This Janet Jackson article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells
Janet Jackson is certainly a woman willing to move with the times. Her 2015 release ‘Unbreakable’ won’t cause any musical revolutions. It certainly proves that, despite being in the business for over twenty-five years, she’s still got the ability to bash out a groovy album. After a seven year gap, Jackson returns with a fresh sound whilst still staying true to her Retro-Pop routes. It is rarely disputed how lovely Jackson’s voice is, and she certainly delivers vocally in ‘Unbreakable’ using all the bells and whistles of a solid producer to her advantage. J Cole and Missy Eliot join Jackson on a few tracks, but still remains as the main event here. ‘Unbreakable’ wont blow your mind with its complexity, but the first half is an enjoyable listen and, at times makes you want to dance.
There is definitely a sense here that Jackson is staying true to the kind of music that made her famous in the 80’s and 90’s. Tracks like ‘Dammn Baby’ feature a clinky Synth sound that features in a lot of sugary Pop songs of that era. ‘Dreamer/Euphoria’ mashes up an Isley Brothers harmony with an almost Trap-style beat, which works extremely well. A few songs seem a little more current in their design however; a particular stand out track is ‘BURNITUP’ featuring Missy Eliot. This song certainly gets you moving and features a solid kick beat and groove.
Jackson’s smooth vocals are what carry this album forward. She’s been doing this for a long time and she certainly knows how to exploit her voice. ‘2 B Loved’ includes some nice harmonies which give it an almost Disney-esc mood. As mentioned before, ‘Unbreakable’ isn’t going to impress you for its lyrical complexity; that’s not what it’s for. Jackson’s songs are built for sing-alongs and neon-lit karaoke bars rather than in the playlists of serious musos.
Unfortunately the second half of ‘Unbreakable’ is sadly lacking in much substance and it’s actually a challenge to tell the final few tracks apart from each other. All of them fit snugly into the category of Power Ballad, which is territory that Jackson has tackled before and with better results.
Overall Janet Jackson has once again created a solid (if slightly long) album, and will no doubt do well in terms of sales. The second half of the album isn’t worth your time, but the first few tracks have some enjoyable dance elements with some nice retro twists.
‘Unbreakable’ is out now Via Rhythm Nation.
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