Last Day! To Vote popolio.com “Best Local Blog”  in The Austin Chronicle’s 2009 Best Of poll here.
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July 21, 2009 UPDATE:  So, it is being reported that Janet has, indeed, broken up with Jermaine Dupri.  It has also been reported that Janet has returned to work to the set of Why Did I Get Married Too?  I read that Tyler Perry stated he was willing to wait for her no matter how long it would have taken.  Wonder how much truth there is to that.  Lastly, there is internet buzz that Janet is going to open Michael’s first scheduled London O2 date with special guests including Justin Timberlake.  Now, won’t that be interesting?


Originally posted June 29, 2009

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So, as the Janet question looms — How will the death of Michael Jackson affect Janet Jackson?  They are two of the youngest Jacksons, and, arguably, Janet was the closest to him.   We know they’re the two most successful Jacksons, so why wouldn’t there be a different kind of kinship there?  She gave a gracious speech at the 2009 BET Awards last night regarding her brother’s death.  The award show itself was dedicated in its entirety to paying tribute to the King of Pop.

Recent internet buzz states Ms. J recently broke up with Jermaine Dupri.  Seems like days before the death.  Now, if this is even true, will she run back to his arms for some consolation?  People have been known to get back together in times of tragedy.  And if the love is there and real, he will be there to support her, regardless.  Those are my two cents on that matter.

Next, production on Why Did I Get Married Too? started last week.  Tyler Perry wanted all the original cast to return.  She was on the set in Atlanta, I believe, and flew to L.A. once the news hit.  Will she return to the production?  Will they halt production for now and postpone it a bit?  Or will Janet’s character end up being played by another actress?

And, lastly, the music.  Word on the cyber-street is that Janet was hooking back up with her long-time collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and in the early stages of some new music-making.  Remember, they were absent from the last album, Discipline.  And, I still don’t know who’s genius call that was.  In most cases, I’m of the Madonna philosophy of moving on to new producers and changing up your sound.  In Janet’s case that doesn’t seem to work.  And the formula with Jam and Lewis is tried and true, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  From what I read about the break-up, Janet allegedely wasn’t happy with Dupri’s running of her career.

So, how will this transform the music?  Will there be some tribute songs?  Will the whole project become a tribute album? And, I wonder what other artists will do in the form of tribute songs and projects.  There are already some out there.

And really, really lastly, I read there maybe be a Jackson Reunion/Michael Jackson Tribute Tour with Janet as the headliner with her other brothers.  Now, I would pay to see this and I just saw Janet for the first time in her Rock Witchu Tour last year.  Now, if she did this, would she have to drop out of the movie?  Or could she do the movie and then start working on this?

Just more questions than answers, really.  As a fan, my heart goes out to her.  I hope she will be able to mourn properly and for an appropriate amount of time, but at the same time be able to keep up with everything, too.   I think sometimes it’s good for people get back into some work, so they don’t get too lost in the grief.  Time will tell.  Michael, thank you and Rest In Peace.  Janet, hang in there and I offer my sincerest and deepest condolences to you and your family.

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November 29, 2008 UPDATE:  It has been recently reported that shows that were previously canceled on the US leg of Janet Jacksons’ Rockwitchu Tour will, ultimately, not be rescheduled.  As an aside, I am glad that I got to see her in Dallas. 

Prior speculation had been that the string of shows that were canceled had been due to low ticket sales and not because Janet was truly ill.  Don’t know if this lends credence to that theory or not.  There have been reports that new shows have been scheduled in Japan. 

Lastly, I don’t want folks to sleep on this podcast.   So, that’s why I’m re-presenting it.   I think it’s an entertaining conversation between J.W. Richard (J.Dub) and myself.  Check it out!

Originally posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2008.

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Just hours after seeing Janet on stage for the first time, Freddie gushes about her stage performance and his favorite moments of the show. 

I originally posted this on my MySpace Blog on October 23, 2006. This is what I said then (seems I had a lot to say):

NOTE: I’ve rushed to post these last 3. Hopefully, I don’t miss my flight to Houston. It’s November 13, 2008, 1:47PM.  See how dedicated I am to this blog and to you all! Completed at : 2:02PM

Anyway, here’s the original commentary, followed by some new stuff.

“One of my most favorite Madonna songs.  The video was inspired by anime’ (Japanese animation/comics).  I think they painted over the actual film with the color blue (paint, I guess) after they shot it.  I guess Madonna is supposed to be a Japanese-anime-cartoon-girl.

