Lyrics strike discordant note

THE YOUNGEST among the nine Jacksons, she is 38 and has been around on the music scene since the early 80s.


Janet began her career with the chart-topping 1986 album, `Control', and unlike her older siblings who stuck together as Jackson 5, she decided to go solo right from her first album. Though she was not as popular as Michael, the other big Jackson, she slowly climbed the popularly charts and was soon known as the "quiet achiever" Jackson.

By the time her albums, `Rhythm Nation' and `Janet' were released, she had created a niche audience for her music - a sophisticated mix of mainstream pop and mellowed-down R & B. That's The Way Love Goes... and Again... were the chart-toppers from `Janet'. She next collaborated with Michael for a song called Scream... . Though the vocal blend of Janet and her brother was innovative, the song disappointed her fans who wanted her to stick to softer R & B music.

What followed in the next few years was a record-breaking series of world tours.

Unlike other artistes who perform tours as part of an album release, Janet's tours were meant to be thanksgiving to her fans. This is reason why her latest album, `Damita Jo', is appearing after a gap of more than three years.

New album

Janet's full name is Janet Damita Jo Jackson, which is the inspiration behind the title of the new album. The album retains the polish and class of Janet's vocals, but improvises on the music front. More of hip-hop and laid-back rhythms stand out in tracks such as All Nite... and I Want You... Some critics describe `Damita Jo' as one of her most mature works, but not all agree. The lyrics have sparked off a controversy. According to certain U.S.-based music reviewers, the wordings of certain songs are "explicit". Janet explores facets of love and relationships in a "dare-and-bare" manner, but fails to draw the line where needed. On the one hand, the music is hugely impressive. Indian fans, though, have something to cheer about.

`Bombay Dreams'

Janet has reportedly been approached by the producers of `Bombay Dreams', a $14 million musical, to play the role of the central Indian character in the play. If the deal materialises, this would probably be the first instance where an international music icon would feature in an Indian musical.

As far as the album goes, it remains a sad combination of top-class music that is mercilessly killed by provocative lyrics.


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