Janet Jackson Is Not Just A Crotch-Grabber

Sep 19th, 2008 // 1 Comment

I’ve been watching videos from Janet Jackson’s tour and getting kinda sad–thanks to Janet’s oversexed listlesssness, lip-syncing, and absolutely awful outfits–but as one who’s always willing to give people who have made some of my favorite records the benefit of the doubt, I figured I’d let people who were actually at the show weigh in on the evening. So here’s a special edition of The Last Word, in which we bundle together the kickers of new-music reviews, devoted to writeups of her show earlier this week at the Staples Center in Los Angles:

• “Whether singing old favorites like ‘Say You Do’ (‘I was 15 years old, amazing!’ she exclaimed about that song), playing the chanteuse in a red dress instead of her usual dance-friendly pants, or simply standing back and receiving adulation, Jackson earned fervid applause from her elated fans. Letting them cheer, she relinquished control for a minute and just smiled at the pandemonium.” [LA Times]

• “Fantasy video vignettes, which pitted evil Janet over good Janet in a battle for the musical force, were pretentious claptrap, only serving to kill time between those many costume changes.” [Reuters]

• “One small complaint: the mix where we were sitting often overwhelming Jackson’s vocals, making it hard to hear her words. One small why’d-she-bother: a video story line played between several songs pitted a Demon Witch Jackson versus a Good Alien Jackson in a battle for her music. And soul. We think. (It really didn’t make a lot of sense.)” [OC Register]

• “By now, the crowd is aware that Janet will pull an audience member onstage for a dominatrix routine during ‘Discipline,’ a steamy bit that gets the audience’s blood pumping. The audience is given a breather as she and the bound victim lower into the stage at the song’s conclusion, but her return is a bit too high energy; it seems like everyone is in the mood to savor the moment, and if anything should be changed, it would be a flip-flop of the final block (‘Black Cat’/'If’/'Rhythm Nation’) with the encores. The main body of the show would have a softer landing, and the encore would end with the audience craving more.” [Variety]

(That dominatrix routine, by the way, is all the talk of the blogs this morning. So I guess it “worked”?)

Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation – Staples Center [YouTube]


  1. Tauwan

    I saw video of her performing Discipline in Oakland Monday or Tuesday night. Because I am such a die hard fan I decided to sit through the entire thing. I still don’t know what to say, and it’s Friday morning. I will say this though: Janet, you are making it harder and harder for a brotha to defend you. Jesus. I mean, it’s just getting tired. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little mystery. I would love to see you ride this whole performance thing to the wheels fall off [few people do it better - and that catalog, MY GOD!], but I would also be okay with you taking a step back to reconfigure it all and start back at one. And I’m through, cause I just realized this post says “By Maura Johnston”, not “By Janet Jackson”. It’s not like I’m talking to her, but I kinda am.

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