Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday : Janet Jackson 20 Y.O.

I’m still on a musical high after seeing Janet Jackson in concert last night, so of course, she will get some more love. I decided to revisit her ninth album, 2006’s 20 Y.O., for this week’s Second Listen Sunday.

Following an unfair lukewarm response to 2004’s Damita Jo, Jackson decided it was time for a change. Initially, Janet worked with Hip Hop heavyweight producers The Neptunes, Dr. Dre, Kwamé, and Polow Da Don. Allegedly the entire concept was bananas, but Jermaine Dupri Jackson’s boyfriend at the time and label division president changed the vibe. 
The new vision of the album was a celebration of what was happening musically when Janet’s third solo and breakthrough, Control, hit stores in 1986. Primarily Janet’s longtime collaborators Jam & Lewis, along with Dupri, oversaw the production. In addition, Johnta Austin, Manuel Seal, The Avilla Brothers, and No I.D. graced Janet with some magic.
“Call On Me” was the album’s first single. A mid-tempo featuring ballad featuring Nelly was the perfect way to kick off the summer. In essence, the main idea conveyed by “Call On Me” is to take the initiative and seek out a companion or a sympathetic ear whenever necessary. “So Excited” was the album’s second single and featured another Hip Hop artist in the form of female rapper Khia.

While Khia had a colossal hit four years prior with “My Neck, My Back (Lick It),” let’s be honest, she was never an A-list rapper. To this day, I question why Missy, Shawna, or Trina wasn’t on the track, as all three were more popular at the time. Upon reflection, the song’s lackluster performance on the charts might fall on its message of a woman’s submission to her lover conveyed through its lyrics.

The final single from the album was the ballad “With U.” Before the album’s release, I remember reading an article with Dupri saying it would be a massive hit for Janet. The song “With U” was intentionally created as a continuation of Jackson’s 1986 single “Let’s Wait Awhile,” which depicted two characters postponing intimacy. However, “With U” delves into the aftermath of the act and the ensuing perplexity in the relationship.

The rest of the project carries a somewhat eccentric vibe. “Show Me,” “Get It Out Me,” and “Do It Me” aren’t necessarily bad songs but seem better suited for Ciara. Thankfully Janet has some magic left in the form of “Daybreak,” which harks back to “Escapade” and “Runaway.”  “Enjoy” is a lovely song that puts the listener in a blissful mood and should have been the second single.
Janet closes the project with two ballads, “Take Care” and ” Love 2 Love”. “Take Care” finds Janet exploring the themes of self-pleasure in a tasteful mood. At the same time, “Love 2 Love” is a sultry ode to the intensity and pleasure experienced in a relationship when two people genuinely love and desire each other.
Despite a few questionable song choices, by no means is 20 Y.O.  a lousy album. I understand the vibe Janet and her producers were going for. However, it may have been too much for the masses with eleven songs, an introduction, three interludes, and an outro. 

I often ask, would the response have been better if the album only had nine songs similar to Control? Nevertheless, some songs on 20 Y.O. are worth adding to your playlist.
Final Grade: B

20 Y.O is available on all streaming platforms

Movie Clappers

More reviews to explorer

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

A beloved background character takes center stage in Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin

Apple TV+ keeps Charles Schultz’s legacy alive in the latest special, Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin. Raymond S. Persi directed the film, and the script was written by Robb Armstrong, Bryan Schultz, Craig Schultz, and Cornelius Uliano. An origin story of Peanuts’ most beloved characters, the film follows a boy named Franklin and his approach to making new friends.

Kings From Queens validates there is none higher than RUN DMC

Esteemed documentary filmmaker Kirk Fraser utilizes his talents to give flowers to one of Hip Hop’s iconic groups in Kings From Queens: The RUN DMC Story. The tripartite series presents a narrative previously untold about RUN DMC, arguably the most pivotal rap ensemble in music history. Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell came together on the unassuming streets of Hollis, Queens, before evolving into celebrated bastions of hip-hop culture—a genre once dismissed by critics as merely transitory.

Ted is a hilarious prequel series

Comedic television writer Seth MacFarlane brings one of his screen creations to the small screen in the prequel series Ted. The show is set in 1993; after the first film’s opening sequence and following a linear plot, the series depicts the early life of a sentient teddy bear toy named Ted, who lives with John Bennett (Max Burkholder) and his family in Massachusetts. John’s family members include his dad, Matt (Scott Grimes), mom, Susan (Alana Ubach), and cousin, Blaire (Giorgia Whigham). In the past, MacFarlane has mentioned that he’s always seen the character of Ted as one that’s character-based as opposed to premise-based, so there are numerous angles that he could have taken.