Wednesday, August 02, 2000
Janet Jackson - Doesn't Really Matter

Similar to Madonna, trying to find a link between the quality of a Janet Jackson track and its style is harder than you'd at first think. '93's "If" was stunningly hard, which led me to think that tough tracks were her strong point, but its '97 follow up "What About" was bad Alanis, and I'd been deliberately ignoring "Black Cat" anyway. At the other extreme, while "Again" from Janet was an awful sappy piano ballad, the crowning moment of The Velvet Rope was "Empty", which hid its balladic tendencies under layers of hyperspeed jungle beats, like an on-form LTJ Bukem writing an r&b track. On the same album though you'll find "Every Time", which seems to be a scientific experiment in magnifying "Again"'s flaws. Slow jams? "That's The Way Love Goes" was nice, but can you even remember "I Get Lonely"?

Janet's new single "Doesn't Really Matter" falls into none of these camps (although the production certainly takes its cues from "Empty") instead falling into the one vein which Janet has been consistantly poor in: up-tempo but lightweight pop. Need I remind you of "Runaway" or "Together Again"? Unsurprisingly then, this is excellent, the aural equivalent of gossamer feathers tickling your ear.

This success is the result of Jam and Lewis (I'm assuming) playing to Janet's limited strengths: her voice has always been laughably weak, so instead of trying for 'soulful' (read: distracted high-pitched mumbling) or 'strident' (read: barely audible whimper with studio-added throatiness), they've got her singing so fast and so high that it's just a pleasant silvery tinkle perfectly matched to the vaguely Oriental arrangement and wonderfully synthetic pizzicato strings. Even better, her vocals dovetail rhythmically in time to the exquisite Jerkins-style clutter-beats, putting this in the same league as "Are You That Somebody", "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Bugaboo"; tracks which are almost impressive for their inventive vocal arrangements as their amazing productions.

The beats themselves are typical of Jam & Lewis's post-Timbaland style as was established on "Empty". It's hyper-syncopated and incredibly busy, perhaps more than that of any other R&B producer, but the rhythms aren't jarring like on Timbaland or Sh'ekspeare productions. The emphasis here is not on rhythmic intensity, but rather chromatic density; the beats are relaxing rather than energising, hovering lightly around your ears instead of twisting your hips, which is probably what puts me in mind of LTJ Bukem and other "deep" junglists.

I've completely ignored the other main ingredient here: this track, although too fast to sing along to easily, is as catchy as hell. The fact that it's pushing boundaries as well is just icing on the cake.


Post a Comment


everything here is by tim finney



mail me... here



Jamesy P

Patrick Cowley

It's About (Lopazz & Casio Casino's Maxi Mix)

Glass Candy
Sugar & Whitebread

Beats International
Dub Be Good To Me (Smith & Mighty Remix)

Depeche Mode
A Pain That I'm Used To (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)

Girls Aloud
Wild Horses


Bobby Valentino
Gimmie A Chance

Freeform Five
No More Conversation (Richard X Remix)


House Is A Feeling


A Wild Young Under Whimsy

And So This Is Christmas

Anthony Is Right




Bowling Ball

Breaking Ranks

Chantelle Fiddy's World of Grime

The Church Of Me

Cis Don't Like It Easy

Clap Clap Blog

Country Glamour

Cucina Povera

DJ Martian

Doubt Beat

Everything's Usable



Freaky Trigger

Freelance Mentalists

Freezing to Death in the Nuclear Bunker

Gel & Weave




The House at World's End


I'm So Sinsurr


Josh Blog


">Lex Scripta

Home of Matos

Must Try Harder

New York London Paris Munich

Orbis Quintus

The Original Soundtrack

Pearls that are his Eyes

Pearsall's Tunes

Philip Sherburne

Pop Life




Quicksilver Shapeshifter

Radio Free Narnia

Sasha Frere-Jones

Shards, Fragments & Totems

Silver Dollar Circle





Spliiiish (Atommick Brane)



Vain Selfish and Lazy

Why I Stopped Smoking


Words, Words (??????): A Catalogue of Errors

Worlds of Possibility



February 2004

January 2004

December 2003

November 2003

October 2003

September 2003

August 2003

July 2003

June 2003

May 2003

April 2003

March 2003

February 2003

January 2003

December 2002

November 2002

October 2002

September 2002

August 2002

July 2002

June 2002

May 2002

April 2002

March 2002

February 2002

January 2002

December 2001

November 2001

October 2001

September 2001

August 2001

July 2001

June 2001

May 2001

April 2001

March 2001

February 2001

January 2001

July 2000

June 2000

May 2000



Daft Punk


Ian Pooley


Artful Dodger

The Loft