Friday, 24 May 2013
Turn It Up!: Janet Jackson - If (Music Video)
"I've Closed My Eyes & Thought Of Us A Hundred Different Way."
This past Saturday marked the 20th Anniversary of the release of "janet." (1993), Janet Jackson's 5th studio album, and since it's one of my favorite albums of all time, I wanted to add one of it's hit songs. The album came out at a time when I was just starting to discover who I might become (sexually speaking) and the importance of being responsible with this aspect of my life, so it (along with Madonna's Erotica album) really informed this period in my growing up.
"If" (released July 13, 1993) was the second single from "janet." and is lyrically about a girl who sexually fantasizes about a guy and what she would do to him if he weren't with another girl (don't be man-stealing, Janet). The sexual content of the song, and the album in general, was at the forefront of discussion among critics when the album was first released. Until that time, Janet had a relatively squeaky clean image, never showing much skin (except for her video for Love Will Never Do Without You, which bared her midriff) and rarely sang about sexual desires until this release which was dubbed as her "Sexual Awakening". Although the topic on everyone's lips were lyrics like "Your smooth and shiny feels so good against my lips, sugar", critics were also impressed by Janet's fusion of rock and trip hop funk music as well as her vocal performance which starts with a low vocal chant at the beginning of the verses and then swings up into a strong melodic pre-chorus. Also to be noted is the orchestral flourish sampling from Diana Ross and The Supremes' classic song "Someday We'll Be Together" which opens the instrumental bridge, and explosive dance break scene in the video, which is arguably one of Janet's most acclaimed and heralded dance performances ever.
Speaking of choreography, the music video for this single was a dance extravaganza (as you can see). Set in a futuristic Asian nightclub and choreographed by Omar Lopez and Tina Landon (who was not only Janet's choreographer but also one of her back up dancers), the intricate "Look but don't touch!" choreography was the perfect fit for the story behind the song.
As a little bonus, I've just read that during a recent interview with Billboard Magazine, Miss Jackson (if you're nasty) has announced that she if finally working on the follow up to her 2008 release "Discipline".
“I am working on a new project now. We are creating the concept and initial thoughts on the music,” she said. “I am excited about the direction we are taking. I don’t want to rush it… I don’t want to put a time constraint on the creative process.”