It reminds of Janet’s ‘If’– I don’t think it’s LIKE it — it’s just interesting to see the thematic connection. That is, the perception that there is a connection between Asian people/culture and (advanced/progressive) technology.  I think there’s a simple yet advanced presentation of mise en scène, too, which i respond to.

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW!

from wikipedia.com:

The term stems from the theater where, in French, mise en scène means literally ‘putting into the scene’ or ‘setting in scene.’  When applied to the cinema, then, mise en scène refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement .. sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting.  Mise en scène also includes the positioning and movement of actors on the set, which is called blocking.

for more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mise_en_sc%C3%A8ne

SO NOW YA’ KNOW!”

1. “Rain” from Erotica Released:  July 17, 1993

My favorite song from Erotica and one of my all-time favorite Madonna songs and videos.  All I’ll share is one story about this one.  I think I had it on Something to Remember, though it’s on Erotica, originally.  On tape!  My system at the time was dual cassette/record-player.  I think I still have the same system.  Shame!  I was in high school.

I was so pleased with myself when I discovered that the overlapped talking parts were recorded in mono.  One dialogue piece came out of one speaker while the other came out of the other.  It’s how I found out what she was saying for each bit.   The overlapping effect sounds cool, but is hard to understand what she’s saying.  Guess you can’t do that with CDs.  Or maybe you can.  Try to check it out.  See if it still works.  Let me know.

Anyway, I need to call a cab and get my butt to the airport.  I’ll be enjoying Madonna on the day you all read this.  This really is a beautiful song, she looks beautiful, and it’s one of her neater (yes, I said “neater”) videos.  Check it out!

Peace Out.  One Love.

So, I’m giving Madonna the same treatment I gave Janet.  I actually debuted this MY TOP 10 before my Janet MY TOP 10 on my MySpace Page a couple of years ago.  It’s a little late in starting because I’ve been on what I’ve been calling my own World Tour.  I was in Dallas for Janet, then I hit Vegas for a close friend’s wedding, and last week I was in the Kansas City, Missouri area for  some training for my day job.  So, I apologize for the short delay. 

Consider this a countdown of sorts to my getting to see Madonna for the first time just like the Janet MY TOP 10 was.  This really started with my trying to prove to a friend that both Madonna and Janet had quality video work and that that was part of the reason they were so successful and considered legends. 

After emailing him video links, I decided to do them as MY TOP 10s on my MySpace Page.  I’ll try to play catch-up and post until I get this thing back on track.  And, I’ll add new commentary as needed and as time allows.

I originally posted this on my MySpace Page on October 17, 2006.  I’m not adding anything new to this because I feel this entry sums things up pretty well.

10. “Express Yourself” from Like a Prayer Released:  May 9, 1989

“So, I was trying to prove to my friend, Jason, that Madonna is, arguably, one of the best video artists of our time.  So, I sent him a (somewhat) daily top 10 (in no particular order) about a month or two ago.

I’m going to duplicate my list here.  These are not necessarily my all-time top ten.  I just thought about showing the ones I enjoyed the most — with higher production quality and ones that displayed the quality and variety of her work.

Let me just say, that, though I am a Madonna fan, I do not think she walks on water.  I don’t agree with every move she makes and don’t like every video, song, or movie.  I like her over-all energy and how she handles things, in general.

She started around the same time MTV started and really understood the music video medium for what it was and for what it could be.  I like that she approaches her videos artistically and cinematically and doesn’t try to repeat herself.  Obviously, it facilates self-promotion, record sales, etc. as well.  And we know this fact does not escape her, either.

I think her video work is one of the reasons she has been successful for 20+ years.  This along with her reinventions through the years, her live shows, and her sexual provocation and envelope-pushing.  Oh yeah —  and there were some great pop songs along the way, too!

–Based on the 1927 sci-fi film, Metropolis.
–Notice the cinematic value, the great shooting style, the editing, etc.

Enjoy!!!”

Posted on my MySpage Blog on January 3, 2007.

“left some faves for last.  i think they’re some of her best videos, anyway.”

1. “That’s The Way Love Goes” & “If” from janet. Released: April 20, 1993 and July 13, 1993

Well, we’ve made it through to Number 1.  And, 2 videos, not 1, hold that spot — the first 2 singles from janet.  I still agree with my 2007 self that these 2 videos are Janet’s best and they are still, definitely, favorites.  What more can I say about the janet. era?  It speaks for itself, but I still have a little more to say.

