Pop Perspective: Janet Jackson’s “No Sleeep” Reviewed By All Four Idolator Editors
At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high-quality pop. Occasionally, our tastes align. Other times, not so much! So, in the spirit of debate, we’ve developed a recurring feature called Pop Perspective. Basically, all four of us dissect a particularly noteworthy pop event, and give it a rating out of 10.
That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest single to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is Janet Jackson’s long-awaited comeback single “No Sleeep.” Was it worth the seven-year wait or is the “Feedback” diva trolling us with sub-par material? Brace yourself for our thoughts below.
Robbie Daw — 8/10
Like “That’s The Way Love Goes” off 1993’s seminal janet., “No Sleeep” is a sultry slow burner that builds with each progressive verse and chorus and drifts across your ears like a pleasantly naughty dream. Plus, thanks to the saucy lyrics, we now we have a new title for Ms. Jackson: The Queen Of Insomnia!
“No Sleeep” isn’t going to blow the lid off clubland anytime soon, but in a year where solid pop releases have so far been few and far between, it’s refreshing to hear a smooth jam like this from a familiar fave like Janet. It has been way, way too long, Miss Jackson… welcome back!
Bianca Gracie — 8/10
The queen is back and here to slay — thanks to her new single, “No Sleeep.” Don’t look for a clanking bassline or wild synths on this one, as Janet’s tune aims to be played in the comfort of your bedroom — not the club. The entertainer teams up with her musical partners-in-crime Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for this steamy bedroom romp that gives janet. 2.0 vibes. It is a beautifully mellow R&B groove that will no doubt pop up on many “naughty time” playlists over the summer months.
To be honest, “No Sleeep” does not have “lead comeback single” written all over it — but who cares? I’d rather Janet give us an improved version of the sound we’ve come to love her for, instead of trying to keep up with the younger pop ladies like some of her fellow diva counterparts. The entertainer has never been one to please the mainstream. She has always focussed on giving fans what they want and I think “No Sleeep” is the perfect way to assure them that she is ready to reign once again.
Carl Williott — 6/10
Quiet storm has never been my thing, and “No Sleeep” kicks off with a literal quiet storm, so I’m going to work extra hard to be unbiased here. I love the track’s pure disregard for current pop/R&B conventions. It feels unmoored from space-time, floating above all these breathy-voiced newcomers and undercutting the dystopic future-beat trend with something that’s silkier than TLC’s “Creep” pajamas.
It’s not enough to bring me back into the fold — that would take something visionary like “If” or “Escapade.” But it’s that refusal to pander to fairweather fans like me, that disinterest in making a grab at relevance, that I find most appealing about the song.
Mike Wass — 7/10
I love Janet Jackson and I’m glad she’s back to show the army of low-rent pretenders how it’s done. I can’t help but be underwhelmed, however, by “No Sleeep.” Nostalgia and goodwill aside, this is the legendary diva’s worst lead single. (Or perhaps second worst, “Call On Me” was truly D.O.A.). The slinky song isn’t terrible by any means, it’s just a little beige. Jan’s ceiling-fan-on-low vocal is barely audible over the sensual beats, while the naughty lyrics are fairly tame by her standards.
On the other hand, I co-sign my colleague’s sentiments about loving what the song represents. Janet’s blatant disregard for what’s hot right now is bad ass and I’m here for her casually throwing the song online without so much an interview or photo shoot for promotion. It’s like the 49-year-old followed the trainwreck that is Madonna’s Rebel Heart era and decided to do the exact opposite. She is taking control of her career and doing things on her terms. I commend and respect that. I just hope there’s better material on the album.
AVERAGE SCORE: 7.25/10