Pop star finds ‘Discipline’ on newest effort

Don’t call it a comeback. Rather call it a two-album hiatus and an opening for other artists to get a chance to shine. After 20-plus years in the music game, a host of platinum-plus albums and a successful acting career, Janet Jackson has another near-classic album under her belt with “Discipline.”

Dubbed her comeback and career solidifier, Janet is making strides leading up to the album’s release. “Feedback,” the album’s first single released in December 2007, is Ms. Jackson’s best-selling digital download ever, according to Billboard.com.

How many 41-year-olds can add that as an accomplishment this late in their careers? Not many.

Dropping in a hint of R&B, a dash of pop, a cup of hip-hop and two scoops of dance, Janet’s 10th studio and 22-track album is a treat for any iPod or CD player.

“Discipline” begins as a futuristic journey with her robotic buddy named Kyoko. The album’s first song is the techno-dance track “Feedback.”

Also serving as the album’s lead single, the sexy, futuristic track is the perfect song for Janet to reclaim international appeal. She subtlety seduces, “Strum me like a guitar blow out my amplifier/When you hear some feedback keep going take it higher/ Crank it up give it to me come on…I’m gonna feedback.”

And the heat continues… The album’s second single, “Luv,” definitely is a highlight on Janet’s futuristic journey. Produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, who never ceases to amaze, this song is guaranteed to be a hit. The horn-hefty song is infectious in its own right and Janet’s staccato spreads over the bassline like Crisco melting over a cast-iron skillet.

Another album high point is the slow jam, “Greatest X.” The oxymoronic testament of a past boyfriend, who was the best ex she ever had, is one of the most creative pieces of work on the album. Penned by songwriter-turned-singer,

The Dream, Janet slowly conveys a love lost, yet not forgotten.

“And I love you and you loved me/But I just couldn’t see tomorrow/Baby and I care for you and I didn’t see this through/Now I know in my heart you will always be the greatest ex ever.” The album continues on a smooth journey with single-worthy tracks like sexually animalistic title-track “Discipline” produced by Ne-Yo; The catchy “So Much Betta” and the creamy “Curtains,” just to name a few.

Although the album is a winner, it does come with pitfalls. “Never Letchu Go” become a nuisance to the inner ear as Janet aggravatingly murmurs over amateurish and cliché lyrics. one I’m never gonna let you go.”

The techno-infused “2nite” deserved a skip over too.

Regardless of the naysayers, Ms. Jackson is still relevant and provides that “it” factor that no other artist can reproduce. She takes ‘disciplinary’ measures to reclaim her pop thrown.

Move over imitators (Ciara and Britney) it takes “Discipline” and 20 years to get to this level. Critics may call this a return, but truth be told – Janet never left. All hail the Queen – hopefully, Aretha doesn’t get upset.

Grade: B+