Damita Jo (album)
|Studio album by Janet Jackson|
|Released||March 22, 2004|
|Recorded||May 2003 – February 2004;
Brandon's Way Recording, DARP Studios, Flyte Tyme Studios, Larrabee Studios East, Murlyn Studios, Platinum Sound Studios, The Record Plant, Sony Music Studios, The Village
|Producer||Dallas Austin, Babyface, BAG & Arnthor, Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Rockwilder, Scott Storch, Télépopmusik, Kanye West|
|Janet Jackson chronology|
|Singles from Damita Jo|
Damita Jo is the eighth studio album by American recording artist Janet Jackson, released on March 22, 2004 by Virgin Records. The album takes its title from Jackson's middle name, and experiments with various genres including rock, electro, house, and hip hop in addition to Jackson's trademark styles of dance-pop and R&B.
Damita Jo was released following Jackson's controversial Super Bowl incident, which resulted in Jackson's singles and music videos being blacklisted from many radio formats and music channels, largely affecting its chart performance. However, the album was certified Platinum and has sold over three million copies worldwide.
- 1 Development and release
- 2 Singles
- 3 Reception
- 4 Track listing
- 5 Personnel
- 6 Charts
- 7 Certifications
- 8 Release history
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Development and release
After releasing "Come on Get Up" as the final promotional single from her previous album All for You and before issuing "Janet Megamix 04" for club airplay, Jackson began writing and recording her eighth studio album. Damita Jo marked another transition from her prior seven albums by further attempting new styles and genres of music, exploring her sexuality more explicitly and openly, and collaborating with many new producers such as Télépopmusik, Dallas Austin, BAG & Arnthor, Kanye West, Scott Storch, and Babyface, also writing with Cathy Dennis, Karen Poole, INOJ, and then-upcoming artists such as Sean Garrett and John Legend. Jackson had previously began working with producers outside of frequent collaborators Jam & Lewis on her seventh album All for You, recording with Rockwilder and The Neptunes.
Some of the album's various sub-genres include rock ("Just a Little While"), electro pop ("All Nite (Don't Stop)"), house ("SloLove", "Put Your Hands On"), hip-hop ("Strawberry Bounce", "Sexhibition"), electronic ("Looking for Love", "The One"), ragga pop ("Island Life"), electro-disco ("R&B Junkie"), acoustic mid-tempos ("My Baby", "Thinkin' Bout My Ex", "I'm Here", "Truly"), ambient ("Warmth"), Motown-influenced ballads ("I Want You"), and contemporary R&B ("Spending Time with You"), among others spliced between various interludes. Jackson revealed she was searching for "sensitive people who can technically express what I'm going through emotionally" while seeking new collaborators, comparing the process of producing to directing.
The album's original theme focused more heavily on house music and electroclash, with planned collaborations with Basement Jaxx, The DFA, and Richard X announced. Additional sessions with The Neptunes, Rich Harrison, Guy Chambers, and Channel 7 also took place, though none of the songs were released. The album was recorded from late 2002 to February 2004 at Brandon's Way Recording, DARP Studios, Flyte Time Studios, Larrabee Studios East, Murlyn Studios, Platinum Sound Studios, The Record Plant, Sony Music Studios and The Village.
Jackson revealed the album took eighteen months to complete, the longest she had taken to finish recording an album. By comparison, she stated her breakthrough album Control took two and a half months, while Rhythm Nation 1814 took three. Speaking about the album's theme, Janet stated Damita Jo primarily focused on different aspects of love and intimacy portrayed through alternate persona's, saying "I guess I am divulging myself a little more on this album, and it's definitely much more intimate. That's another side of myself that people have seen, but not to this level." Speaking about the title, she said "It shows the different sides of me, the different characters that I feel that I display at different moments in my life. I've always wanted to do an album where the music is a complete departure from what people know me for, and I really didn't want anyone to know that it was me singing on the album. I was initially going to title the album "Damita Jo", which is my middle name, and when [producer] Dallas (Austin) and I were sharing our middle names with each other, he said 'that's what you should call the album', and I thought 'you know what, he's right. I shouldn't wait to do that, I should just use that now.'
