I wanted to stand by Janet Jackson during Nipplegate in 2004 — really, I did. I had intended to march down to the music shop on the day Damita Jo was released to show my support for Miss Jackson, to stand against the histronics of a conservative agenda run amok.
But I hedged my bets.
I jumped on the Evil Sharing Networks to see if I could afford to spend the cash to show such support, and after listening to the album, I couldn’t bring myself to subsidize it. In the same manner that I wouldn’t buy a Dixie Chicks album just because they pissed off some conservative blowhards, taste overrode political action.
Janet’s 2006 follow-up, 20 Y.O., garnered the same response. But the problem stems much further back — as far back as 1997 and The Velvet Rope. The production team that struck platinum with Control, Rhythm Nation 1814 and (to a lesser extent creatively) janet. started to show signs of wear. By 2001’s All for You, the well was tapped dry.
Ruts are comfortable, and for most of the new millennium, Janet has been very comfortable. After some very high-profile label changes, she finally did what she should have done a decade back — work with new people.
Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam have done much to foster Janet as a talent in her own right, but at some point, kids need to move out of their parents’ house. Discipline is the much-delayed sound of Janet exerting independence once again.