Thursday, December 13, 2007

Janet Returns with Feel Good "Feedback"

Yesterday I did my first public reading of an excerpt from my forthcoming memoir, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay D.C.(Atria/Simon & Schuster). It was a chapter about one of my biggest career breaks, interviewing Janet Jackson for a March 2001 VIBE magazine cover story. (My second VIBE cover story on Janet from last year made international headlines.) So imagine my surprise – and intense feeling of serendipity – when I arrived home and saw that Janet's new single, "Feedback," had leaked on the internet. As a longtime Janet follower, I always have a bunch of questions running through my mind when I hear her new stuff: Do I like it? Will others like it? Will it make MTV stop buggin' and embrace her again? But about halfway through "Feedback," I just relaxed and started enjoying it.

The song -- an uptempo cut about, well, basically just being sexy -- is produced by Rodney Jerkins, but its electro-thump reminds me of classic Rockwilder joints like Method Man and Redman's "Da Rockwilder" and Rah Digga's underrated "Party and Bullshit 2003." What I like best about "Feedback," though, is that the feel is classic Janet. Miss Jackson has always separated herself from other pop provocateurs by the way she infuses her expressions of sexuality with warmth and fun. Even when singing lines like "these girls out here hatin' 'cause I'm sexy," she comes across more playful than arrogant, and it's nice to hear her having such a good time. The intense public scrutiny she's been under for the past few years had to have taken its toll, and it was hard not to hear that in the music. But "Feedback" makes it sound like she's ready to let go again, and it's high time that people stop making her pay for all of pop culture's ills and simply let her do her thing.

"Feedback" song:
Janet - Feedback - Single - Feedback

"Feedback" video:

My two Janet cover stories:

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