"Damita Jo" is definitely who I am today, in all her schizophrenic personalities."
|“||"Beginning with the earlier albums, exploring - and liberating - my sexuality has been an ongoing discovery and theme. With Damita Jo, I push the envelope a little further. As an artist, that's not only my passion, it's my obligation." — Janet Jackson speaking about the album's theme in Upscale Magazine ||”|
Frequent collaborator Jimmy Jam also spoke about the album, saying its initial stages of "hard-hitting dance music" were inspired by Zero 7 and Télépopmusik, who produced the album's interludes. "It's all over the place, from songs that I would call classic Janet songs, meaning that they could've been on any of her [earlier] albums. Some of the songs have a definite sort of ambient quality to them. We've been listening to a lot of everything from Zero 7 to Télépopmusik, [so] there's a little bit of that. There's some house stuff, which there always is [on her albums]", alluding to previous house singles such as "Throb" and "Together Again", adding "There is going to be some more guitar-flavored things." "Her albums are always what she's thinking at the moment," Jam said. "Her thoughts may change six months from now. Her biggest thing is to be honest with her fans. Whatever stuff she wants to talk about, it's coming from her heart."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jam exclaimed "Janet was itching to get back in the studio". "We talked about a million different possible things to do and finally decided to do a brand-new album", also revealing the first two songs recorded for the album being in the vein of her chart-topping smash "That's the Way Love Goes". "It's sensual, mid-tempo, and it has a little bit of a jazzy vibe," Jam initially said of the new material, though adding that other songs would go in entirely different directions and styles. "It's kind of all over the place. We have some kind of up tempo dance house things, we have some funky down tempo things, a couple of real sensual ballads."
Additionally, producer Dallas Austin promised the album to be "easily the most sexy thing she's done", likening Damita Jo to Prince's third album Dirty Mind. "To me, this is her Dirty Mind," Austin explained, referring to the Prince album that established him as a hormonally charged pop star. "It's a really sexy record, but not in a sensual way. It's bold, it's fun, it's really positive. Nobody's sad, nobody's mad. It's just really fun songs where she happens to be talking frankly about sex." Austin said the direction came from the energy she gave off from her when they first started working together. "She always shows what's going on with her life through her records, reveals the phase she's in with her life and brings out that experience," he said. The overriding theme of Austin's collaborations with Janet is her bubbling sexuality, saying "Guys won't know what to do with themselves after this," laughing at the prospect. "It's one of the best records she's made."
|“||"A songwriter is like a novelist. You invent characters. Because they're born out of your brain, they reflect you. But good characters are independent of you and live lives of their own." "As a writer, I created her. As a singer, I live through her. As an artist, I find her compelling. She might be crazy, she might even be twisted, but her sexual adventures are exciting. I want her music to reflect that excitement." — Janet speaking about the development of the abstract personalities portrayed on Damita Jo ||”|
Some of Jackson's alter egos appearing on the album include 'Damita Jo', an aggressive persona mentioned during the album's title track and "Sexhibition", and 'Strawberry', a sultry exotic dancer who emerges on "Strawberry Bounce". Explaining the creative process of the album's portrayal of different personalities, Jackson answered "A songwriter is like a novelist. You invent characters. Because they're born out of your brain, they reflect you. But good characters are independent of you and live lives of their own. I hope Strawberry is a good character. Sexually, she's on fire. She doesn't mince words. She has to have it and doesn't care who knows it." "As a writer, I created her. As a singer, I live through her. As an artist, I find her compelling. She might be crazy, she might even be twisted, but her sexual adventures are exciting. I want her music to reflect that excitement."
Speaking about "Damita Jo", Jackson said "She's another way to express and expose a deeper part of me." "Damita Jo" is "a lot harsher, and quick to put you in your place. She doesn't sit and ponder about stuff, where I'll go, 'Should I or shouldn't I?' She's tougher than I am. Then there's Strawberry. She's the most sexual of them all, the wildest. There's a song I didn't put on the album that was pretty hard core - it's called 'Ruff,' and she talks about how she likes it", pausing before saying "she likes it rough." Blender Magazine commented the persona "represents not only pleasure, but also liberation and rebellion against her upbringing — it's a time when she doesn't need to be the polite, professional Janet, and can turn into raw, unrestrained Strawberry."
