Discipline

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Opening with a quick step into the futuristic, Janet Jackson’s tenth studio album enters a very automated world or whizzing synth and electronic sizzle. The opening track, ‘Feedback’ got quite a bit of it, hitting the Top 20 on numerous charts across the world. It’s a dance song with enough energy to not get old, a feat in today’s in-and-out music business. A song in the vein of her last #1 single, ‘All For You’, ‘LUV’ is a techno-pop number with bouncing, heavily harmonized and generally ‘messed with’ vocals. Darkchild, a prominent producer and hit-maker (and writes a majority of the tracks on the album), heads into the next track after a short interlude, a jaunt to the fair with roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Unsurprisingly, the track is called ‘Rollercoaster’ and has a nice, rockin’ beat that drives the number into her next single.

After another interlude, we find ourselves sinking into a bed of synthesizer and vocoder a.k.a. ‘Rock With U’. A slow dance jam with whispery vocals and more electronic tinkering than a Britney Speaks track. Apparently, “Strobe lights make everything sexier.” A sure-fire club hit. ‘2nite’ has a slight throwback edge and features a funk bass line and more synth and heavily digitized vocals. She seems to be channeling Michael in this track. Without a interlude (shock and awe), we slide into a ballad. Janet’s voice glides silkily through the pure R&B sex ballad, ‘Can’t B Good’. Very beautiful harmonies pull this track through and help it be anything more than another repetitive R&B track from Janet.

Hoping there were no more interludes? That’s funny, this is an R&B album, in fact almost half of the tracks are less-than-one-minute interludes. This one’s called ‘4 words’. A slightly more up-beat track follows the ballad but it sounds like a throw away track. ‘Never Letchu Go’ sounds cheap. Has a Christian Contemporary feel. Another interlude, honestly, and we get to ‘Greatest X’ which adds a heartbeat and basically repeats the blandness of the last track.

After twenty minutes of Discipline we end up back with the femme-bot from the opening. Meanwhile, a bouncing dance track vamps up. Using an amazingly digitized child-like voice, we get another breathy performance with ‘So Much Betta’. This song is truly repetitive and gets vexing entirely to fast. A gong introduces the next track which gives a welcome reprieve from Janet’s tiringly airy voice. Missy saves the day with a cool, funky guest spot and finally giving us the best chorus and hook since ‘Rock With U’. Missy is quirky and more than edgy and it sounds perfect. Luckily for my ears, she follows this great track with a slightly less impressive but still good up-tempo number called, “What’s Ur Name’ that has a wonderful chorus and a nice, fluid melody.

Okay, this last interlude starts off well and ends with an extremely scary rumination on self-mortification that sounds like she’s about to climax, it’s rather risqué and very unattractive. Which is nothing compared to the mental instability of the last track which I won’t even talk about. It’s a bit creepy and can be interpreted all wrong. It’s called ‘Discipline’, the name-sake of the album and it’s just scary.

Thankfully, the last interlude brings us to the close of this album. It’s called ‘Curtains’ and fits well, don’t you think? The entire end of the album is too adult for me. She’s just laying it all out there and it isn’t very sexy. I just don’t like it. I’d stick to the beginning of the album, nice pop and dance tunes, and stay away from the horror that is the end.

85%
B

~~~

Label: Island
Released: February 22, 2008
Billboard: #1 (276,000+)
United World Chart: #2 (388,000+)

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~ by vinyabarion on March 22, 2008.

One Response to “Discipline”

  1. You get awesome points for reviewing Janet. She can rock when she wants to, but I agree that some of the material (along with most of the material on her last two albums) was way too… … … … yeeaaahhh…

    I have to admit that this album is much better than her last wto, though, so it’s a step in the right direction.

    When there’s electro-pop involved, you can never go wrong =D

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