VINYL REVIEW: Janet Jackson, Discipline – BLACKLISTED

In my last article, I discussed how there needs to be justice for Janet Jackson. The entertainment industry has blacklisted Jackson since her Super Bowl performance. In a recent conversation, I was challenged on whether I could prove that she had truly been ostracized by Hollywood and the music elite.

And yes, yes I can. Since the wardrobe malfunction, that was in part caused by Justin Timberlake despite the conspiracy theory you subscribe too, here are a few ways Janet has been blacklisted:

  • The NFL, CBS, and MTV asked that Jackson make an apology, but not Timberlake
  • The Grammys were the next week. Jackson and Timberlake were scheduled to present and perform. Jackson was banned from the show, but Timberlake was allowed to perform
  • Clear Channel Communications, who owned MTV, removed all of Jackson’s singles and videos from rotation, but you could still see JT’s latest video, “Rock Your Body”*

Needless to say, the Super Bowl mishap  resulted in the mistreatment of Janet Jackson. Now you can disagree with this statement, but you cannot disagree with the FACT that Timberlake came out nearly unharmed.

Disclaimer: I am a Timberlake fan and thoroughly enjoyed his performance. The argument is that Janet was treated harsher and is ultimately unforgiven to this day, while Timberlake got a free pass.


 

Since the 2004 Super Bowl Janet Jackson has released 4 studio albums. Although I cannot claim these are her greatest works (How do you get over The Velvet Rope and Janet?), they are still excellent mid-2000’s R&B. I have decided to write over a few of these albums to provide some Jackson insight.

First, I would like to start with my favorite from the blacklisted era, Discipline. This album was released in 2008 and was given lukewarm reviews. Four singles were released from the album.

The album opens with an interlude from Janet. During this interlude, it sounds like she is entering a hyperbolic chamber with a digital assistant who is much more inept then Siri. The album then goes straight into “Feedback,” the lead single. This song is heavy on percussion and bass, while providing a futuristic tone through selective autotune on Jackson’s vocals. The song went on to chart at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has become a staple in her live performances.

After a few more compositions and a “bathroom break,” we are met with “Rock With U.” Personally, this is my favorite track off the album. Jackson delivers another pounding club ready composition with slow and sultry vocals. With hints of disco, this song should rank amongst her best.

 

Discipline is heavy on the club bangers, but it also has its fair share of ballads. The songs “Can’t Be Good” and “Greatest X Ever” are again met with Jackson’s sultry purr. These are a reminder of the iconic sound she has created throughout her catalog.

Now I can’t leave out “The 1” feat. Missy Elliot. Every song these ladies touch together is irresistible. Missy’s candor mixed with Jackson’s vulnerable, yet sexy tones, always create a classic.

Janet closes the album with “Discipline” and “Curtains.” “Discipline” is the sexiest track on the whole album and I don’t even feel comfortable typing half its lyrics. Needless to say, it’s my second favorite track. This is one of Janet’s sexiest tracks since “Rope Burn” in 1997. “Curtains” takes on this same vibe, but with a faster tempo.


Discipline is not the top-notch in Janet’s belt, but it’s in no way the last. It seems there was a lot of drama behind the scenes of this album, causing riffs between Janet’s camp and Island records. The promotion was stopped shortly after the album’s release by Island, causing the album to quickly lose commercial traction.

Jackson said she named the album Discipline because of all the work she had put into her career thus far. Nobody can get as far as Jackson without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I think this album could have been a smash if it wasn’t for two reasons. First, was Island dropping promotion. Second, was the industry’s and public’s non-forgiving nature to the 2004 Super Bowl just four years earlier. 

Personally, I think everybody was just being nasty.

*https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/super-bowl/8007041/janet-jackson-justin-timberlake-2004-super-bowl-what-happened

Album Reviews Rhythm and Blues Soul Music

Gabe Crawford View All →

Christian. Oklahoman. American. Vinyl enthusiast.

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