Album Review: Janet Jackson - 'Unbreakable'...

After a seven year wait, I thoroughly enjoyed Janet Jackson's new album 'Unbreakable.' The R&B influences are there but the album itself is very pop-oriented. 
As a result, if you were expecting something a little more soulful like the lead single, then perhaps this project really isn't for you.  'Unbreakable' is her first album in 29 years (since 'Control') to not have any interludes. 

I guess this is why the album felt a little short. However, this is her strongest body of work in a long time and although it may be lacking in obvious hits, the project is very consistent. At this point, I don't think Janet cares about the charts. Not anymore. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis made social awareness issues a big thing on JJ's earlier works so I'm happy they brought it back on this album. Gone is highly sexed Janet and she's touching on a variety of themes and issues. Everything from romance, domestic abuse, social problems (war, poverty and more), the loss of her brother Michael, and the onslaught of media scrutiny her latest marriage has encountered. I am so glad she reunited with the two people that were pivotal in her career for the past 30+ years. Janet didn't follow trends and I'm so glad she didn't.

I'd hate to see her embarrass herself and her legacy latching on to the newest radio sounds or trying to get down with the younger pop acts. This would have been a bad look for her. I fully appreciate that she took a risk by releasing a mature down-tempo adult song. *pause* OK, I may not have been feeling it at first but now I totally understand why that path was taken/appropriate. She wanted to make an album that catered to her tastes (and core audience) and she accomplished it. At the same time, she still delivered something contemporary and current while catering to the oldschool here and there. It's incredibly hot that 50-year-olds can still make quality albums like this today. Janet didn't just maintain her core fanbase with this project. She may very well have bagged herself a new legion of (younger) listeners in the process. Check out my track by track album review below, and feel free to share your take on the album and its standouts.

A very touching thank you letter to fans. A very cool and funky R&B groove with a throwback, vintage Motown sound and Janet is really singing. Great production from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and I live for it. Rating: 4/5


Dancing up heat at the club is the general idea. I like the Missy Elliott assisted song although I now think it's the weakest uptempo on the album. Why in all hell did they pick this as the second single? I am so mad! It's really hard to get over how processed her vocals sound on it. The more you listen to it, the more noticeable it is. This really wasn't called for on an uptempo song such as this one. Rating: 3/5

Dammn Baby

Dammn baby, this is groooovy! Yeeeesss. A funkylicious nostalgic bop with some 80s synth but still current and contemporary. I love this and how she samples her very own song 'I Get So Lonely.' That breakdown is something serious. I want to get buckwild! Such a banger. Why wasn't this the second single? Rating: 5/5

The Great Forever

Living life the way you want to regardless of the hate and criticisms, because as long as you're happy... nothing else matters. This is about the media coverage of her marriage. Let's just say the response hasn't always been great (L.U.T.F.A. = Leave Us The Fuck Alone.) Nice dose of 80s pop here and it's astonishing how much she sounds like Michael on that second verse. It's so eerie and it actually sounds like something he'd record in the 80s too. Rating: 4/5

Shoulda Known Better

Socially conscious cut about child suffering, global injustices, casualties, and what we see everyday in the headlines. This is serving pop/dance instrumentation with small splashes of EDM. It's a really pretty song. I even think this would actually work well as a single at some point. Rating: 5/5

After You Fall

Everybody needs a saviour during their darkest hour. This is nice and sounds like a classic, melancholic Janet ballad. Almost on par with 'Again,' and it's so powerful. Janet certainly knows how to pour her emotions over minimalist piano production. Those guitar touches and subtle strings are everything. Rating: 5/5

Broken Hearts Heal

Time is the greatest healer after losing someone. R.I.P. MJ. I'm just realising this is her first studio album since his passing. Harmonies and layering are absolutely lush. It's such a nice tribute to her late brother even though there's a glowing sadness to it.  Rating: 3/5


Being in love is heavenly when there's no more darkness. Lets tear up the dance floor and celebrate lurrrve! The dance production is very euphoric and the chorus is as hypnotic as it gets. How can you not want to dance to this whenever you come in tact with it? So infectious, and the harmonies really stand out on this one. Rating: 4/5

No Sleeep (Remix)

Sex without the sex, if that makes any sense. This grown and sexy bedroom number is suppose to be the sex song of the album and it's not even sexual. It's so subtle! Janet really is a changed woman. Janet of old would have been having very loud, high pitched orgasms and delivering lyricism of the delicious, filthy kind. It's like she went PG-rated on our asses. Everything this era has been... so modest. J. Cole compliments the track perfectly. His flow is so cohesive. Rating: 3/5

Dream Maker / Euphoria
In a perfect world, everyone would be equals, but that's the stuff dreams are made of right? This has fun throwback vibes, complete with retro flourishes from the 70s and 80s. I feel it would fit right at home on 'Damita Jo.' Decent filler for what it's worth. Rating: 3/5

2 B Loved

When an opportunity for love presents itself, grab it with both hands. Hold onto it tight and never let go. This is the type of uptempo urban bop you crank all the way up in your car, top down of course, the outside breeze blowing in your hair, the smell of flowers blossoming in the distance... okay lemme stop. One of my favourite uptempos on the album alongside 'Dammn Baby.' Rating: 5/5

Take Me Away
Thoughts of escapism with that special someone. It has that pop/AC appeal and would garner such a great reception at her live shows. It's very euphoric and catchy. I dig it. Rating 4/5


One minute? Seriously?! The only disappointment I have is that this chilled out cut should have been longer. Rating: 3/5

Lessons Learned

A woman's struggles to get out of an emotionally/abusive relationship. A softer, distant cousin to the hard edged 'What About'. Beautiful harmonies, with nice acoustic guitars. She sings it beautifully too. Great track. Great message. Rating: 4/5 

Black Eagle

This spiritual embracing cut serves up moody and mellow R&B with finger snaps! Who doesn't love a good finger-snapping beat? This is sexy and very engaging. The transition in production halfway through is very melodic and it's definitely another one for the car. Rating: 4/5

Well Traveled
An autobiographic piece reflecting on the singer's life's journey so far.  What would I call this? Folk-pop with some country tinges? This is different for Janet. Very experimental and she sings it well, but it's really not my cup of tea. Rating: 3/5

Gon B Alright
Love conquers all at the end of the day. This is practically a melting pot of genres! It's like she fused her very own pop/rock gems from an earlier era (I'm thinking 'What'll I Do' and 'Black Cat'). Then mixed it up with the 70s, alongside doses of funk, soul, gospel, rock 'n' roll, Motown. There's fiery vocals, guitars, drums, everything. It's just really eclectic. Nice way to close the album. Rating: 3/5

Overall rating: 4/5