According to Hits Daily Double, Janet Jackson's Discipline will enter the charts at #1 next week with Erykah Badu's New AmErykah following at #2. Janet's tenth studio release is expected to move somewhere around 180,000 units by the time the official numbers are released. Badu provided healthy competition this week with a stellar album that's garnering mostly positive reviews. Janet, on the other hand, seems to have a higher hill to climb critically.
Entertainment Weekly's Margeaux Watson:
"If you thought the 41-year-old Jackson, not unlike Madonna and Prince,
would drop the nympho shtick and embrace more age-appropriate
songwriting and production instead of competing with the Beyoncés and
Rihannas of today...you'd be wrong."
The Boston Globe's Joan Anderman
decision to recycle the nympho routine one more time is just boring.
Even Prince and Madonna, who find endlessly interesting ways to sing
about sex, have discovered in the onset of middle age an opportunity to
investigate alternative topics. On "Discipline" Jackson, now 41,
follows her favorite blueprint, alternating narcotic spoken interludes
with uptempo dance cuts and slinky jams."
Rocky Mountain News' Mark Brown:
"Songs like the unlistenable So Much Betta seem childish and
pointless, with the double-entendres and sexual insinuations delivered
in an electronically processed baby voice. The spoken "interludes"
between the songs are a tired imitation of R&B from the '90s."
Yes, Janet, how dare you have a libido at 41? Sex talk sounds so much more believable and alluring coming from the mouths of 18-year-olds, or 50-year-old men. Or 41-year-old white women. (I'm going to break the wall here and link to my own review on my personal site, in which I point out that the album, overall, isn't about sex. In fact, there are trifle few songs that even invoke sex. I actually listened to Discipline before reviewing it.)
To be fair, there are good reviews out there if you look hard enough.
The Village Voice's Carol Cooper:
"I must admit that Discipline is the most cohesive deep-groove album from La Jackson since Control.
Considering that none of her current producers (most notably Rodney
"Darkchild" Jerkins, Ne-Yo, and Jermaine Dupri) are particularly known
for underground house anthems, the after-hours dance beats that
jet-propel you through the first six full songs."
AMG's Andy Kellman (who manages to employ some modicum of common sense and objectivity):
Leave the teasing and explicitness to the teens and younger twenty-somethings -- not the grown women -- right? Janet should get back to making sunny, uncomplicated songs like "Escapade" and pretend that the occasional-to-frequent salaciousness extending back to Control never existed. She should do that and, while she is at it, act her age. (When the three years younger R. Kelly releases his next album, no protests of a similar nature will be heard; ditto whenever the Rolling Stones perform "Brown Sugar.") While Discipline is dressed up like a racy affair with track-to-track titillation, it has only a couple moments where Janet takes the S&M imagery further, and more deeply personal, than she did on The Velvet Rope; the majority of its subject matter relates to the more common elements of relationships....Janet probably won't hit that late-'80s peak again, but that is no excuse to write her off."
Good luck, Penny!