damita jo: the rough draft.

Thanks, Enigma. You’ve
now. Since I’ve had this in my head all week, I figure I’ll do my first
draft now and post to exponent
next week. You’ve been forewarned. Wanna take a look?

Tracklisting found here.

1. Looking for Love: Good interlude, but there’s going to be plenty of them.

2. Damita Jo: Sounds really good. This isn’t a spectacular track, but it does
the trick. Diggin the soulclap. 7/10.

3. Sexibition. This song has had to grow on me. It’s taken 4 listens to accept
it as something I don’t have to turn off when I hear it. Since Dallas Austin
is the producer of this trick, it’s not hard to imagine TLC (with Chili on lead
vocals) doing this one. I will say this: the coreography with the effects, vocal
chants would do the trick. 6/10.

4. Strawberry Bounce: good title, not so good song. Hearing the word "Bounce!"
every 3 seconds does not work for me. The only good thing about this song is
the breaks. Next…. 3/10.

5. My Baby (featuring Kanye West). No, he can’t rap, but she’s croonin’. "These
butterflies/they never lie." With just her vocals, and the guitar, this
is a nice chill-out song. But then you’ve got him in the background talking,
and of course, the rap. Brings the song down just a little bit. Some might think
it gives a little juxtaposition to this groove, which I’m sure works in this
current day (not necessarily to me, though). "I have foreign cars and houses/I
have porno stars and spouses." Yeah, okay Kanye. Work it on out. 6/10.

6. The Islands. Yeah, I got it…okay now….

7. Spending Time With You. "Outstanding" by the Gap Band is what comes
to mind when I hear the drum programming, so if you’re old school, you can understand
why this is probably one of my favorite tracks. You can tell Jimmy Jam is on
the bass keys, because his improv is everywhere. Of course, with this chorus,
the song is insidious. (P.S. – Flytetyme, if you’re listening – Bobby and Issiah
do some really good production work with you cats, I’m sure. I’d love to hear
some more.) 9/10

8. The Magic Hour. Interlude.

9. Island Life. Whenever I see this title, I think of Michael Franks, which
this is not. But hey, I can dream, can’t I? The high notes from the keyboard
works, and the strings are very good accents. Her high vocals are almost over
the top, but she’s working it just fine. My head’s nodding. This is a good thing.

10. All Nite Long (Don’t Stop). No, on second thought, maybe you should. "This
is serious/I’m delirious/so oblivious." Yeah. This will definitely be a
club song. Maybe I’m gettin’ a little too mellow. 4/10.

11. R&B Junkie. This is why I put "I’m In Love" on Old School
Wednesday. I’m waiting for Evelyn and Kashif to be invited to the video shoot
if this song is released. The sirens, scratchin’, and talkin’ about Cabbage
Patchin’ make me wanna go back to the roller rink. And fall. Like I usually
do. 7/10.

12. I Want You. She’s datin’ Jermaine Dupri. *scream*. Okay, I’m alright. It’s
not me, it’s him, but I’m okay. This song as the second release was a great
thing. Kanye in the production seat is not difficult to understand – witness
You Don’t Know My Name, which this has similarities to. I’m a drummer by nature,
so the staccato drums behind the strings is a great thing. BT Express? Superb.

13. Like You Don’t Love Me. On this one, I can just see T-Boz singing this one.
Is this Raphael Saddiq on guitar? Sure sounds like it. 7/10.

14. Could This Be Love. This is my hands down favorite. Bass synth by Jam, which
is his signature, is key. The words and the vocal arrangements are wonderful.
The percussion, guitars, the whole set. It grooves me. Yeah, I’m hooked. (Note:
the playlists I’ve seen either have this as the 14th song, or has it as a bonus
track. Waiting on the official release for confirmation.) 10/10.

15. Thinkin’ Bout My Ex. Janet mentioned the writer Freckles as giving a song
that she wanted to sing. The guitar is great. Babyface at the helm could single
a surefire release. 8/10.

16, Warmth. I’m sure that Anytime Anyplace comes to mind with this track. There’s
enough Summer Madness in here to make me think of Kool & The Gang instrumentation.

17. Moist. I think of a Bundt cake every time I hear this track. I like the
piano in the back. It works really well for me. Less synth, and more piano.
Also, with a guitar accentuating itself in the outro is great. 9/10.

