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Janet Jackson Discipline [review]

You gotta love how Janet Jackson came out the gate with her first Island Def Jam release, Discipline, and hit #1 in its first week. Was it truly a #1 album, though? Let's rock a sober track-fi-track on this album:

Quick intro. Kind of on some futuristic shit, but it's essentially Janet typing into a PC and getting the album going. What's the point, though - Janet on that next level?

Sadly, this just misses the mark for me. That "first day period" line was just a tad too raunchy, kind of like when Michael Jackson dropped that "kike" line years back. Can't help it - it's hard to see these stars grow old when you still see reruns of Janet as Penny on Good Times... this is kind of like NC-17 Ciara.

This one hits me nicer. Nice electro-bop to this one, Darkchild did the damn thing on this one. You would wish that more artists would tempt that new-er sound but still maintain their singular personality, and I think Janet hits this one on the mark.

Why does Janet keep doing these less-than-ten-seconds interludes?

Sounds like all of the similies and lines 50 Cent didn't use in "Amusement Park" made it into this track.

"Bathroom Break"
Janet and her girls talkin' girl-talk in the potty. "What yo' name is?"

"Rock With U"
"Sensual Seduction" + 4/4 kicks - the wit and soul = "Rock With U". Kind of surprised she didn't invoke MJ, who had a classic jam of the same name.

Another electro-infused number. You'd think after a few of these not working, Janet would decide to try something different. Hopefully we get more sounds in the later tracks...

"Can't B Good"
Weird track, lyrically. Homegirl is fallin' in love, and the assumption is that she's been hurt before, so she's telling herself this feeling just isn't right. I like that take on it, because you don't hear those emotions dropped so simply, especially over such a cool, calm track like this.

"4 Words"
Another short interlude. Yawn.

"Never Letchu Go"
And another yawn at a snoozer of a track. That Isley Brothers/Santana-lite guitar in the beginning was unnecessary, and the rest of the track comes off like Timbaland trying to be Prince. Just a waste of space.

"Truth Or Dare"
While I'd love to play truth or dare with Janet, I don't need an interlude for this...

"Greatest X"
The-Dream and "Tricky" Stewart contribute to this project, and it's definitely not as hot as lot of the tracks they've done in the past. Janet lamenting on a great ex doesn't really amount to much, especially since there's no real resolution come the end of the track.

"Good Morning Janet"
Wakey, wakey Janet. Stop doing these asinine interludes.

"So Much Betta"
This is the track for the chicks who are the other woman in a relationship. Jermaine Dupri produces a minimal track that I actually felt right from the jump. It's not in the liner notes, but I swear that loop throughout the track is from Daft Punk's first CD. This one is a bit different - still on the current sound, but twisted a bit for the average listener. I wish it was a bit longer, too, but so be it...

"Play Selection"
Hi computer person, end interlude.

"The 1 (ft. Missy Elliott)"
Kind of a subdued version of Amerie's "1 Thing", this one could be a lot hotter than this, it seems. I like the percussion, and I even dig Janet's playful vocals bouncing all over, but it just feels like it's missing something.

"What's Ur Name"
Janet talkin' that slick talk to the nameless cat walking down the street. Oh God, she said swag. Next.

"The Meaning"
What's the meaning of discipline? Janet gives you her favorites. I wish she could discipline herself to stop making pointless interludes.

Lyrically, this one plays like a Penthouse letter - teasing, enticing and, for lack of a better term, cum-drenched. Seductive pace, all slow and heavy, with twinkling keys and beautiful harmonies. Sad thing is, you'd wish she did more tracks like this...

The last interlude. Thank God.

Simple bounce on this one. Janet hitting that higher octave nicely over a basic bop. The metaphor of the show is a nice touch.

At the end of the day, while I admire Janet for stepping up and really trying to come out with the sound of now, it comes off as forced and uninspired. The reason tracks like "Umbrella" or the Justin Timberlake/Timbaland collaborations work is because they sound more fun that "attempts to make money". We get glimpses of that here, but with a CD that's packed with these mid-to-up-tempo electro Pop tracks, it just doesn't work as a Janet Jackson CD. It does get it right a few times, and that is appreciated.

rock the dub gives Discipline a 3 out of 5 stars. What it gets right, it gets all the way right. And while more tracks miss the mark than they should, they can still be enjoyable for the diehard Janet fan. But those interludes have got to go!

Burn Deez:
"So Much Betta", "Can't B Good", "Discipline", "Curtains"

Janet Jackson's Discipline is available in stores now.

Bonus Beats: Discipline DVD preview

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