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Janet Jackson - Damita Jo

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Damita Jo

Janet Jackson

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"Relax, it's just sex," Janet Jackson murmurs at the conclusion of "Sexhibition," the third song on her eighth album, Damita Jo. Those words were recorded long before Jackson wound up America with her breast-baring exploits at the halftime show at the 2004 Super Bowl, but they nevertheless play like an casual response to the hysteria that engulfed the nation following her infamous "wardrobe malfunction." But, really, they're there to head off any criticism that could be leveled at Damita Jo, yet another album that finds Janet exploring her sexuality, a voyage she's been on for about 11 years (Magellan and his crew circled the globe in a third that time, but hey, who's counting?). While sex indisputably fuels much great pop music, it isn't an inherently fascinating topic for pop music -- as with anything, it all depends on the artist. Prince, of course, found an endless amount of ways to write intriguingly about sex, since it fired his imagination, a quality that has been missing on Janet's albums since 1993's janet.. With its preponderance of slow-tempo, sensual grooves, sexual imagery, occasional up-tempo jams, and endless spoken interludes, it provided the blueprint for every record she made since, from the heavy eroticism of 1997's The Velvet Rope to the bedroom sighs of 2001's All for You. The latter suggested that she was abandoning the explicitness of The Velvet Rope, but Damita Jo proves that she was merely flirting with modesty, since it's as explicit as pop music gets. Actually, it's the aural equivalent of hardcore pornography -- it leaves nothing to the imagination and it's endlessly repetitive. Like a porn star, Janet adopts an alter ego built on her middle name ("There's another side that you will never know: Damita Jo"), provides detailed oral-sex manuals with "Warmth" and "Moist," nicknames her clitoris, and tosses around allusions to a variety of taboo sex acts; in this context, all the interview snippets scattered throughout the record -- "I love curling up with a good book and relaxing by the ocean with my baby," "When you look at me, do you want me?" -- recall nothing less than a Playboy or Penthouse centerfold confessing her turn-ons. Such doggedly literal lyrics lack any sensuality, and weigh Damita Jo down. If the music had its own sensuality or spark, it'd be easier to forgive or overlook Jackson's whispered vulgarities, but the album's slow grooves blend together, lacking rhythmic or melodic hooks. Jackson disappears into the productions, once again largely the responsibility of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, becoming part of the arrangement instead of standing in front of it. And while there are a couple of cuts that do cut through the slow-groove loops -- on the slower side, "I Want You" has a verse that's memorable, while "Just a Little While" is a good dance tune -- they pale next to the hits from All for You; that they stand out on Damita Jo says more about the album than the songs themselves. Ironically, for an album with so much sex on its mind, it's not a good make-out record because its grooves are cold and Janet's ceaseless dirty talk spoils whatever mood the music had struggled to create. Once, Ms. Jackson's sexual obsession was indeed sexy and erotic, but by this point, it's not just tired, it's embarrassing.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Damita Jo

Janet Jackson

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1
Looking For Love (Interlude)
00:01:29

JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Stephan Haeri, Mixer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Christophe Hetier, ComposerLyricist - Fabrice Dumont, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

2
Damita Jo (Edited)
00:02:45

Lester Abrams, ComposerLyricist - Bobby Ross Avila, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - Issiah J. Avila, ComposerLyricist - Steve Hodge, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - IAN CROSS, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Iz, Producer, Co-Producer - Matt Marrin, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

3
Exhibition
00:02:27

Dallas Austin, Composer, Producer - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kevin "KD" Davis, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Sheppard, Engineer, Recording Engineer, Sound Design, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - JANET JACKSON, Composer, MainArtist - Gregory "Ruckus" Andrews, Composer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

4
Strawberry Bounce (Edited)
00:03:10

Jeffrey Atkins, ComposerLyricist - Irving Lorenzo, ComposerLyricist - JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kanye West, Producer, ComposerLyricist - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jun Ishizeki, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jay Z, ComposerLyricist - Roc The World, Producer - Tony "Prof T" Tolbert, ComposerLyricist - Rob Mays, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

5
My Baby
00:04:17

JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kanye West, Producer, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - IAN CROSS, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean Garrett, ComposerLyricist - Roc The World, Producer - Joni-Ayanna Portee, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

6
The Islands (Interlude)
00:00:38

JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Jam for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

7
Spending Time With You (Edited)
00:04:14

Bobby Ross Avila, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - Issiah J. Avila, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Hodge, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - IAN CROSS, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Iz, Producer, Co-Producer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

8
Magic Hour (Interlude)
00:00:23

JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Jam for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

9
Island Life
00:03:53

Lee Groves, Programmer - JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer - Scott Storch, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cathy Dennis, ComposerLyricist - David Treahearn, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Rob Haggett, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - IAN CROSS, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kevin Hunter, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Jam for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Kameron Houff, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

10
All Nite (Don't Stop)
00:03:26

Anders Bagge, ComposerLyricist - Arnthor Birgisson, ComposerLyricist - Paul Jackson, ComposerLyricist - Tony Tolbert, ComposerLyricist - TERRY LEWIS, ComposerLyricist - HERBIE HANCOCK, ComposerLyricist - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Melvin M. Ragin, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America Inc.

