff cause she just keeps pumping it back out. I hold no faith in this album at all because she has proven herself incapable of producing a quality album without Rene, Jimmy and Terry producing it for her and her pretending to be in control of it.

    • Greg

      But she;s has only done one album without Jimmy and Terry and That’s Discipline, Jimmy and Terry were all over Damita Jo and 20yo! I dont think she’s a joke I dont but what can she sing about that she hasnt already covered in control to velvet rope!

    • f

      f*(k you!

      • g


  • marc

    Leah, I comepletely agree, was a hard core Janet fan up through ALL FOR YOU, then every song became her latest sexual fantasty which is fine in small doeses, but not everytime. Up through 1993’s Janet she was the trendsetter. Now she seems like she is trying to compete with these 20 year olds. Also stop making these same dance videos. I loved the way “That’s the way love goes” was a complete left turn. You expected her to start off that album with a hard thumping dance number. Instead she came back with a slow mid temp groove. She needs another left turn and get back with JImmy jam and Terry Lewis. They bring out the best in each otehr.

  • Vel

    I grew up with Janet, watched her on Good Times and have been listening to the entire Jackson family my whole life. She had success during the 80’s and 90’s with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, but that New Jack Swing sound is played out. Velvet Rope was her dopest album, but after that, it was a wrap. She can’t keep up with Beyonce, Ciara, Shakira, Lady GaGa etc. etc. Unfortunately there is no room for a 40+ pop star. I think the shelf life of her career is about 10 years past its expiration date. Sorry sista!

    • f

      Tina turner didnt listen to this mess you talking about

    • Preston

      I don’t think that she can keep up with what Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Shakira or Ciara are doing, but Janet Jackson has her own kind of sound and she’s doing the music she wants to make. It is hard for a 40+ pop star in the music business sometimes–they just have to stay fresh and current to stay competitive with the others yet stay true to themselves. She still can dance great in her recent performances.

  • Evan

    I think that if Madonna and Mariah Carey can come back with “Confessions On A Dancefloor” and “The Emancipation of Mimi” respectively, as a 50 year old and a 39 year old, that Janet can definitely become a creative artist again and make an album true to herself. People knock Janet for giving too much information about her sex life don’t say anything about MIMI talking about her one night stands and basically being a whore on Touch My Body….it’s so RIDICULOUS! She sounds like a baby and doesn’t even sing properley anymore yet still manages to sell records. Madonna is a wrinkled up prune who is trying to escape old age and has an album named Hard Candy with a front on photo of her chucking a SPREADY…and tries to use metaphors about lollypops that are “sticky and sweet”. She’s got three children and I don’t see how anyone would want to think about her candy like that. At least Janet’s music is still a little personal.

    I don’t think Discipline was as bad as everyone is saying, I enjoyed most of it except for a bit of filler on “Can’t B Good” and alot of interludes that seemed unneccessary, it’s not very deep conceptually but had alot of cool sounds and felt like it was a good listen for fans. Not her best though but better than probably better than 20 Y.O. and Damita Jo.

    Don’t give up on her! I love Janet and she’s made too much creative music to write her off yet. Go Janet!

    • Robbyrob


      You have just won the award for the laziest, non-thinking, and eye-roll inducing post in EW history. It speaks of no brain cells when one has to bash other artists to make a point. The topic of the post was about Janet. What do Mariah and Madonna have to do with that? Just so you can spout some below-grade school taunts?? Janet, Mariah, and Madonna all have their fans and have done quite well for themselves. I think to knock Madonna/Mariah for their continued sexuality but not to single out Janet is obnoxious at best. Have you listened to her songs? Just because Madonna, Mariah, and Janet are getting older, we should abandon them? How stupid. We ALL are afraid getting older Evan, not just Madonna. I’d like to see you at 51. I mean, typing all this crap in front of a computer really emboldens you, eh? I pity Janet that she has a fan like you.

  • Brooke

    I thought Discipline was an improvement over the last few albums that preceded it. I keep my fingers crossed that she finds the magic again.

  • nyla

    I find it funny that people are bashing A4U when it was really her last hit album. The title track is Janet’s second most successful song ever. She had 3 top ten songs on that album so it was claerly not the trainwrck some of you descibe it as. sonically it was probably her most diverse album and still sounds modern 8 years later. That was a good pop album. And it was also the last time she worked exclusively with Jimmy and Terry.

    • ET

      I agree with NYLA, “All For You” was a great record. I didn’t just enjoy the hits on that one, but the album tracks as well. As for the three albums after it, well…*crickets*

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