Jackson also explained how her middle name became another identity and the album's title, saying "My mother made up "Damita." I presumed "Jo" was for Joseph, my father, even though I later learned it wasn't. Because he was emotionally withdrawn, I was never comfortable using it. For years I didn't. Now I love being called Jo. I've come to the point where I'm trying to accept - even embrace - everything that has happened to me. I believe that without acceptance there's no serenity." When asked how often she transitions to her substitute identities, Janet replied "It's not an everyday indulgence. Not even every week. But every now and then I like playing around in that mode. I don't take it to an extreme. Nor do I do it dangerously. I call it role playing with a twist."
Jackson also said the characters "absolutely" live inside of her, exclaiming "it feels wonderful" to release them.
The concept of various persona's is further detailed on the album's opening interlude "Looking for Love", in which Jackson says every individual is "So many people rolled into one", though each is unified by the same motive — "So many different characters live within us, all looking for love."
|“||"One of the joys of writing is to watch reactions. And allow the reactions. People will say whatever they say. Everyone's entitled to his or her own interpretation. I'm fascinated by these interpretations. That's why I'm not big on analyzing my own lyrics. As far as calling Damita Jo a sexual obsession, though, I'm not sure. Obsession feels like a judgmental term to me, and when it comes to sex, I try to throw judgements out the window. If there's any obsession at all, it's this culture's demand that we be sexually categorized as either gay, straight or bi."
"I do think they oversimplify sexuality. If we accept those categories, we feel constrained to choose. But the categories are artificial and often arbitrary. We aren't one thing but many things. We're everything at once. At different times in our life - at different times in the course of a single day - we respond in different ways. The common denominator shouldn't be sexual preference. It should be love. I like to think Damita Jo is all about love." — Jackson responding to criticism regarding the album's intimate content and the classification of sexuality
This is Jackson's second album to bear a Parental Advisory label; the first being All for You. The clean version of the album is heavily censored, removing all explicit language, sexual content (including certain moaning), and also omitting two songs entirely for their erotic content ("Warmth" and "Moist"). Censoring is most notable in the songs "Sexhibition" (which was retitled "Exhibition"), "All Nite (Don't Stop)" (several lines have been completely removed), and "Like You Don't Love Me", in which most of the chorus is omitted. Jackson's representative commented on the album's topless cover photo, which reflected the album's personal and intimate theme, saying "She just wanted a simple and youthful picture that she felt people would like. It's beautiful, soft. So far, fans love it", adding "web sites have been going crazy" for the sultry image.
Collaborations with Gwen Stefani and Pink were discussed for Damita Jo, as well as a potential duet with Justin Timberlake prior to the occurrence of the controversial Super Bowl incident. British publication Music Week initially confirmed the album's fourth single to be "My Baby", a collaboration with Kanye West.
Damita Jo was released during the hectic period in which Jackson had generated public backlash for her Super Bowl XXXVIII incident the previous month. The accidental incident resulted in the blacklist of Jackson's singles and music videos from many major radio formats and music channels worldwide. A senior executive for entertainment conglomerate Viacom, which owns MTV, VH1, and many radio formats, stated "[We are] absolutely bailing on the record. The pressure is so great, they can't align with anything related to Janet. The high-ups are still pissed at her, and this is a punitive measure." The blacklist also affected the album's promotion, with Jackson being banned from attending and performing at various awards ceremonies, including the Grammy Awards and MTV Video Music Awards, though Justin Timberlake, who performed with her at the Super Bowl incident event, was still allowed to attend.
