With copies of UNBREAKABLE being sent to fans who had pre-ordered the album, our disc has arrived! Seven years after hearing a new Janet Jackson album for the last time, check out our first impressions of her latest album.
Unbreakable: Janet Jacksons’s latest album begins full of gratitude. The title track is surely one of the most sincere and authentic in her catalogue. This midtempo is a big thank you, a big hug to her fans. She declares loud and clear that she dedicates herself to us.
BURNITUP! (Feat. Missy Elliott): The second single is sworn to take over the dancefloors around the world. A sassy banger in all aspects. A strong instrumental, addictive chorus and a rap from Missy that makes you go bananas. It doesn’t matter if you woke up with a bad mood or if something went wrong in your day, when ‘BURNITUP!’ starts to play you’ll start moving.
Dammn Baby: One of the highlights on the album. ‘Dammn Baby‘ is, without a doubt, one of the best tracks on Unbreakable. Completely Urban-sounding, that could be eaten up by those north-american stations. “It started with a conversation in a cafe…”, and then a clear nod to ‘I Get Lonely’. We now discover where the infamous hashtag came from! ‘Baby’ is not too fast paced but will sure make us pop our booties when it comes on in our clubs.
The Great Forever: A snippet of the song had been published some time ago and got all of the fans hyped up. The chorus that we heard is a climax, and the verses are very dramatic and resounding. ‘Forever’ almost sounds like an homage to her brother Michael, both because of the instrumental, and because of how she uses her voice. “Use your expert criticism? Then maybe you could get a life.” DRAG THEM, JANET!
Shoulda Known Better: The tears start to drop for two reasons : the touching lyrics and how proud we feel of Janet. ‘Can’t feel casual ’bout casualties’. The first verses are accompanied by the piano and the instrumental grows in the chorus, with a reflection about the world we live in, everything that’s going on and about not losing the opportunity to make a change. A true anthem of social consciousness, that little push we need sometimes.
After You Fall: The first ballad on Unbreakable gets us for it’s simplicity. Janet sounds melancholic and even hurt while she asks “Who’s gonna be there after you fall?”. Clear vocals and a piano suffice. Clearly, Janet refers to personal happenings, and ‘Fall’ sounds gloomier than any of her past ballads. Still, it’s easy to relate to it.
Broken Hearts Heal: The feel brightens up and over percussion and finger snaps Janet sounds sunny like a summer morning. A great contrast to the previous song, and we feel like this is the ode to her late brother Michael.
Night: The comeback of House Music hits Janet hard. This sounds like a production from Disclosure, an electronic sound that reminds us of Mary J. Blige’s last album. The track had been mentioned by Jimmy Jam in an interview some weeks ago and had us curious about it. Well… it doesn’t let down! Despite being different from Janet’s usual style, it is a wonderful song. It has the potential to rock the dancefloors and become a fan/public favorite.
No Sleeep (Part. J. Cole): When ‘No Sleeep’ was released in April, fans were hungry for new songs from Janet. Despite the doubts that some had, saying “will launching a mid-tempo after all this time be a smart decision?” The charts say yes! ‘No Sleeep’ remains for 6 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart, bringing that nostalgia and making the world remember albums like janet. and The Velvet Rope. Oddly enough, this is the most R&B-sounding song on the album. Her vocals and J. Cole’s input made the song fit like a glove, maintaining the young aura of Night.
Dream Maker / Euphoria: This is the start of Side 2. “I see a beautiful vision of what we can create…”. This is a Motown anthem mixed with a contemporary midtempo, resembling her own ‘Curtains’ – with stronger vocals – exuding R&B.
2 B Loved: Another one that reminds us of what’s hot on Urban radio stations, in particular Chris Brown‘s work. Take everything that worked on the Discipline album, mix it with everything that has been taken for granted on 20 Y.O. and voilà, ‘2 B Loved’.
Take Me Away: When the first clues about the Unbreakable began to be revealed and people reported that Janet was playing with many genres, they weren’t lying. This song reminded us of Asia. The instrumental, the chorus and the verses could be the theme of an Anime. Obviously, all of this without abandoning the Janet Jackson signature. Celine Dion has songs that resemble ‘Take Me Away’, something unexpected from Janet, yet amazing.
Promise: Who else was missing the singer’s flirtations with Brazilian Music and Latin styles? ‘Promise’ reminded us of when Rihanna released a short piece of Birthday Cake on her album just to get us begging for more. We want an extended version right away!
Lessons Learned: To the sound of acoustic guitars, this song would fit on The Velvet Rope. Janet tells the story of a couple going through troubles, while encouraging the girl to stay strong. ‘Lessons Learned’ is one of those unexpected songs that earn a special place in our heart.
Black Eagle: Another highlight. The way Janet sings makes us imagine a mysterious night next to a campfire. “You never know unless you’ve been there”. The mood changes and suddenly ‘Black Eagle’ is soft yet mellow R&B. ‘Eagle’ is exciting. It’s a ‘simple’ song with powerful lyrics and will make you think twice, “because all lives matter … it could be you on the other end”.
Well Traveled: We’re approaching the end and it couldn’t sound more… EPIC! That’s where she got the sound to the video where she announced the tour dancers. ‘Traveled’ talks about experience, about being shaped by everything you’ve ever seen and lived over the years, and the rich instrumental reinforces this atmosphere of traveling. Another autobiographical song that any person can relate to. Janet never sounded so folk!
Gon’ B Alright: ‘What’ll I Do’ after the steroids. Janet shouts that everything is going to be alright and that if you love someone, you should tell them. A great fest to close the album, sounding like a powerful anthem of the 70’s. It reminds us of Hollywood musicals!
At age 49, Janet is in top form and Unbreakable is, in our opinion, her best album since ‘The Velvet Rope’. We’ve waited a bit, JanFam, but it was worth every second. Thanks for these songs, thanks for caring, for being there and hearing us. Thanks Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Thank You, Janet Damita Jo Jackson. Your love is unbreakable.