Friday, November 18, 2011

256. The Velvet Rope- Lot's of People and Janet Jackson

Album: The Velvet Rope
Artist: Jane Jackson.
Year: 1997
Genre: Pop


1. Interlude: Twisted Elegance
2. Velvet Rope
3. You
4. Got 'til It's Gone
5. Interlude: Speaker Phone
6. My Need
7. Interlude: Fasten Your Seatbelts
8. Go Deep
9. Free Xone
10. Interlude: Memory
11. Together Again
12. Interlude: Online
13. Empty
14. Interlude: Full
15. What About
16. Every Time
17. Tonight's the Night
18. I Get Lonely
19. Rope Burn
20. Anything
21. Interlude: Sad
22. Special

Apparently this is a Janet Jackson album. Apparently it's her masterpiece and proof that she's a musical force to be reckoned with. It's her greatest statement and most important release.

Call me cynical but it's also a bit of a sham. 

Got til it's gone is probably the best example I can put forward as evidence. It's not just a good metaphor for this album but for an entire genre. It's Hip Hop in a nutshell. The song's main refrain is a slowed down sample of Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi. The "Don't know what you've got till it's gone" line is repeated constantly throughout the song.  Janet sings the occasional accompanying line with a tune that is only slightly more musical than general chatting. At just over the halfway point she hands the mic over to a rapper named Q-Tip who raps for the remainder of the song's length. The end result is apparently "A Janet Jackson song" even though it's credited to Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis, René Elizondo, Jr., Joni Mitchell and Kamaal Ibn Fareed. It took five people to write a song that is basically just a lot of backing for the good bit of the song which Joni Mitchell wrote decades before.

But it's actually not that simple. When she heard Got til it's Gone on the radio, an English singer named Des'ree recognised some of her own music in the mix and claimed it sampled her song Feel So High. She successfully sued and was consequently added as a song writer. At the same time a group of rappers calling themselves The Ummah (which included Q-Tip) claimed they were owed a production credit for their efforts. Consequently the final track listing should include seven writers and six producers, all of whom were required to effectively screw up a lovely song that Joni Mitchell recorded years before by herself with one producer behind the desk. 

So tell me how this is Janet Jackson's finest hour? How is it even a Janet Jackson song? Her voice features less than Mitchell's and Q-Tip's and what little she performs she "co-wrote and co produced" with a dozen others. 

There is nothing on this album as good as on Rhythm Nation, her other album in the countdown and personally I'd rate Big Yellow Taxi as a hundred times better than anything here.

Highlight: Joni Mitchell
Lowlight: All the annoying interludes

Influenced by: Madonna
Influenced: Please don't ask me to list their names because I honestly don't know.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "i guess the wold loves tras"

-You know someone thinks an album is trash when they can't even be bothered finishing their review.

So is this pure velvet for you or just money for old rope? Let me know below.

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