jueves, 28 de mayo de 2009

janet. 1993

Back in 1992, when Madonna released her infamous "SEX" book worldwide, was quite a shock and scandal. She was the target of both media and disappointed fans -and some other bitter prudes- for months... The book itself was more than enough to push the envelope: along its black & white and color pages a variety of sexual acts are shown, and we had the chance of seeing Madonna playing around with the likes of Naomi Campbell, Vanilla Ice, Isabella Rossellini, Big Daddy Kane, Joey Estefano and Udo Kier.
Despite the controversy, media said that "Sex" and its fella Cd "Erotica", were an artistic flop and disaster. But after all it was only Madonna!, and she always played the game of being controversial and provocative. Nevertheless, there was no visible sign that another heavy weight of female pop was to release the album that changed erotic female pop forever.

janet. was released in May 17th, 1993, and it quickly climbed the charts straight to # 1 for six weeks. Its predecessor, Rhythm Nation 1814, was filled with great tunes about social injustice, the problem of bigotry, illiteracy and so on. But "Someday is Tonight" talked about a different issue: the first night of a virgin with the man of her dreams. Very few people saw this as a threat for Janet's public persona as the next-door yet innocent girl.

I still remember saving my 4 bucks to purchase the album, full of hope and great expectations...
I got it, unwrapped it and put it on my portable Cd player.... "That's the Way Love Goes" was a great beginning (though I prefer the single version instead of the album's). But, as the Cd was playing, I got a little bit shocking about the lyrics and sounds: "If" talking about a very explicit sexual fantasy of unrequited love; "The Body that Loves You" singing of 'sensual physical love' and "Throb" with very short lyrics, but loud Janet's moanings begging and demanding both love and sex.

I was wondering why the woman who always seemed so quiet and naive was showing a raunchier and more explicit part of herself? Janet has always said that, every album she makes only shows her very present life. She has denied "re-inventing" herself on every album. So we have to believe she was having fun -and lots of sex- (and I wasn't getting any!!!).

But then, why "janet." was so succesful and Madonna's sexy stuff (Sex and Erotica) was so panned and punished? Easy answer: Janet took the time to talk about sex, but very much into love and romance. Madonna spoke about the darkest side of sex: (sadomasochism, bondage, pain) and in a world where people buys and fears sex & pleasure at the same time, Madonna was the 'shocker' one, yes, but the "bad guy" this time. Janet was sexy and provocative... but then again, in a "good way". Interesting huh! (The sales of every album shows it: "Erotica" sold around 5 million versus almost 18 million of "janet." globally).

I guess every one of them was brave and unique in their own way. Sex and controversy aside, "janet." has some of Jackson's best songs: the singles were terrific, and tracks like " New Agenda" (anti-racist theme), "This Time", "Funky Big Band", "Any Time, Any Place" and Academy Award-nominated "Again", were more than enough to keep both critics and fans happy for over a year. Janet took off her tour to promote the album worldwide, selling out almost everywhere.

Now we are in 2009. Sixteen years later, Janet's career has lost many of her bright and success due to the Super-Bowl incident (2004). I personally think any good thing is going to happen at any moment, and she eventually will sell like, 10 million albums worldwide again and have some other number one hits. But for now, I just want to say: thank you Janet! Because listening to your album was the only sex I have in those years... and believe me... it was very, very satisfying.