According to YouTube creator Jawed Karim, Janet's Super Bowl XXXVIII incident led to the creation of YouTube, also making 'Janet Jackson' the most searched term, event and image in Internet history, as well as the most searched person and term for following two years. Blender Magazine described the incident, saying "Though it has been [inaccurately] called a publicity stunt, the Super Bowl shot has put Jackson's enduring career at risk. In less than two seconds, she was no longer the Normal One: now she had enemies. FCC chairman Michael Fowell called it "classless, crass and deplorable," as though he had never watched TV before. CBS had subcontracted the halftime show to MTV, since both are owned by Viacom, and the conglomerate began to fear that the FCC might clamp down on cable TV, which it has left unsupervised. As a result, the president of Viacom told Congress he was "shocked and appalled" by the halftime show, as though he had never seen I Want a Famous Face." "Suddenly, after years of keeping a steady professional profile, the 38-year-old singer found herself embroiled in a media furor. The public was so outraged by 'Nipplegate', as it was known, that in the middle of the troubles in Iraq, President Bush was asked to comment on the incident." In another account of the incident, Jackson's AllMusic biography stated "2004 began with an Internet leak of [Jackson's new single] the upbeat "Just a Little While." The singer's camp rolled with the punches, offering the track to radio as an authorized digital download, but the buzz this business caused was minuscule in comparison to the nightmare union of free exposure and bad publicity that Jackson's next adventure caused. Appearing at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII as scheduled, Jackson performed "All for You" and "Rhythm Nation" before bringing out surprise guest [Justin] Timberlake for a duet on his hit "Rock Your Body." But the real surprise came at song's end, when a gesture from Timberlake caused Jackson's costume to tear, exposing her right, pierced breast on live television to hundreds of millions of viewers." "A federal commission was set up to investigate prurience, the FCC enacted tougher crackdowns on TV and radio programs broadcasting questionable content, and suddenly everyone from pundits to politicians to the man in the street had an opinion on Janet Jackson's chest."
Producer Jimmy Jam revealed Janet considered writing and recording a song about the Super Bowl incident for the album, saying "I don't know whether it will or not. But I have a feeling it probably will, because kind of whatever's happening in her life tends to be what she writes about." "As we're finishing up these last four or five songs, you never know - something may slip in there. It'd be kind of interesting to see what her feeling is about it."
Although it debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 selling 381,000 copies in its first week, and was certified platinum within a month, selling in excess of over three million copies worldwide, the album was considered a sales disappointment compared to Jackson's previous efforts. Prior to the Super Bowl incident and blacklist, music journalists predicted Damita Jo to have massive chart success and outsell its predecessor All for You, which had sold eight million copies worldwide. The album received positive to mixed reviews upon release, with some critics pointing out the controversy over the Super Bowl incident or the sexually-charged nature of some of the songs, which were composed well before the incident.
|“||"Of course everyone wants to sell records and be number one," she concedes. "And I think that's important. But for a lot of artists today, it's all about the money as opposed to the art. What happened to artists creating this wonderful body of music that touches people and changes their lives?" — Jackson commenting on the album's success ||”|
Due to the blacklist, the album's singles did not perform as well as releases from her prior albums on the Billboard Hot 100, despite being aimed heavily at both pop and urban radio formats — an odd absence considering Jackson's radio-friendly appeal, acclaim, and chart success. The album's lead single "Just a Little While" managed to debut and peak at #45 on the Hot 100 and reach the Top 20 in airplay, becoming the most added song on pop radio and achieving high digital downloads before being pulled from radio following the blacklist. A remix of the song with new vocals, lyrics, and instrumental titled "Love Me" was produced by Just Blaze was also initially planned for release before this occurred. Despite this, the song managed to peak at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play and held the top position for five weeks in Japan, also reaching the top two in Belgium, number three in Canada, number six in Spain, top 10 in Hungary, and the top twenty in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Italy.
However, the following singles achieved greater success on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play charts, with the Motown-inspired, Kanye West-produced ballad "I Want You" reaching number eighteen on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the Top 20 in the United Kingdom, and the electro danceable number "All Nite (Don't Stop)" topped the dance chart, also charting in eleven other territories internationally. The former has since been certified platinum by the RIAA. "R&B Junkie", an electro-funk inspired dance song, was only released as a promotional single and managed to reach number one on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. The radio and music channel blacklist massively affected the album's chart performance, with the album's singles being the first time Jackson missed the Top 40 since the release of "Come Give Your Love to Me" over twenty years prior.
Two songs produced by Rich Harrison titled "Pops Up!" and "Speed it Up (Put it On Me)" were leaked and later released on promotional vinyls with "Love Me", a newly recorded urban remix of "Just a Little While" produced by Just Blaze. Other leaked tracks include "Could this Be Love", which appeared following "Like You Don't Love Me" on promotional samplers issued to music journalists, and "Ruff", produced by The Neptunes. Jackson considered including "Ruff" on her tenth studio album Discipline. Two unreleased songs produced with Dallas Austin titled "Let it Go" and "If You Want Me To" are also registered to ASCAP.
