Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Baby’s (got) back

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Miniature Michaels have been bringing the sexy back to the Billboard Hot 100 recently — Chris Brown, meet Mario — and there's a consistent crop of baby Beyoncés too. But Cassie, Ciara and — oy! — the Pussycat Dolls are really only trickle-down versions of classic Ms. Jackson, and no one knows that better than Janet herself. That's why she can get away with a spoken-word intro on 20 Y.O., where she props herself for everything her music's covered over the years. And it's also why her versions of club bangers ("So Excited"), ballads ("With U," where she sounds like Mariah Carey covering classic Michael Jackson) and mid-tempo groove R&B ("Show Me") work so well: Janet's been doing this long enough to give these songs the depth they need to avoid becoming the continually resetting, youth-skewed blips that stagnate contemporary radio. Jermaine Dupri gets a nod too; not surprisingly he's the principal producer here, and while some of his moves on the board are too typically Jermaine, he has held enough tricks in check to make even the club-ready flash of the album's first half sound fresh. 20 Y.O. isn't flawless by any means — whether it's market forces or Janet herself overstating her own relevance, some tracks ("Call on Me," for example) fall flat. But then there's that veteran know-how again, when at the end of the album "Take Care" and "Love 2 Love" recall the subtle allure of her best moments from 1997's Velvet Rope. No question, after 20 years, Janet Jackson has proven that she still has it.

Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to jloftus@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Johnny Loftus

Read the Digital Print Issue

February 24, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation