Album: Janet Jackson

Damita Jo, Virgin
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The Independent Culture

Damita Jo confirms what we already suspected: that the quality of a product is inversely proportional to the ludicrousness of the publicity stunt required to flog it. The whole pathetic Nipplegate "outrage" suggested that Damita Jo would be a sad affair, and that proves to be the case, in spades. For all the top production talent involved - among them, Jam & Lewis, Babyface, Dallas Austin and Kanye West - large parts of this album sound like nothing so much as the faux-carnal cooings and heavy breathing that Madonna employed on Erotica. Which, lest we forget, was all of a dozen years ago. Janet, you see, has in effect given us a retread of 1997's sexual concept album The Velvet Rope, with lots of tracks about how randy she feels, how she wants to fellate you ("Nothing", she assures you, "is warmer than my mouth"), the lubricious condition of her genitalia, and how she likes to lie around on a Caribbean beach before hotfooting it back to the hotel for more rumpo. The problem is that tracks such as "Sexhibition" sound just as empty and bogus as her brother's past few albums, and about as convincing a display of sexuality as his incessant crotch-grabbing. "Relax - it's just sex," she murmurs at the end of the track; but who's making all the fuss about it in the first place?

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