The laid-back video intro and groove of “That’s The Way Love Goes” and the little nutcracker soldier choreography bit from “If” are the stand-out parts of each.  Can’t forget to mention the bebop flourish on “TTLG” and Supremes sample of “Someday We’ll Be Together” on “If” as well.  The curly brown hair, silver hoop earrings, Native necklace and little black vest (featured in both videos) are also iconic fixtures from this era.  The Jennifer Lopez appearance in “TTWLG” is one for the J. Lo completists and pop trivia buffs.

Well, while you all are enjoying these videos, I’ll be enjoying the real-life LIVE Janet.  Today is the day.  Can’t wait.  So, so, so excited.

Listening to The Velvet Rope (Together Again” is on) while I write this for you all on Saturday, October 18, 2008, 11:45 AM, to refresh myself on Janet’s repetoire.  On tape, you all! I’m telling my age.  Never upgraded to CD on this one.  Got my t-shirt this week.  I’m ready to go.

Peace out.

 

This is what I wrote on my MySpace Page on December 18, 2006:

“love this song and this video from the janet. album. i esp. like the mc lyte rap.  couldn’t find this video on myspace, so here are the youtube links.  also:  the video has a funny/nasty intro that is not included in this youtuber’s upload of the original b&w version.”

4. “You Want This” from janet. Released:  October 11, 1994

Oh, I so love the janet. era.  Janny looked a little awkard sometimes in the 80s, but she got street in the 90s.  The dookie braids! The khaki pants and white top!   The hip-sway dance!  Everything was just on point.   Enough about the visuals, though, the song itself is just a fun romp.  Makes you want to imagine some sexy man you’d want to sing this to.

It does have a chant-like quality.  “You Want This” is just a sexy, self-assured, funky groove.  Okay, back to the visuals — the video was shot in black-and-white and painted over to create a color version.  Funny video intro and mini-rap by MC Lyte make it memorable.  Obviously, a nod to the past, the tv show;  the cars; and the manly magazines add throwback touches.

The choreography is sexy and understated.  I’ve always liked the more square, hip-hop (even more masculine in a way) shape of Janet choreography (and old school choreography for that matter) than the more round, hip-driven (I know there’s some hips in this, but it’s still blocky), sway-y choreography of some of today’s female artists.  The choreography of old videos looked like you had to be an expert, trained dancer to really do it right whereas the videos of more recent times look like maybe anyone could do the dances.  But, I digress, “I Want This” and I know you do, too. 

Color Version

This is all I wrote on my December 11, 2006 MySpace post: 

“i’ve just always liked the way janet looks in this video. i like the look of the video, too. esp. the color scheme.”

I also orginally added a bonus the day prior, so I’m going to throw that one in with Number 7 today.

7. “Any Time, Any Place” from janet. Released:  May 24, 1994

Janet really asserted her adult sexuality with this track.  What I like about it is that it’s sexy and, though it pushes boundaries (yes, it’s a little bit naughty), it’s not raunchy or tacky.  I think things are sexier when they’re not so overt and in-your-face.  Yes, she’s laying it out pretty directly, but it’s not with X-rated language (see later Janet albums for that) and bad-tasting lyrics.  Lyrical content aside, it’s a nicely produced slow jam.

The video, visually, is just stunning.  I always just loved the way Janet looks in this video.  The color palette, aesthetic, art direction –the whole shebang — is just artfully done.  It’s not a way we get to see Janet often.  It was clever to make Janet more vulnerable and the video more subdued.  It’s a nice contrast to what the song’s about.

Don’t get me wrong,  it is a sexy video.  But, that’s the key word, it’s sexy, not nasty (in the bad way, not Janet Nasty, which is actually good nasty).  There’s a fine line and it’s all in how it’s presented and executed.  The sexuality is not forced down our throats; it just happens naturally and you get to be a voyeur in what feels like a healthy way not one you’ll feel guilty about later.  Janet never looked more beautiful.  And the green dress — fierce!

***BONUS***

This is what I wrote on December 8, 2006. Enjoy.  BTW,  “So Excited” featuring Khia was released on October 31, 2006.

“Today, I decided to go with her most recent video, ‘So Excited,’ from her latest album, 20 Y.O. (For those who don’t know, it’s been 20 years since the release of her breakthrough album, Control.  So, that’s what the title is referencing.  She actually released 2 teeny-bopper albums prior to Control, but Control is the one that hit.  And we all know, it hit BIG.)

Just nice to show her progression.  She still dances harder and better than any newbies/younguns out there.

Have a great weekend.”