Ms. Jackson, or just Janet if you're a true fan, has a reputation for slow, throbbing R&B thanks to “That's the Way Love Goes” and “Got 'til it's Gone,” but she's only made waves in the 21st century with unadulterated pop: “Doesn't Really Matter” was a dreamy bubblegum anthem; “All for You” was a “TRL”-ready confection; “Someone to Call My Lover” was blippy and brilliant; “Feedback,” her critically hailed lead single from 2008's “Discipline,” was a sweaty, naughty bop. Now, seven years after “Discipline” failed to relaunch Jackson as a Billboard juggernaut, she rejoins with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (who last worked with her on 2006's “20 Y.O.”) to hit us with an old-time slow jam called “No Sleeep.” Listen after the jump.
It's solid. It's cool and glowing. But it's also very familiar, like so many slow-churn non-singles from “janet.”, “The Velvet Rope,” and “Discipline.” The fact that Janet would return to R&B is unsurprising given that chill grooves are featured on all of her albums, but it's also clear at this point that Janet's pop moments are her most exciting. Thus, “No Sleeep” feels less like a stab at Billboard supremacy and more like a safe, expected return to the recording industry that is satisfying, yet not electrifying.