20 Y.O.

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20 Y.O.
Studio album by Janet Jackson
Released September 26, 2006
Recorded 2005–2006
Genre
Length 49:54
Label
Producer
Janet Jackson chronology
Damita Jo
(2004)
20 Y.O.
(2006)
Discipline
(2008)
Singles from 20 Y.O.
  1. "Call on Me"
    Released: June 19, 2006
  2. "So Excited"
    Released: August 28, 2006
  3. "Enjoy"
    Released: November 11, 2006
  4. "With U"
    Released: December 12, 2006

20 Y.O. is the ninth studio album by American recording artist Janet Jackson, released by Virgin Records America on September 20, 2006 in Japan, September 22 internationally, and September 26 in Canada and the United States. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with 297,000 copies sold in its first week, making it Jackson's eighth consecutive top three debut and second consecutive number two album debut. It is also Jackson's eighth consecutive platinum album. On December 7, 2006 the album earned Jackson a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album. The reception was better than Damita Jo but was still lukewarm. Jackson launched a contest, the "Design Me" cover contest, giving fans an opportunity to create the artwork for the album by downloading images of her and creating proposed covers for the album.[1] Jackson hand-picked dozens of images to be used in the contest. She selected her top four favorites, which were used for the standard edition's cover on U.S. pressings of 20 Y.O.[1]

Conception[edit]

In 2004 Jackson released her anticipated new album, Damita Jo. The added media exposure led to a high chart debut, but no hit singles, due to lack of radio support. Jackson, deciding to step away from the spotlight, announced in late 2004 that she intended to start work on a new album project in the coming year. It would involve her then boyfriend—record producer Jermaine Dupri, who was commissioned to executive produce the project—in addition to a roster of other hit producers. Jackson wanted to create a modern record, while returning to the music and sound that made her famous: dance, in the vein of Jackson's 1986 hit album, Control. Jackson was keen to get back to both R&B and dance, but with an emphasis on dance.[2]

While much of the album was recorded in Dupri's Atlanta recording studio in order to fully capture the Control sound and vibe, Jackson again invited producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to also work on the project in Los Angeles. Jackson also entered the recording studio with Dr. Dre, Kwame, Kanye West, and Track Starz, but none of the songs written with them made the final track listing. Executive produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Dupri, the concept of 20 Y.O., whose title makes reference to her 1986 hit and landmark album, Control (since 2006 was the twentieth anniversary of Control's release), is largely taking the sound of the past and mixing it with the modern-day present. The addition of producer Jermaine Dupri, quotes Jackson as saying, "It's an edge, an attitude, an exciting vibe that's assertive. It's about taking charge. It says, 'Here I am. I'm coming on. Musically, I have it. You want it. And I'm giving it to you.'"[3][4] 20 Y.O. completed Jackson's multi-album deal with Virgin Records. Jackson subsequently departed from the label after the run of its promotion.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[5]
Blender 2/5 stars[6]
Entertainment Weekly C+[7]
Los Angeles Times mixed[8]
The New York Times (positive)[9]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[10]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[11]
Stylus Magazine C+[12]
The Village Voice negative[13]
Yahoo! Music UK 4/10 stars[14]

Upon its release, 20 Y.O. received generally mixed reviews from music critics.[15] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, out of 100, to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 52, based on 14 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[15] Giving a three-and-half out of five-star rating, Andy Kellman with Allmusic commented on the album, saying, "...the title of her ninth album, 20 Y.O., is her safest and tamest work since 1984's Dream Street... With only a few exceptions, 20 Y.O. provides further refinements of the fun, flirtatious, midtempo songs of her past several albums. This is not a problem."[5] The New York Times music critic Jon Pareles commented saying, "On “20 Years Old,” Janet is as crafty and poised as ever. Her flirtations are still a pleasure, but an overly familiar one. She's done these same slinky moves too often to surprise listeners now."[9] He called the song "Get It Out Me" a "brilliant, pointillistic mixture of 1980s electro, Indian tabla drumming and vocals arriving from all directions" and referred to the song “This Body” as "snappy, pumping along on a ticking beat, a digitized hard-rock riff, a few electric-guitar sounds and countless fleeting synthesizer hooks.[9] USA Today gave the album three out of five stars, saying, "Janet still has the bounce, and the abs, to go at it with other singers barely as old as her career. It comes down to whether people still care now that the angst is gone."[16] Newsday gave the album a grade of A-, and has said of the album: "Jackson may not want to dwell in that past, either. After all, 20 Y.O. shows that her future could be even better."[17]