In popular culture
- Britney Spears was photographed listening to Damita Jo in April 2008. In 2009, Spears included Damita Jo's title track in a list of her favorite songs for iTunes, saying "I love to dance to this song. It has such a good beat to it." Spears also played the album's second single "All Nite (Don't Stop)" before the start of every show on "The Circus Starring Britney Spears Tour" and later included it in a list of her favorite songs for X Magazine, the official X Factor magazine, in 2010. Additionally, Logo's TheBacklot considered Spears' "How I Roll", which appeared on her seventh album Femme Fatale, to draw inspiration from the "Damita Jo" track "Strawberry Bounce".
- The title of Spears' eighth studio album "Britney Jean" was also noted to be influenced by Damita Jo, with ABC News Radio saying "Seemingly taking a page from Janet Jackson's 2004 album, Damita Jo, Britney Spears has combined her first and middle names -- Britney Jean -- to come up with the title for her much-anticipated eighth studio album." Spears' third album Britney also drew comparisons to the name of Jackson's self-titled janet. album, and was compared to her breakthrough album Control.
- Music critics observed Beyonce's alter ego "Sasha Fierce" and the title of her third album I Am...Sasha Fierce to be influenced by Janet's Damita Jo album. The Sydney Morning Herald noted "When Janet Jackson released the album Damita Jo after the Super Bowl nipple furore, she told us that "Damita Jo is one of the characters that lives inside of me". And now Beyonce wants us to know that this album ( I Am … Sasha Fierce, Sony BMG), divided into two discs of different styles, reflects how: "I have someone else that takes over when it's time for me to work and when I'm on stage, this alter ego that I've created kind of protects me and who I really am." Additionally, The Courant stated "her musical forebear Janet Jackson is occasionally known as Damita Jo, so why shouldn't Beyonce have an alter-ego, too?"
- MTV considered Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi to possibly be titled with inspiration from Damita Jo, with both albums titled after alternate names and persona's.
- Various celebrities attended the Damita Jo album release party, including Patrick Demarchelier, L.A. Reid, Courtney Love, Coco Austin, Lindsay Lohan, Hoobastank, Al Sharpton, Wendy Williams, Isaac Hanson, Elisabeth Rohm, Matt Serletic, Lennox Lewis, Patti LaBelle, the Z100 staff, Ja Rule, Dan Abrams, Lady Bunny, Jai Rodriguez, Betsey Johnson, Ice-T, Padma Lakshmi, Angie Stone, and Brian McKnight, among others. Gift bags for "Virgin Records Presents Damita Jo: A Celebration with Janet Jackson" included nearly $18,000 in merchandise, which included a membership to an exclusive gym and double-sided sticky tape to keep clothes in place and help avoid a wardrobe malfunction.
- In April 2013, Dannii Minogue tweeted "iPod Shuffle rediscovered album Damita Jo #JanetJackson #SexyTunes".
- Christina Aguilera commented on the album in People Magazine, saying "Damita Jo is a good album. I love that album. Janet never stops giving you what you want. She's an artist that will always be regarded as one of the best. Like Madonna, she's reinvented herself a lot and kept a connection with her audience. The whole Superbowl thing ruined her reputation with the media and pretentious prudes, but who cares about them? She's still doing her thing."
- In an interview, Lindsay Lohan revealed she stayed fit while filming "Mean Girls" by dancing to Jackson's Damita Jo album. Lohan had also attended the album's release party.
- Lil' Kim released a remix of the album's title track, while Vic Damone released a remix of "Island Life".
The album earned Jackson two nominations at the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "I Want You". Throughout the Damita Jo era, Jackson also received the "Inspiration Award" at the Japan Video Music Awards, "Legend Award" at the Radio Music Awards, "Silver Award" at the BPI Sales Awards, "Legend Award" at the MOBO Awards, "Icon Award" at the OHBMH Awards, "Favorite Female R&B Artist" at the American Music Awards. "Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievements (Lifetime Achievement Award)" at the Soul Train Music Awards, ranked as one of the "Greatest CDs of 2004" in Blender Magazine, and was nominated for "Best Female" at the Teen Choice Awards, "Best Female Singer of the Year" at the BET Awards and "Artist of the Year" at the Source Awards.
