Unbreakable – Janet Jackson Album Review

One of the many reasons why Janet Jackson has appealed to so many in addition to being a part of a well-known family, an accomplished singer and actress is her femininity. It is something that she commands and receives as easy as breathing. Janet has throughout the years received a tremendous amount of acclaim for bringing rise to Black feminism and trying to bring to prominence, Black women and their contributions to both music and society. This is what makes her most recent project, Unbreakable, a testament to her timelessness. Her artistry has relatively unchanged. From the club bangers to the ballads, there are points across the 19 cut recording that bring a feeling as if she hasn’t been away from the studio since 2008 – even though she has. Unbreakable is an explanation from Janet herself of her journeys through triumph, heartache and what she’s learned along the way.

The title track sets the tone of the album pulsating through the speakers with a similar opening to that of “Together Again.” Her vocals are impassioned and reflective, producing a multilayered interpretation of what or who she’s actually speaking about. “BURNITUP!” finds Missy Elliott collaborating with Miss J and as the bass drips and knocks; listeners will undoubtedly be reminded of why Janet is an icon. She’s gritty, enticing and mysterious at the same time here and across many of the songs on this album.

“Shoulda Known Better,” “After You Fall” and “Broken Hearts Heal” are introspective musings wrapped in pop packaging that unveil an anthemic feel, particularly ‘Broken Hearts.’ The first single, “No Sleeep” is a perfect example of why her connection to producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, is unmatched across the R&B and pop spectrum.

“Take Me Away,” “Black Eagle,” “Well Traveled” and “Gon’ B Alright” equally provide a definitive description of the machine generated rhythms that have kept her in diva territory.

Despite the positive themes presented on Unbreakable, it is steeped in a fierce sadness of a legend who does not appear to be seeking a comeback, but rather wants to make a statement. Gone are the vocal pyrotechnic formulas that made Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 classics. This is not a bad thing, as Janet has accomplished and lived through much since the “When I Think of You” and “Miss You Much” days.  Make no mistake though, she’s still Miss Janet if you’re Nasty, just one who is less nervy, sassy and more bent on pulling back the curtain on where she’s been and where she’s going.

Unbreakable receives a PARL

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