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Janet and Label Turn a ‘Def’ Ear to One Another

janet-suit.jpgHow fitting is it that Janet Jackson added LL Cool J, another Def Jam artist and one due to depart, to her tour? They should almost be calling it the "Eff Def Jam" tour, since Janet has recently revealed "I don't know what the future holds between the two of us. I can't say if we'll be working with them in the future." What, exactly, is going on in the great Towers of Def Jam? And what were Def Jam and Janet expecting from each other? To get by on reputation alone? I'll be the first to submit that it wasn't just someone that didn't do his/her job, it was everyone. Why was Discipline released so quickly after 20YO? Why were Jimmy & Terry not involved? Why was the "Feedback" video so bloody awful and why was "LUV" not released as a single/video? The execution and promotion of Discipline should be used as an example of what not to do when you want an established artist to be profitable. Love you, Penny, but that whole thing was bad business all around. [SR]


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16 Responses

  1. Love Janet, but Discipline was not in my radar.I gave it a listen, I just couldn't.

  2. Avatar

    I'm sure Janet went to see Jimmy and Terry...they probably didn't have any heat..Its been a while since Jimmy's touched the drum machine and played the keys They've been using ghost producers for a while now... Sept for the occasional Jimmy baseline or ballad. Maybe they lost their mojo too? Discipline was 20,000,000 times better than 20 YO...and Janet's vocals were on point. But she really didn't have any GREAT songs..

  3. A lot of variables at work on this issue. MC's record isn't doing so hot now, with only one hit single to it.
    And why the "Feedback" video bashing? Personally, I thought it a refreshing change of pace, sci-fi chic, but it did what is was intended to do: get folks talking.
    Either way, icons are built through longevity. Diana Ross, Donna Summer, etc. all had record sales grind to a halt, but they still command respect, and enough sales these days to keep them going, I think Janet is on that path.
    I can't wait to "rock with" her on 10/15 at D.C.'s Verizon Center. W00t!-QH

  4. "Luv" and "This Can't Be Good" are BANGERS.
    too bad lots of folks (like me) didn't find that out until way after the albums came out, because they stank of Fail.

  5. Yeah I do put Disicpline over 20.Take Care was the joint though...

  6. I'm sorry I love Janet (mostly back in the day Janet) but she is 3 strikes and your out. I haven't liked any album since All For You and that is even pushing it. Instead of all this back and forth about whose to blame or why the albums (including the most recent Discipline) didn't do too well let's just look at the obvious- THe material wasn't all that great. Janet just isn't putting anything great out. Discipline had maybe 2 semi-decent singles but other than that it was a real stinker.
    Janet keep's wanting to play the blame game. I admit Def Jam could have promoted better but she also should have made a better album. It's just like when Jermaine complained about Virgin's promotion and he was in charge of the urban/black department over there.
    Note to Janet- Make a strong album
    Stop working with Jermaine Dupri
    P.S. 20 Y.O was trash!

  7. So... I guess I'm the only one who thinks 20 YO was ten times better than Discipline?

  8. Discipline was Janet's best album in years. It's a pity that Def Jam didn't support it but poured money into that vocally sinking ship that is Mariah Carey. I don't get it.

  9. I love Janet, really I do. But this blame game BS is getting tired. Janet hasn't made a GREAT album in 11 years, since "The Velvet Rope". You can't keep recycling the same crappy material and expect it to sell. Not to say "Discipline" was a terrible album, but it certainly wasn't the same quality we expect from Janet. I was mortified by the fact that a woman who prided herself on artistry for so long wrote not one lyric on this album. Actually, the fact that her last few albums have been so average (and "20 Y.O." was terrible. I actually sold my copy) makes me wonder exactly what Rene was doing behind the scenes.

