Unbreakable. The album that seemingly started with #conversationsinacafe, see’s Janet Jackson in an introspective mood. 7 years after 2008’s Discipline, she returns with a rather self-assured, new found confidence on her 11th studio album. At a stage in her career where she has nothing left to prove she has in the process made the most cohesive and sonically diverse album since 1997’s Velvet Rope, the critical gem in her crown. Lyrically wise and at times musically nostalgic, it deals with life experiences such as love, retrospect, abusive relationships and the death of her brother. But don’t go thinking these topics make for a depressing listen because she has taken all of these things and turned them into uplifting, hopeful songs.
On Michael Jackson tribute ‘Broken Hearts Heal’, she meshes California-soul and funky 70s disco beats with poignant lyrics. She ropes in guests Missy Elliott and J Cole on tracks ‘Burnitup!’ and lead single ‘No Sleeep’ respectively. The former is a modern new jack-swing inspired, dancefloor call to arms and the latter is the critically acclaimed quiet-storm, new soul jam which gave her her first billboard hit since ‘Feedback’.
‘Should Have Known Better’ is rousing with its Ibiza style EDM beats while ‘The Great Forever’ vocally channels brother Michael over space age synths and an uplifting chorus that sticks with you. ‘Black Eagle’ is virtually acapella save for bassy ripples throughout while she comments “all lives matter” in response to recent social issues.
Unbreakable is a true return to form for Janet, with musical nods to her past such as ‘Dammn Baby’ which goes via 1998 hit ‘I Get Lonely’. Ending with uplifting songs ‘Well Travelled’, with its stadium like “oh-ohs” and the funky horn filled strut of ‘Gon B Alright’, this album puts her right back where she belongs.
George Mcloughlin @