Janet of the Jacksons has returned with a new album: Damita Jo. Not quite as perverse as Velvet Rope, it follows the more sultry lines of All For You. Jackson has managed to confirm once again that yes, lately she is all about sex.With explicit songs like “Sexhibition” and “Moist,” about 90% of the 23-track album is sexual. It adds a highly intimate feel, something Jackson was obviously aiming for. Short interludes coax you into relaxation (or arousal) as she showcases her velvety smooth speaking voice.
The music itself is varied, but the overall album is mellower than previous projects. Soft transitions and beats carry the mood from hip hop to pop, from disco to rock, from Motown to electronica. Thankfully it never overplays any of these genres, and though Damita Jo could have easily leaned too far towards electronica or hip hop, Jackson was successful at pulling in the reigns to produce an album that was simply “her sound” rather than a montage of styles. This success shows her superiority over other artists such as Britney Spears, whose latest release shows a scattered attempt at mastering many styles at once.
While the album is successfully Janet, this also means that the songs are repetitive and club-like. This married with the placid mood of Damita make it an excellent background album, but not necessarily one to remember. There are no solid hooks, nothing that the average listener will be likely to hum to herself. It is also not likely to pick up many new fans of Jackson, though it’s sure to please older fans loyal to her sense of sexuality and subdued melodies.