#253: The Velvet Rope by Janet Jackson


The Velvet Rope by Janet Jackson (1997)

Favorite Track(s): "Got 'til It's Gone" (for the Joni Mitchell parts) and "Go Deep" and "Together Again" and "Every Time"

Thoughts: It's time for one of Maryann's true stories. True Story: Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope world tour was the first concert I ever went to (and by a real I mean it wasn't a performance at my church or local schools). And my mom took me. My dad and sister were out of town on a choir trip, so my mom thought it would be fun for us to do something together. So we went to G.I. Joe's ticketmaster booth, and picked a concert to attend. I was excited because I was really loving "Together Again" every time it was played on Z100.

So on August 11, 1998 we went to the Rose Garden and we were in the nosebleed seats and Usher opened and dropped his pants TWICE when I had the binoculars. He wore navy blue boxer-briefs. Then Janet came on and for the song "Rope Burn" she brought a male audience member up on the stage and gave him a lap dance. This led me to believe that a 'velvet rope' was a kind of sex toy that couples used. According to wikipedia it's "an allusion to an individual's need to feel special, as well as a metaphor for emotional boundaries" so 13 year-old me spent all that time trying to figure out how you could use a velvet rope during sex for NOTHING. (Though the answer is right there in "Rope Burn": bondage.) The end.

So, the album! I kept thinking that "My Need" was going to launch into "You're All I Need to Get By" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Tyrell (and I sort of wish it had). Janet's cover of Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night" is an interesting choice, but not a bad one since a woman singing it is a nice change-up considering how sexual assault-y it sounds sung by a man (my mom hates it).

I know that this album was supposed to be the more autobiographical, experimental of her work (and according to the ranking, the best of her albums) but I absolutely prefer Rhythm Nation.

Is This Better Than Help!?:

No, I'm afraid. This album felt overproduced and I would have cut at least 5 songs.



Kristen said...

True story: When I joined my sorority, we did a dance to "Go Deep" in formal dresses while a whole bunch of drunken frat boys watched. Feminism! (Don't worry, the boys danced too.)

Maryann said...

Wow, that sounds disturbing but great. Feminism!