Eric Henderson with Slant Magazine said, "[T]he saddest thing about 20 Y.O. is that Janet's decision to hedge her bets on an album whose backbone is made up of terrible R&B instead of great dance music... will very likely pay off.[11] He also mention the production of Harris and Lewis, referring to it as "ice-cold beats [that] have melted into a lugubrious, lukewarm pudding—at under an hour, it still feels almost twice as long as janet. and The Velvet Rope."[11] On a positive note, he called the track "Enjoy" a "seamlessly smooth step groove aboard R. Kelly's 'Step in the Name of Love' boat."[11] Richard Cromelin with the Los Angeles Times compared the album with its predecessor, Damita Jo, saying, "20 Y.O. primarily has sex on its mind, in terms just slightly toned down from the heavy-breathing level of its predecessor, 2004's Damita Jo"[8] and, "In the opening set of songs alone, Jackson promises to do it all, says you'll have to work for it, compliments you on a job well done, tells you how to do it and assumes the identity of a model in a men's magazine. And she manages to do this without sounding especially raunchy."[8] With a C+ rating, Thomas Inskeepwith Stylus Magazine called it "Half-decent" and went to say, "[T]here's precious little to get, well, excited about here. Janet commits the ultimate sin of making an album that’s thoroughly mediocre. Apart from the sticky ear-candy of “So Excited,” there’s little I’d miss here if I went six months without it. This doesn’t sound like rejuvenation—it sounds like the beginning of the end."[12]

The Village Voice music critic Miles Marshall Lewis commented, saying, "Janet's been stuck on sex for three records, and it's getting tired." He also called "Enjoy" the highlight of the album, "Standing tallest above the rest, though, is 'Enjoy', a feel-good rave with harmonizing kids on the outro that recalls the whispery singer's freewheelin' mode..."[13] Evan Serpick with Rolling Stone commented saying, "[T]he title of Janet Jackson's latest album refers to the two decades since she released her breakthrough, Control, with hits like 'Nasty' and 'What Have You Done for Me Lately'; if we were her, we wouldn't make the comparison."[10] He also called the duet with Nelly, "Call on Me", a "shameless re-creation" of his duet "Dilemma" with Kelly Rowland.[10] Angus Batey with Yahoo! Music UK remarked saying that 20 Y.O. was "in their [Harris, Lewis Dupri] combined desire to take Jackson back to her roots, the cast assembled here has concocted not a great Janet album, but a facsimilie of one, correct in all the details, lacking substance and soul".[14] Robert Christgau gave it a "dud" score ((dud)).[18]

Promotion[edit]

Online[edit]

On May 1, 2006, a web-only song called "Weekend" was made available to fans to download via Jackson's official website. The song is a remake of "Lookout Weekend", a 1984 single by Debbie Deb. A contest for fans to create an album cover image for 20 Y.O. was announced on July 18 through Yahoo!.[19] Fans were able to create and submit their own album-cover design, with four winners being chosen by Jackson herself. The first million copies of the album were published with these fan-created covers. The concept of the contest was to create an image that best celebrated Jackson's past twenty years. Images that span over twenty years of Jackson's career were made available for download for use in creating the design.[20] The winners were featured in an October issue of Us Weekly. In addition to their art making the cover of the album, each winner received a trip to New York City to join Jackson in promotion. The album was made available for pre-order on iTunes beginning August 28, 2006. The single "So Excited" was available for immediate download with the pre-order purchase. Producer Jermaine Dupri began updating fans personally via Jackson's official website's message board. A MySpace account for Jackson was set up with new music and videos, and Jackson responded to fans personally. On September 14, 2006, Jackson premiered her MySpace reality show. The videos document Jackson, behind the scenes, working on the album and music videos, and contain a personal message from Jackson herself. Jackson updated the website with a new video periodically, giving fans exclusive insight into what she was working on. There were nine episodes in total.

Print and radio[edit]

In the lead up to the album's release, Jackson shot covers for Us, Vibe, Giant, W, FHM, Jezebel, OK!, Ebony, King, Sophisticates Black Hair, Movieline/Hollywood Life, Hype Hair, Men's Fitness, Vanity Fair Italy, Unleashed, Upscale, 944 Magazine, Out, and In Touch. Early cover stories focused on Jackson's recent weight loss, her relationship with producer Jermaine Dupri, the album, and turning forty. Her Us Magazine cover became the biggest-selling issue in the magazine's history. Jackson's Vibe issue also grabbed headlines with her bikini-clad August cover. The album itself includes a song called "This Body", which is about a man buying a magazine with an attractive woman on the cover and taking "her" home. Tracks from 20 Y.O. were premiered on XM Satellite Radio's "XM Hit List" in September, and exclusive interviews with Jackson were aired. She also did a series of interviews for Sirius Satellite Radio, which aired in September.

