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All Grown Up - And Nasty!
"All For You" Continues Jackson's History of Combining Personal and Career Growth 

Janet Jackson's music has always mirrored her personal and professional life.   She first burst onto the music scene in with 1986 with a runaway smash which detailed her own struggle to gain "Control."  Each successive album chronicled Jackson's emotional and personal growth, uncovering previously unexplored aspects of Jackson's personality.  In light of

her recent and much-publicized personal hardships, one might expect Jackson's latest offering - "All For You" - to be much darker and certainly a lot more angry. 

Instead, even on the heels of her (secret) marriage's very public, very bitter break-up, with very few exceptions, Jackson dishes out more of the same bubbly, upbeat music and lyrics.  This time her disc is steeped in a distinctive 70s funk-oriented groove - whether courtesy of samples or a surprise guest appearance by superstar Carly Simon.  Further, the woman who once demanded the world call her "Miss Jackson" drops her last name altogether and shows that she herself is the nasty one!

The dance-ready title track not only amassed an impressive four-week reign as Jackson's 10th #1 single, its provocative opening lyrics also sets the stage for what's to come.  "He's got a nice package alright/Guess I'm going to have to ride it tonight" Jackson chirps within the first 30 seconds of "All For You." 

Anyone shocked by this certainly won't want to hear Jackson as she later coos out her list of wants and intentions in "Would You Mind."  "I'm gonna kiss you, taste you, suck you, ride you," she moans during a five-and-a-half-minute, sex-drenched number that would make Prince proud.  Finally she asks, "Baby, would you mind coming inside me, letting your juices free, deep in my passion?"  Nasty indeed!

Jackson shifts gears and vents a bit on such tracks as "Trust a Try" and "Truth."  Both address the emotional scars of deceit and trickery - which inevitably come with a break-up such as hers. The driving "Trust a Try" is reminiscent of the angrier portions of "You", the split-personality track found on 1998's "The Velvet Rope." 

"Truth" seems the most personal of all the tracks on the album - and certainly the most directly influenced by the break-up.  "I had a career before, now didn't I?  I had lots of friends before, now didn't I?" she purrs across funk-inflected beats.  "Guess without you my life was nothing . . . Let's say we disagree."  OUCH!

Jackson and guest vocalist Carly Simon address this kind of ego with "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)".  Tapping into the chorus of her 1973 #1 smash "You're So Vain",

Janet Jackson, 2001

Simon and Jackson make an impressive duo.  A radio edit, which would have to address both the length of the cut (over seven minutes!) and Jackson's excessive use of "Mother-fucker"(!), could land Simon back in the Top 10 for the first time in nearly two decades.

Thankfully, Jackson isn't completely jaded by her recent experiences.  The delicious slow-jam "Feels So Right" is both optimistic and happy.  Additionally, she takes responsibility for her own attitude and fate in "Better Days."

All things considered, Jackson is at her best when serving energy-packed dance beats like "You Ain't Right."  For further proof, look at the title cut or the against-all-odds "Doesn't Really Matter" - a #1 single previously available on "The Nutty Professor 2:  The Klumps" soundtrack.

Jackson effectively turns the tempo up on "Come On Get Up."  Featuring a distinctive, house-heavy beat and phenomenal drum-and-bass underscore, "Come On" is a remix-ready toe-tapper screaming for a masterful DJ and a dance-floor.

The most radio-accessible track is "Someone to Be My Lover," featuring a sample from the 1972 America hit "Ventura Highway."  The cut will easily bridge the gap between Jackson traditionalists and those who enjoy the current girl-pop sound found at radio. Instantly memorable, "Someone" features a sing-along chorus and an equally dance-friendly beat.  Perfect for summer, "Someone" is appropriately slated to be Jackson's second release from the disc.

For those desiring Janet's familiar groove - combined with a healthy dose of maturity - "All For You" is going to fill the need.  For her exhusband Rene Elizondo, Jr., it will serve as a reminder that this is a woman whose vows might be broken but her spirit - and string of career successes - is not.

Click here to buy "All For You"
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