11
R&B Junkie
00:03:10

John Hanes, Engineer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Roberts, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - JIMMY JAM, Producer, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Michael Jones, ComposerLyricist - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ghian Wright, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - IAN CROSS, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Iz, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Jam for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Tony "Prof T" Tolbert, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

12
I Want You
00:04:12

Harold Lilly, ComposerLyricist - Burt Bacharach, ComposerLyricist - Hal David, ComposerLyricist - Kanye West, Producer, ComposerLyricist - John Stephens, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist - Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Producer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America Inc.

13
Like You Don't Love Me (Edited)
00:03:39

Bobby Ross Avila, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - Mark Hall, ComposerLyricist - Steve Hodge, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Brian "Big Bass" Gardner, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist - IAN CROSS, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Issiah Avila, ComposerLyricist - Iz, Producer, Co-Producer - Matt Marrin, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lolita Gooden, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

14
Thinkin' Bout My Ex
00:04:23

JANET JACKSON, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Gass, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Boutin, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Edward Quesada, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Babyface, Producer, Musician, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - A. Cramer, ComposerLyricist - Tanya White, ComposerLyricist - John Gass, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Freckles, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

15
It All Comes Down To Love (Interlude)
00:00:38

JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Jam for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

16
Truly
00:03:58

Bobby Ross Avila, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Hodge, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JIMMY JAM, Producer, Drums, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Ghian Wright, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - IAN CROSS, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Iz, Electric Guitar, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Xavier Smith , Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brad Yost , Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jimmy Jam for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

17
The One (Interlude)
00:01:01

JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

18
SloLove (Edited)
00:03:44

Anders Bagge, ComposerLyricist - Arnthor Birgisson, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Shellie Poole, ComposerLyricist - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JANET JACKSON, Producer, Recording Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - BAG, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Danvers, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

19
Country (Interlude)
00:00:30

JIMMY JAM, Producer - TERRY LEWIS, Producer, ComposerLyricist - JAMES HARRIS, ComposerLyricist - JANET JACKSON, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Jam for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer - Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions Inc, Producer

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

20
Just A Little While
00:04:11

Dallas Austin, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Tony Reyes, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Kevin "KD" Davis, Mixer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Sheppard, Engineer, Recording Engineer, Sound Design, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - JANET JACKSON, Vocals, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cesar Guevara, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Doug Hars, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2004 Black Doll Inc. ℗ 2004 Virgin Records America, Inc.

Albumbeschreibung

"Relax, it's just sex," Janet Jackson murmurs at the conclusion of "Sexhibition," the third song on her eighth album, Damita Jo. Those words were recorded long before Jackson wound up America with her breast-baring exploits at the halftime show at the 2004 Super Bowl, but they nevertheless play like an casual response to the hysteria that engulfed the nation following her infamous "wardrobe malfunction." But, really, they're there to head off any criticism that could be leveled at Damita Jo, yet another album that finds Janet exploring her sexuality, a voyage she's been on for about 11 years (Magellan and his crew circled the globe in a third that time, but hey, who's counting?). While sex indisputably fuels much great pop music, it isn't an inherently fascinating topic for pop music -- as with anything, it all depends on the artist. Prince, of course, found an endless amount of ways to write intriguingly about sex, since it fired his imagination, a quality that has been missing on Janet's albums since 1993's janet.. With its preponderance of slow-tempo, sensual grooves, sexual imagery, occasional up-tempo jams, and endless spoken interludes, it provided the blueprint for every record she made since, from the heavy eroticism of 1997's The Velvet Rope to the bedroom sighs of 2001's All for You. The latter suggested that she was abandoning the explicitness of The Velvet Rope, but Damita Jo proves that she was merely flirting with modesty, since it's as explicit as pop music gets. Actually, it's the aural equivalent of hardcore pornography -- it leaves nothing to the imagination and it's endlessly repetitive. Like a porn star, Janet adopts an alter ego built on her middle name ("There's another side that you will never know: Damita Jo"), provides detailed oral-sex manuals with "Warmth" and "Moist," nicknames her clitoris, and tosses around allusions to a variety of taboo sex acts; in this context, all the interview snippets scattered throughout the record -- "I love curling up with a good book and relaxing by the ocean with my baby," "When you look at me, do you want me?" -- recall nothing less than a Playboy or Penthouse centerfold confessing her turn-ons. Such doggedly literal lyrics lack any sensuality, and weigh Damita Jo down. If the music had its own sensuality or spark, it'd be easier to forgive or overlook Jackson's whispered vulgarities, but the album's slow grooves blend together, lacking rhythmic or melodic hooks. Jackson disappears into the productions, once again largely the responsibility of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, becoming part of the arrangement instead of standing in front of it. And while there are a couple of cuts that do cut through the slow-groove loops -- on the slower side, "I Want You" has a verse that's memorable, while "Just a Little While" is a good dance tune -- they pale next to the hits from All for You; that they stand out on Damita Jo says more about the album than the songs themselves. Ironically, for an album with so much sex on its mind, it's not a good make-out record because its grooves are cold and Janet's ceaseless dirty talk spoils whatever mood the music had struggled to create. Once, Ms. Jackson's sexual obsession was indeed sexy and erotic, but by this point, it's not just tired, it's embarrassing.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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