Television[edit]

The entertainment news shows Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood were granted exclusive access to shoot behind the scenes footage of Jackson as she made preparations for the album. The videos for "Call on Me" and "So Excited" were not seen on MTV initially, but on VH1 and BET. This is because Virgin did not initially sign a promotional contract for MTV. Jackson consequently spent considerable time promoting the album on BET, filming behind-the-scenes specials of the making of her music videos and making guest appearances on various shows on the network, including 106 & Park. A small promotional contract for MTV has since been signed. Jackson gave and filmed a sit-down interview and a live performance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in early September; the interview aired on September 25. Following Jackson's appearance, her performance of "Nasty" became the number-one most viewed music-related video on YouTube, attracting almost 25,000 views in twenty-four hours. From September 23–26, VH1 Soul aired Jackson's music video collection, beginning with the Dream Street (1984) singles and concluding with "So Excited". Although the videos were not aired in chronological order, they appeared in order of the album from which they were released. Jackson was also interviewed and asked questions. Jackson performed live on the Today show—as part of their Concert Series—on September 29. In November, Jackson returned to the U.S. and appeared and performed on numerous television shows (The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tyra Banks Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!) to promote the album.

Other[edit]

In July, Jackson did some early press in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., most notably speaking at an XM Satellite Radio conference. Jackson next embarked on a European press junket—which included stops in London and Berlin—to talk about the album, answer questions from the press, and meet fans. Jackson performed "Nasty" and premiered "So Excited" to the public in France at the NRJ Back to School Concerts. Jackson held an album signing in Times Square at the Virgin Megastore on September 26, the album's release date. On September 27, Jermaine Dupri, Usher, Al Sharpton, Nina Sky, Ludacris, Beth Ostrosky, Johnta Austin, Finesse Mitchell, and Gibril Wilson were among those who showed up for the album's release party in New York, New York.[21][22][23] In October, Jackson traveled to Japan in late October to promote the album. On December 4, Jackson opened the 2006 Billboard Music Awards with a medley of "The Pleasure Principle" and the remix of "So Excited". Jackson planned to tour to promote the album, but the tour was canceled due to recording "Discipline".

Packaging and editions[edit]

Four winning entries in the "Design Me" contest
"Design Me" cover contest winner Matthew Zeghibe with Janet Jackson and a guest at the release of 20 Y.O. in the Virgin Megastore, NYC (2006)

The deluxe edition of the album contains the CD, special packaging, a bonus DVD—Janet: 20 Y.O.: The Project, which features behind-the-scenes footage of photoshoots, Jackson rehearsing and recording the album, dancer auditions, and making of the "Call on Me" music video—and a forty-eight-page full-color booklet. The normal CD version in the U.S. has the four different "Design Me" covers featuring cover artwork designed by fans. The Japanese edition of the CD contains two bonus tracks: "Roll Witchu" and "Days Go By". The deluxe Japanese edition features the aforementioned bonus tracks, special packaging, the bonus DVD Janet: 20 Y.O.: The Project, a forty-eight-page full-color booklet and a fold out insert with Japanese translation of the lyrics and a review.

Several retail outlets in the United States are giving away various free items with the purchase of 20 Y.O.. The stores and items are listed below and come with both the regular version and the deluxe version.[24] Target was to offer a tour edition of the album, which would have given customers access to preferred seating (up to four concert tickets) at Jackson's then-upcoming 2007 World Tour. At Best Buy, the purchase of the album comes with a code to download four exclusive remixes of "Call on Me". At Wal-Mart, the purchase of album comes with a code to download one exclusive track. According to Wal-Mart's website, the store was to offer a special edition that would include a remix of "Call on Me" and an exclusive bonus video. At Circuit City, the purchase of the album comes with a code to download the Full Phat Mix of "Call on Me". At FYE, the purchase of the album comes with a free lithograph of the album cover photo. There are limited quantities available.

