Album Reviews

Photo

Janet Jackson

The Velvet Rope  Hear it Now

RS: 3.5of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars

2000

Play View Janet Jackson's page on Rhapsody

Janet Jackson talks too much. Seven of the 22 tracks on "The Velvet Rope" are so-called interludes -- spoken-word pieces meant to lend extra dramatic gravity to a record already heavy with moral instruction. It's as if Jackson doesn't trust the thrust of her music -- the Prince-style electrogallop of "Free Xone," the drum-and-bass crackle of "Empty" -- or the stout heart in her buttery singing to carry the load. And the message itself is confusing: a lecture in tolerance and tearing down walls by a woman who routinely positions herself on record, in public, as an object of worship. Except for those rare, explosive episodes when Jackson truly loses herself in the locomotion -- the happy house beats of "Together Again," the hopping-mad cadence of "What About" -- "The Velvet Rope" feels like a grand exercise in contrived honesty.

Jackson wants you to believe she's a woman in charge. Ani DiFranco doesn't care what you think; she's been running her own show from the ground up for years. "Living in Clip" is a career-defining package, an indie-rebel-folk "Frampton Comes Alive" that celebrates DiFranco's entrepreneurial savvy, the iconoclastic vigor of her songwriting and her prowess as a performer. In agenda and mood, she evokes improbable but wholly believable flashes of Pete Seeger, Chrissie Hynde, "Blood on the Tracks"-era Bob Dylan and -- come on, go with this -- an acoustic, well-tempered Hole. But if there is plenty of punk here, it's punk as autonomous action and dedicated purpose -- a work ethic of the heart: "I just write about what I should have done/I sing what I wish I could say/And I hope somewhere, some woman hears my music/And it helps her through her day" ("I'm No Heroine"). That goes for guys as well. (RS 776/777)

(Posted: Dec 18, 1997)

Advertisement

News and Reviews

loading...

Click "Copy Me" to add the RS.com Widget to your Facebook page, blog, MySpace page and more.

Advertisement


How to Play This Album
  • Click the play button.

  • Register or enter your username and password.

  • Let the music play!

No commitment.
It's FREE.

 

 

Everything:Janet Jackson

Main | Biography | Articles | Album Reviews | Photos | Videos | Discography | Music Store

 


Advertisement

Advertisement