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Janet Jackson Damita Jo Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

After the famous 'wardrobe malfunction' western civilisation threw a wobbler and...

Ian Wade 2004

It was possibly the most shocking event in music ever. Justin Timberlake sidles on up to Janet Jackson to help perform in front of a worldwide Superbowl audience of millions. A few milli-seconds later, one of Janet's breasts is hanging out of her outfit due to a now infamous 'wardrobe malfunction' and western civilisation throws a wobbler. Stupid Americans decide to sue everyone involved for the distress caused and Janet Jackson is suddenly the most despised woman on Earth. Suddenly her troubled - that's putting it mildly -brother, Michael, looked positively wholesome in comparison.

It's a shame then, that Janet's new album lacks the same kind of impact. Damita Jo - Janet's eighth album - continues down the slightly downward path that kicked off around 1993's Janet. While there's been a handful of great singles "All For You", "Again", "That's The Way Love Goes", "Got Till It's Gone" - the accompanying albums have been gradually less than essential.

While there's nothing outwardly bad about Damita Jo, at 22 tracks over 65 minutes, your attention does start to wander and you almost forget it's playing. But after a third or fourth listen, the slick grooves of "Spending Time With You" and "Island Life" gain more identity. Largely produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis - the team behind Janet since 1986's fantastic Control - it's tempting to think how much better this CD would have been if the likes of once mooted producers Timbaland, Basement Jaxx or The Neptunes had got their hands on it, shoving it more towards the 21st century.

There'sa noticeable absence of guests cluttering up proceedings. However, Kanye West does turn up on highlight "My Baby", and produces "I Want You" and the Jay-Z sampled "Strawberry Bounce". As far as proper boogie moments are concerned, "R&B Junkie" is a nice Evelyn Champagne King infused number that parties like it's 1982, and "Just A Little While" echoes the quintessential Janet of "Whoops Now".

Damita Jo heralds no real major leap forward, but it's no pig's ear either. A bit of editing and a couple of killer dance tracks would've made it even better. And although millions will remember what Janet Jackson did in 2004, it won't be for this album.

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