During the album's release, Jackson also received various accolades for her humanitarian work and philanthropy, including the "Humanitarian Award" from the Human Rights Campaign and "Touching a Life Award" from the Behind the Bench Awards.
|American Music Awards||Favorite R&B Female Artist||Won|||
|Behind the Bench Awards||Touching a Life Award||Won|||
|BET Awards||Best Female Singer of the Year||Nominated|||
|Blender Magazine||50 Greatest Albums of 2004 (#50)||Won|||
|BPI Sales Awards (UK)||Silver Award ("Damita Jo")||Won|||
|Comcast Xfinity||Music's Weirdest Alter Egos ("Damita Jo", #10)||Won|||
|Grammy Awards||Best Contemporary R&B Album||Nominated|||
|Grammy Awards||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("I Want You")||Nominated|||
|Human Rights Campaign||Humanitarian Award||Won|||
|MTV Japan Video Music Awards||Inspiration Award||Won|||
|MOBO Awards||Icon Award||Won|||
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Female Artist||Won|||
|OHBMH Awards||Icon Award||Won|||
|Radio Music Awards||Legend Award||Won|||
|Soul Train Music Awards||Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievements, Lifetime Achievement Award||Won|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Best Female||Nominated|||
|Source Awards||R&B Artist of the Year||Won|||
|Complex||Sean Garrett's 25 Most Essential Songs||Won|||
The singles released from Damita Jo were each affected by Jackson's controversial Super Bowl incident, which resulted in her singles and music videos being blacklisted from many radio formats and music channels worldwide and lasted until after the release of her tenth studio album Discipline when the legalities from the incident were resolved. A senior executive for entertainment conglomerate Viacom, which owns MTV, VH1, and many radio formats, stated "[We are] absolutely bailing on the record. The pressure is so great, they can't align with anything related to Janet. The high-ups are still pissed at her, and this is a punitive measure."
|“||[We are] absolutely bailing on the record. The pressure is so great, they can't align with anything related to Janet. The high-ups are still pissed at her, and this is a punitive measure. — Senior executive at Viacom speaking about Jackson's airplay and video outlet blacklist ||”|
- "Just a Little While" — Produced by Dallas Austin and co-written by Janet; released as the lead single from Damita Jo in February 2, 2004. "Just a Little While" debuted and peaked at #45 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top 20 in airplay with nearly 30 million audience impressions in its first week before being pulled from radio following Jackson's radio blacklist, making it her first solo and lowest peaking lead single to not reach the top 40 since her breakout album Control and single "Come Give Your Love to Me" released over twenty years prior. Before this, it became the most added song on pop radio and achieved high digital downloads. The song managed to peak at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart and held the top position for five weeks in Japan, also reaching the top two in Belgium, number three in Canada, number six in Spain, top 10 in Hungary, and the top twenty in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Italy.
- The "Just a Little While" video was directed by Dave Meyers and was released exclusively in select territories internationally while Jackson and her label Virgin Records attempted to find a solution to the blacklist on her videos and singles. The video featured Janet filming a DVD for her boyfriend while in a futuristic setting. An urban remix of the song with new vocals, lyrics, and instrumental titled "Love Me" was produced by Just Blaze was also initially planned for release.
- "I Want You" — "I Want You", a mid-tempo ballad produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Kanye West, was released as the second single from the album in April 2004. The blacklist following the Super Bowl incident persisted to affect the performance of Jackson's singles, with the song peaked at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100, though it reached the Top 20 in the United Kingdom and on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song notably featured additional writing from John Legend and violinist Miri Ben-Ari.
- "I Want You" was certified Platinum for selling over a million copies and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The song's music videos was directed by Dave Meyers and featured Jackson traveling through New York City, though it was blocked from being aired on MTV or other popular music channels due to the blacklist.
