A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
20 Y.O. is the celebration of Janet Jackson's 20 years as a pop star, and she's letting us know it's time for a party. The CD begins with Jackson explaining that over the course of her career she has spoken out on such issues as racism, spousal abuse, and women's empowerment. But now ... "I wanna keep it light. I don't want to be serious, I wanna have fun." And she proceeds to do just that -- on one danceable track after another. The vibe is often playful and sexy; for example, "So Excited" leaves very little to the imagination with lyrics like "Get me so excited/I'm hot ... I'll open my spot for you/Anytime you want me to/so you can act bad/don't hurt me/look sexy/talk dirty."
Is it any good?
Eleven songs and five spoken "interludes" portray Ms. Jackson as a sexy, honey-voiced performer with the clout to demand the best in terms of instrumentation and production. Every track is perfectly mixed and beautifully performed. A few of the songs lack the excitement of the others -- for example, "Enjoy" is little more than the title word sung over and over again. But the overall impression is one of a carefully crafted, beautifully performed selection of material that presents Jackson as a mature woman ready to take on the next 20 years with a vengeance.