Photo in courtesy of Billboard.com
by Giovanni Ortiz
Janet is back. Fans have awaited Janet Jackson’s return to the music industry for seven years. “Unbreakable,” her eleventh album, went No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and stands out on its own with its classic R&B and Hip-Hop sound.
Jackson’s soft voice sings atop harmonies and dance-beat bass that reminisces of what contemporary R&B and Hip-Hop was built on. The title track, “Unbreakable,” opens to the album the way any good comeback album should begin, with a song dedicated to her fans.
However, the album also offers her sweet voice over piano and orchestra ballads. “After You Fall” a ballad offered on the album showed an even softer side of Jackson, coinciding with the album’s themes of love, resilience and strength.
The singer, best known for her album “Rhythm Nation,” still embraces her reputation as one of the greatest female Hip-Hop dancers with the song “Dammn Baby,” which sounds as if it could have fit on the album. The song opens with a man yelling “damn, baby, baby” and Jackson– sounding much like her younger self– saying, “I gotta hear me” and sucking her teeth saying “damn.”
Jackson does dedicate a song to her late brother, Michael Jackson, in “Broken Hearts Heal,” which is surprisingly upbeat and positive. The song reminisces on times she spent with her brother with lyrics like, “We made-up songs to do our chores to/ And harmonized while we all did our part.” She also closes the song with the lyrics, “Til the next life, inshallah.” In Arabic, “Inshallah” means “if Allah wills it.”
Jackson also channeled her brother’s singing style, such as his short cracks and chokes as he breathed in some of her songs, more noticeable in “Shoulda Known Better.”
Songs “Dream Maker/Euphoria,” “Lesson Learned,” “Black Eagle,” and the minute long interlude “Promise” resembled 90s Sade with soft vocals and quick.
“Gon’ Be Alright” featured her doing all the voices, all the high and low voices, and often played different characters to finish the song that squeezed itself onto the album.
Even though the album as a whole shows the dynamics of Jackson as a musician, there are songs that did seem a bit bland. “The Great Forever” and “2 Be Loved” were two songs that were boring although they were upbeat.
She also offered a thank you to the all those who helped work on the album and even offered a funny snippet of her talking to Jimmy Jam, one of the producers on the album.