Janet Jackson had to have seen her name everywhere in 2004. Perhaps the attendant and overblown Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show headlines swarming had a lot to do with it.
Inarguably, those nasty tabloids and vicious reports upstaged the release of Damita Jo, her first album since the staggering success of 2001’s All For You, and her final LP on Virgin Records.
Featuring a stampede rush of stimulating, softcore songs, Damita Jo, named in honor of her middle name, left much room for curious minds to wonder and fantasize about their sexual satisfaction in ways her earlier works did not.
Not that her previous albums earned low marks for blurring virtue lines. It’s just that Damita Jo, however, learned the right stroke to bring about an even harder and more intense emission of utterly pleasurable material.
Without wavering whatsoever in exploring the many alternate versions of herself, Damita Jo, worked on with Kanye West, Scott Storch, Dallas Austin, Babyface, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, stands as Jackson’s prime album moment of the 2000s.
Here are seven of the finest tracks from Janet Jackson’s Damita Jo (in no particular order).
1. “Thinkin’ Bout My Ex”
Who else but Babyface’s name could have been listed as a songwriter on this past-afflicted tune where an innocent interest gets dragged along for a futureless love? A situationship much?
2. “All Night (Don’t Stop)”
If you listened to this Herbie Hancock-influenced hit and thought that she’s talking about dancing, then you need a serious course in double-entendres.
3. “Strawberry Bounce”
The thing about this club-conscious number is that JAY-Z’s neat sample insertion and Kanye West co-production is top-tier, permitting Strawberry, Janet’s other naughty personae, to produce a solo album.
4. “Like You Don’t Love Me”
T-Boz of TLC might have been a nice addition to this frustration of poor sexual performance, considering the backing vocals are a quiet nod to her signature vocal.
5. “Slo Love”
You have to know that you’re surrounded by a bunch of talented song craftsmen when you record a song, and it reminds a different generation with a sample. This is it.
6. “Spending Time With You”
A mixture of Michael Jackson’s vocal phrasing and commanding sense of desirability is better experienced on a romantic getaway as described in the loved-up lyrics.
7. “R&B Junkie”
It doesn’t take more than a few seconds of this blast-from-past to remind you why Jackson is the undisputed dance queen. “R&B Junkie” is undoubtedly a jam that could’ve existed at the height of Soul Train.
Stream Damita Jo by Janet Jackson below.