This is what I had to say on my MySpace Blog on December 21, 2006.
“Sorry, I wasn’t able to post this yesterday. My computer was running really slow and I couldn’t get to my blog.
Anyway, the theme of this video deals with apartheid in Africa. Something about the way it’s shot — It’s just really beautifully tragic or tragically, wonderfully sublime. Or something.
I couldn’t find this one on MySpace. Check it out!!!”
This is what I have to say today.
3. “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” from The Velvet Rope Released: September 22, 2007
The Velvet Rope seems to be the one album fans are torn on. General consensus seems to be it wasn’t as good as what came before. I feel like it’s the one album that was embraced by the gay community on a much higher level. I, personally, believe it’s among her best work.
She took risks and went in directions she hadn’t gone before. Even her image, with the Tabasco Red hair, nose-ring, and revelation of tattoos presented a different Janet (though she seemed to go right back to the woman-next-door-sex-cat image for the next album, All For You). Though she winked at the her gay fanbase before, this was a full-on embrace.
So, she was depressed and she talked about it. And? This was her tortured artist album. She looked more like Tracy Chapman on the cover than Janet Jackson. And, there is some serious pop artistry on The Velvet Rope.
That said, this is the single that kicked off this era. A clever use of a Joni Mitchell sample of “Big Yellow Taxi” as well as her blessing and a great cameo by Q-Tip are reasons why this makes the list. The way it’s starts, goes up, and comes back around is an unexpected and refreshing cornucopia of sound.
A socially conscious video harkened back to our serious RN 1814 Janet. Sexy Janet is cool, but I wish more artists would make us wanna’ dance and challenge our paradigms at the same time. Or at least school us on something that we otherwise would not have heard about.
I know some folks want their entertainers to just entertain and leave politics to politicians and social commentary to social commentators, but that’s what art is to me. It’s both. It can be both at the same time or separately by the same artist. And, yes, pop/R&B/etc. is art to me, too.
And historically, it’s been the artists, and especially the poets, that provide social commentary and many times lead the crusades against injustice, intolerance, etc. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. For now, let’s dance.