  10. I feel like "Never Letchu Go" was pretty good, I wouldn't have been mad if that had been a single... especially with "With U" being a sorta-single from 20 YO.
    As far as Jimmy and Terry being involved...I think I remember Nova saying that Janet's relevance isn't dependent on those two back when Discipline first dropped..and I'm inclined to agree w/ that today. All For You was wack, Damita Jo was better, but generally speaking, Jimmy and Terry haven't done anything remotely interesting w/ Janet since her Velvet Rope days.
    I didn't hate 20 YO. The ballads were the best she'd done in quite some time...and "So Excited" was far more fun than "Feedback." That being said, I feel like Discipline was an improvement, and I don't care what anyone else argues, its failure is reflective of its promotion. Janet hadn't even performed "Feedback" live until the day the album dropped...then she popped up on Ellen a couple of times, and it was basically a wrap. Def Jam did even less. Janet needs to get on her grind if she wants to sell some records. Just a couple of weeks later Mariah's ass was everywhere...and still is.
    I don't care though, Janet could shit on wax and I'd pre-order it.

  11. @ Butta: How are you going to call out Mariah's slightly delcining vocals skills when Janet could never even whisper her way out of a paper bag from day one? LOL
    And Mariah is suffering, too. I'm really surprised the E=MC2 isn't more successful. "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time" is the jam and I don't understand why it didn't do well on the charts. Well, summer's almost over so the song is pretty much done. Onto the fourth single...

  12. While Janet Jackson doesn't have the technical skill of Mariah Carey, she also isn't being as lazy as she is. Imagine that? Someone with a smaller range actually producing better work than someone known as "The Voice" who lip synches her way through half-baked stabs of hip-hop-lite credibility. UGH. Whatever.
    I actually did like "20 Y.O." a bit more than "Discipline," and feel that from "Damita Jo" (an underrated classic) that Janet has just been fighting back a blacklisting, period. It seems that she, as I stated earlier, has soldiered on and is doing her thing.-QH

  13. Though everyone is entitled to their opinion, I really can't wrap my brain around any "intelligent" discussion that faults Jan's artistry and/or art as it relates to the fact that she no longer sells multi-millions of CDs. First of all, practically no artist does these days so to land a 6th #1 Top 200 album, as well as a Top 20 Hot 100 hit is no small achievement, especially after 25 plus years as a recording artist. Discipline was a strong return to form following the artistic dissapointment that was 20 Y.O. But even with that said, 20 Y.O. was a solid effort...You have to go all the way back to DreamStreet to find a Janet album that doesn't have much to offer musically. In my opinion, Def Jam was never a good fit for Jan as the shadow of Mariah would always be there to limit their investment in Ms. Jackson. And nOva, Feedback was a visually stunning piece of music cinema courtesy of European auteur Saam, and I'm surprised that some one with typically impeccable taste would call such a dazzling good video "awful." I hope one day people can transcend what ever their blinding biases are that keep them from giving Jan the credit that she truly deserves not only as an artist, but for her practically unparalled career in entertainment. Hopefully her upcoming global stage show will remind folks just how bad a chick she really is.

  14. 1. High concept or imported director aside, the "Feedback" video looked like it was shot at Chucky Cheese on a cellphone. The vibe of the clip was not in tandem with the song. It simply meandered about with no energy. We require very little of Janet as fans-- look fierce and dance. She dropped the ball on both counts until maybe the very end. A Janet video is supposed to be an event, not an experiment. It ranks as one of her worst videos right behind "Call On Me", which looks like a Tex Avery cartoon on crack.
    2. Discipline was great without Jimmy & Terry and I stand by that, however there was no logical reason for them not be involved. It was, after all, their involvement in 20YO that kept the project from devolving into "Chickenhead Theater", which would've surely happened if the entire thing was helmed by JD alone.
    3. The artist can certainly blamed insofar as who she allows to handle her affairs. I'm fully convinced that at this stage in her career she has surrounded herself with people that do not care about who she is an artist and do not know what makes her fans love her. The entire thing was horribly mismanaged with poor timing and bad choices. Everything about Discipline was a mistake, except for the actual album.

  15. I probably havent enjoyed a JJ album this much since Damita Jo. The Feedback clip was absolute garbage for such a hot song. I've seen better clips filmed at the county fair. The problem with Discipline was it really wasn't a Janet record. It really was a Rhianna record and promo wise DJ screwed her over. They were pushing that MIMI project 6 months before it's release and JJ was due 1st. I'm sorry but LA Reid is like and old school Diddy and she should have never signed with him.

  16. I agree Langston, Janet looked like a version of the Dark Phoenix in "feedback," intergalatic carnivale. I think it was one of this videos that you either love, or hate, rarely is it in between.-QH



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