Chart performance[edit]

After Damita Jo reached number two, breaking a string of five consecutive number-one studio albums for Jackson, there was speculation about the chances of 20 Y.O. to reach the top spot in the U.S. The other big release of September 26 (the day 20 Y.O. was released), 2006 was Ludacris' album Release Therapy. However, first estimations gave 20 Y.O. green light for reaching number one, although it was known that both albums were head to head in the competition for that week. Finally, Release Therapy won the top spot, selling about 309,800 copies in its debut week. Meanwhile, 20 Y.O. was knocked off the top spot, reaching number two with 300,793 copies sold.[25] With a difference of 12,800 copies, it was one of the slimmest differences between a number-one and number-two album in the history of the Billboard 200. Even so, 20 Y.O. became Jackson's eighth consecutive top three debut and second consecutive number-two album debut. In the Japan the album debuted at the number 12 with 20,380 copies, but peaked at the number 7, when Janet was able to promote the album in the country.[26] On November 13, 2006, the album was certified platinum by the RIAA for shipments to U.S. retailers of more than one million copies and the album has sold 679,000 in the US to date.[27] It is Jackson's eighth consecutive platinum album. In March 2007, Virgin's parent company EMI reported that the album had sold 1.2 million copies worldwide.

Singles[edit]

The album's first single, "Call on Me", was released to U.S. radio on June 19, 2006. The song peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in mid-September, following the limited release of a commercial single. The second single, "So Excited"—which contains samples from Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" and features rapper Khia—, premiered on So So Def Radio on Atlanta radio station V-103 on August 19, and was made available via MySpace on August 21. The song peaked at number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 34 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It was most successful on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart, on which it became Jackson's 17th number-one and 30th top ten single. The third single in North America was "With U", which was released to radio on December 11–12, 2006, peaking at number 65 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It was released as a 12-inch vinyl single in the U.S. only. The third single, which was scheduled to be released in non-U.S. markets, was "Enjoy"; it was released only as a promotional single in Japan and received no commercial release.

Track listing[edit]

Standard/CD/MP3 download
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "20" (Intro) Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis Jackson, Harris, Lewis 0:53
2. "So Excited" (featuring Khia) (Samples "Rock It" performed by Herbie Hancock) Jackson, Jermaine Dupri, James Phillips, Johnta Austin, Harris, Lewis, Khia, Herbie Hancock, Michael Beinhorn, Bill Laswell Jermaine Dupri, LRoc, Harris, Lewis, Jackson 3:14
3. "Show Me"   Jackson, Dupri, Manuel Seal, Jr., Austin, Harris, Lewis Dupri, Seal, Harris, Lewis, Jackson 3:38
4. "Get It Out Me"   Jackson, Dupri, Seal, Austin, Harris, Lewis Dupri, Seal, Harris, Lewis, Jackson 3:05
5. "Do It 2 Me" (Samples "If Only for One Night" performed by Brenda Russell) Jackson, Dupri, Seal, Russell Dupri, No I.D., Harris, Lewis, Jackson 4:06
6. "This Body"   Jackson, Dupri, Phillips, Austin, Harris, Lewis Dupri, LRoc, Harris, Lewis, Jackson 4:10
7. "20 Part 2" (Interlude)     0:27
8. "With U"   Jackson, Dupri, Seal, Austin, Harris, Lewis Dupri, Seal, Harris, Lewis, Jackson 5:09
9. "Call on Me" (with Nelly) Dupri, Austin, Phillips, Cornell Haynes, Jr., Harris, Lewis Dupri, LRoc, Harris, Lewis, Jackson 3:24
10. "20 Part 3" (Interlude)     0:28
11. "Daybreak"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Austin Harris, Lewis, Jackson 4:21
12. "Enjoy"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. Avila, I. Avila 4:31
13. "20 Part 4" (Interlude) Jackson, Harris, Lewis Jackson, Harris, Lewis 0:43
14. "Take Care"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis Harris, Lewis, Jackson 5:43
15. "Love 2 Love"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Austin Jackson, Harris, Lewis 5:04
16. "20 Part 5" (Outro) Jackson, Harris, Lewis Jackson, Harris, Lewis 1:03

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

End-of-year charts[edit]

End-of-year chart (2006) Position
Billboard 200 (2006) 120[48]
Billboard R&B 50 (2006) 28[49]
Billboard R&B 50 (2007) 99[50]
Preceded by
FutureSex/LoveSounds by Justin Timberlake
U.S. Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums number-one album
October 14–21, 2006
Succeeded by
The Makings of Me by Monica

Release history[edit]

Region Date
Japan September 20, 2006
Italy September 22, 2006
Netherlands
Germany
Poland
Norway
Sweden
Finland
Ireland
Denmark
Switzerland
Austria
Belgium
Australia September 23, 2006
United Kingdom September 25, 2006
France
Spain
Portugal
Greece
Czech Republic
Russia
Ukrain
United States September 26, 2006
Canada
Mexico
Israel September 28, 2006
China September 30, 2006
Philippines
Malaysia
Hong Kong
Singapore
Thailand
Taiwan
Brazil October 5, 2006
India October 6, 2006

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External links[edit]