Unbreakable - Janet Jackson

Unbreakable - Janet Jackson

Blessed be the powers that brought "together again" quite possibly the best R'n'B music team ever; producers-extraordinaires Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and their muse, Janet ("Miss Jackson, if you're nasty! "). There is not a fan of this trio who will not admit that the best work of them comes when all of them working together. Whenever these 3 work exclusively as a team, they create magic every single time, and each of Janet's previous albums is undeniable proof of this (those who disagree, keep your "Damita Jo"s and "20Y. O. "s - "Discipline" is an exception, though JJ&TL-free, it was terrific). Producer Jimmy Jam speaking to EW about this new album said: "I think it's totally different from any of her other albums. But it feels like her. The thing about this album is there's a lot of different places that it touches, but at the end of the day, it's pure Janet. "

As much apprehensive as i was about this statement (don't most artists say that about their music? ), listening to this new JJ album makes me think that he could not have been more accurate. Because that is what "Unbreakable" essentially is; a pure Janet record. Boasting a modernized version of the duo's trademark sound, combined with Janet's positive and spirited presence, it feels like a mix-and-match of the trio's past records, and then some. All the elements that made her who she is, they're all here. Bouncy, melodic, carefree, introspective, fragile, empowering, sassy, and classy, Janet is right at the centre of the album, exploring a range of music styles, presenting her most diverse set since her superb 1997 opus, "The velvet rope". This time around, however, she has not come back to challenge listeners or her pop students.
"Unbreakable" is Janet Jackson's first album in 7 years and finds back with Jam and Lewis who produced most of her hit-filled career from "Control" to "20 Y. O. " It more than lives up to expectations as we get back the fun Janet who made us dance as well as pensive Janet making us think.

The retro neo soul title track opens the album and finds Janet in a reflective mood telling us "Anytime I get lost in the world, you'll always be there". The groovy electro dance number "BURNITUP! " features Missy Elliott getting Janet and everyone hyped up, and showcases Janet's duskier sounding vocals. "Dammn Baby" is a funky midtempo number and is absolutely brilliant. The gently swinging electro "The Great Forever" takes the tempo down with Janet sounding very much like brother Michael as she pleads "Hate will only divide".

"Shoulda Known Better" builds from a hush to anthemic pop/EDM and back as Janet takes a look at the state of the world and borrowing some of Michael's vocal tics, as well as name checking her "Rhythm Nation". "When you're young, you feel like I can change the world... and then you look 25 years later and you go; Okay, I should have known better" she explains in an interview. "After You Fall" is a tender piano ballad with tremulous affecting vocals and lovely guitar solo that should please fans of "Again". "Night" is a magical club number with heavenly harmonies, jazzy piano and sprinklings of guitar. Lead-single the laid back "No Sleeep" features J. Cole and recalls "That's The way Love Goes". "Dream Maker / Euphoria" is a trippy soul ballad with shades of Shuggie Otis.

While other artist are trying so desperately to prove how amazing they are by telling people to "bow down bitch" or telling them "bitch i'm... " or enlisting the hottest rapper to spit a verse doing that for them- Janet long ago put her stamp on this current trend by saying, when she was 19 by the way- "No my first name ain't baby, it's Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty! " And now she returns as hard as any other using just her legacy and material alone. No enlisting numerous guest artists to draw attention. No need for 17 people to help write lyrics. No sex, from my listening the word sex does not appear on this album. But her heart, soul, sense of humor, sense of humanity, life experience, curiosity of the new, want for change from the old all show up in full force. Her voice is more present than its been for years. Her resemblance in sound on some songs to her brother is unavoidable, heart wrenching and welcome. She has the amazing ability to use the gift of her voice to set the mood and tone for whatever story it is she wants to tell. In that she makes up for the power that many feel she is lacking not realizing it takes technique and power to produce all the vocals, backing and lead (aside from the male voices obviously) that she sings on all her albums. The songs on Unbreakable will take you on a journey that feels familiar yet is very new. Some songs will hit you right away and some will grow on you, and soon it will become an album well traveled as you listen and discover the many treasures hidden beneath the numerous layers of both vocal and instrumental orchestrations. Janet, Jimmy and Terry are masters at such and that mastery is woven through and through forming an unbreakable tapestry of sonic plentitude. This has instantly become a classic and a favorite!

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