18. It All Comes Down To Love. What it really comes down to is more interludes,
but I digress.

19. Truly. A cut like this usually comes in the second half of a Janet CD. This
is no exception. Minimal instruments, a waterfront backdrop, and her vocals
at the forefront. I dig it. Reminds me of ‘The Body That Loves You’. I think
what really gets me is the fact that this is down to earth, and it talks about
love in a very simple way. 9/10.

20. The One. A perfect segue to….

21. Slolove. BAG laced this joint, and admittedly I didn’t like All Night Long
(Don’t Stop), but I really, really like this joint. This is easily remixable
five ways to Sunday, as most tracks are. However, the fact that I like this
joint out of the box gives it major props. Most of this is merely programmed,
but the vocal echo in the back, vamp and the drum beat breakdown in the second
half picks it up. I would dance to this, and trust me, this is not something
I’d say everyday. 8/10.

22. Country. Interlude. Make it stop.

23. Just A Little While. The awesome video for this cut made it stay in my head.
The song itself, produced by Dallas Austin, didn’t really take off like the
first release normally does. This is decidedly an old Prince track, which, when
thought of that way, works. It didn’t sit with me at first, but considering
I don’t want to rip my headphones off, it’s growing on me. 5/10.

Overall, the album gets a 7/10. I liked it, and it’s a little better than All For You. I’m not sure what the reviews will say next week, but there’s nothing startling here. Although there are a lot of good cuts, it harkens back to old Janet while displaying a more matured look, and feel, about her. For the first time in a long time, my eyebrows didn’t raise as much as they usually do when I hear her lyrics. Good thing? Bad thing? You decide.

12 comments on “damita jo: the rough draft.

  1. Enigma says:

    exactly..i thought of the gap band when listening to “spending time..” but i couldn’t put my finger on a song.
    I think of a Bundt cake every time I hear this track. “cole, u stoopid.” roflmao. mental man just mental. rip the headphones off baby boy, rip ’em off!! my friend, jeanette, said in her review the song soothes her inner white girl. she loved this song from the door.
    if i did pts out of 10, i think we’d be close on most of the tracks. i’m going to listen to slolove again. honestly, some of the songs towards the end may not have gotten a fair shake because that sledgehammer never came. well, i’m gon get back to trying to find a guy that might want a serving of bundt cake. 😉

  2. Trent says:

    I like your note-taking/critcal thinking on J.J.’s Damita Jo.
    I have read some reviews on the disc so far and they haven’t been positive. One critic felt that the CD was one of the year’s dissappointing releases.
    I can’t wait to read your written review on it.
    Good post.

  3. girlwonder says:

    reviewing this is on my agenda today and at first glance i think we’re mostly on par. i need to refresh myself on it though. damita jo is my isht though – i think that’s my new toxic 🙂

  4. Janet Jackson [Damita Jo}

    To attempt to deny the influence of Janet Jackson on contemporary R&B and Pop music would be entirely negligible. As re-inventive and overtly sexual as Madonna, Janet Jackson has made a career out of being that girl. That girl whose shy countenance g…

  5. Jeanette says:

    What is it with this bundt cake thing and “Moist”? lol Eagerly awaiting the final draft of the review… 🙂

  6. Rocka says:

    Your opinions on the tracks are pretty much on par with me, although I think I like the album on a whole more than you…
    I guess that is because I am a janet fanatic…
    I was hoping since she worked with so many producers her sound would be more bold, but I guess Janet is Janet.

  7. sean says:

    It’s Janet – which means it’s quality. Like all her stuff, it’ll sound better after you’ve put it away for 6 months.

  8. jianda says:

    Gah–time escapes me. I have a *few* lengthy responses to tend to this weekend.Just letting you know, you’re (a) light on my mind.

  9. Good thing I didn’t post my review – lol

  10. lynne says:

    you know if you put this in written form, you know what i’ll want to do with it. just holla’ when it’s ready.

  11. Donald says:

    7/10 for “R&B Junkie”?!?!? Oh, man – I think this is my favorite track on this album! I wish Janet would do more stuff like this and “All For You” – she’s really in her element with a well-placed dance music sample. I keep expecting Evelyn to come in with “I’ve been thinkin’ ’bout you-ou!” And you get major props for mentioning Kashif, you really do …

  12. exponent says:

    damita jo: taking the extra out of extraordinary?

    Damita Jo, as an album of this day and age: 7/10… as an expectation from Janet, however, it’s 6/10.

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