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Janet Jackson

The Velvet Rope

Release Date: 10.07.97
Record label: virgin
Genre(s): Rock


Janet Opens Up
by: tom reiter

Janet's latest album is one of self-expression.  She shows how much she's changed since her last time around, and how open she's become.  She also uses "The Velvet Rope" to confront several issuses present today, such as homosexuality and domestic abuse.  Janet, much to the pleasing of most of her male fans, gets more sensual in not only the music, but in her music videos.

The first song, "Velvet Rope," is intro song for the album.  It has a dance beat, familiar sample, and classical music all mixed under Janet's smooth voice.  It features Vanessa Mae on the violin and a background choir by The United Children's Choir.   It's a very pretty song.  The next song, "You," is more offbeat both lyrically and musically, it's closer to rap.  It has a funky, driving bassline.   "You" is about taking responsibility for your actions.

Next comes the first single Janet released off of The Velvet Rope, "Got 'till It's Gone."   It's more of a laid back track, which features Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest and Joni Mitchell (sampled from her 1970 song "Big Yellow  Taxi").  After "My Need" is the latest release, "Go Deep."  "Go Deep" is a good dance song about goin' to a club, meetin' someone, takin' em home, and gettin the freak on!  The song also has an awesome video.  It's basically a wild house party at some dudes house.  Just as Janet is takes him up to his room, he wakes up from his dream....damn....

The next track, "Free Xone," is one on which Janet confronts the issue of homosexualality, saying that gays should be free to be what they are.  There really isn't much to the song other then that.  "Together Again," which is my favorite song on the album, is next.  I like it for both it's lyrics and it's cuz it's a great dance song. "Empty," the next track, has come cool drum progamming.  It has more of an elctronica feel..it builds in complexity throughout the song and sounds really cool.

Janet brings up an important issue in today's soceity in "What About," domestic abuse, in all forms.  It starts off laid back, as she reminisces about the good times..."we walked along the beach - what a moonlit night - he held my hand in his - he kissed me he said - I wanna spend my life with you - I want you for my wife..."  But then it switches into a more heavier, rock-style when she thinks about why she's upset..."what about the times you lied to me - what about the times you said no one would want me - what about all the shit you've done to me - what about that - what about that..."  Janet, throught variations of this refrain, brings up verbal, mental, and physical abuse, including rape and committing adultery.

The Velvet Rope finishes quietly from there.  "Every Time," another released single is on it, as well as a remake of Rod Stewart's "Tonight's The Night."   The last three tracks are slower and more musical....I was very impressed by Janet's latest, it was much better then I had expected it to be, but then again, what else can you expect from a Jackson?