- "All Nite (Don't Stop)" — Released as the third single from Damita Jo in May 2004; written and produced by Jackson and BAG & Arnthor. "All Nite (Don't Stop)" reached number one the Hot Dance Club Play chart, securing yet another chart-topping dance hit for Jackson. Like the album's other singles, it's airplay was affected by the blacklist surrounding Janet on many radio formats and music channels worldwide. Regardless, it received some radio airplay on pop formats, allowing it to chart on the US Pop Songs at number thirty-three in July 2004. In mid-March 2008, following the success of "Feedback", the song re-entered the Hot 100 Singles Sales on position 40, giving it a new peak. While blacklisted from airplay, the song's high single sales allowed it to also reach the Top 10 in Japan, Top 15 in Spain, and Top 20 in the United Kingdom, and Top 25 in Australia, Belgium, and Romania, additionally charting in Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
- A music video was directed by Francis Lawrence and was filmed in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, though it received the same fate as the other videos from Damita Jo, with many music channels refusing to air it while the blacklist was still in place. A separate music video for the So So Def remix of the song featuring Elephant Man was also initially planned.
- "R&B Junkie" — Promotional single issued as the album's final release on December 30, 2004. It contains an interpolation of Evelyn "Champagne" King's 1981 hit, "I'm in Love". The song was not regarded as an official single and did not have a music video, though it reached number 1 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.
|The New York Times||(positive)|
|The Village Voice||(mixed)|
|Yahoo! Music UK|||
Upon its release, Damita Jo received positive to mixed reviews from most music critics. Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 53 based on 13 reviews.
Jesse Washington of The Associated Press praised Damita Jo as "sinfully appealing" and "infectious", saying “Relax. It’s just sex.” Impossible. Although Janet Jackson delivers those instructions a mere six minutes into her new CD, “Damita Jo,” relaxation is the last thing on her agenda with this sinfully appealing concoction of infectious beats and scandalous lyrics." "Such content isn’t unusual in today’s pop culture landscape, where cable TV’s raunch is stealing viewers and awards from broadcast networks and the Cat in the Hat tells dirty jokes on movie screens." "As always, Jackson’s voice is sweet and frosting-light — there’s not one vamp or soaring note on the whole album. But we’ve never looked for vocal extravaganzas from Jackson, now 38. We look for her to entertain us with excellent videos, saturate the radio with catchy tunes, and move our bodies in the club." Washington continued to say “Damita Jo” has the goods to do exactly that. Among the many excellent tunes are “My Baby,” featuring the atypical rapper/producer Kanye West; the Babyface-penned-and-produced “Thinkin’ Bout My Ex,” which might have Jackson’s current boyfriend Jermaine Dupri looking over his shoulder; and the soulful dance track “SloLove,” which is not slow at all with production from Murlyn Music of Sweden." Washington concluded Jackson to be consistently on par with her rival Madonna's and surpassing Michael Jackson's recent work, exclaiming "Janet’s output has remained consistently good, even eclipsing Michael’s in recent years." "For creating pop confections that you can grind to on the dance floor or wherever else grooves are got on, Jackson remains up there with Madonna as one of the best ever. She’s still relevant and compelling 22 years after her first album, and will probably remain so long after her right breast is forgotten."
Giving it four out of five stars, Blender critic Ann Powers stated that Damita Jo is "Artfully structured, unapologetically explicit, Damita Jo is erotica at its friendliest and most well-balanced. This hour-plus of Tantric flow even erases the memory of Jackson’s clunky Super Bowl breast-baring. [...] Moving through various moods, Damita Jo’s songs touch on decades of pop-music romance, from the Motown sound that is the Jackson family’s foundation to hip-hop’s latest throwback beats. Her lyrics, though hardly avoiding familiar sex talk, meld common exhibitionism with convincing intimacies. Making it clear that she actually enjoys both having sex and singing about it, Jackson brings bliss back to a subject that too many dirty-mouthed hotties have made tedious through overexposure." Head rock and pop critic Alexis Petridis of The Guardian rated Damita Jo four out of five stars, saying "Damita Jo's opening salvo is an object lesson in keeping things concise. Four tracks, each barely three minutes long, go hurtling past in a head-spinning blur of snapping rhythms, buzzing synthesized noise and oddly disconnected samples: cut-up vocals and glockenspiel on Strawberry Bounce, rattling tablas on Sexhibition. Elsewhere, there are impossibly lithe basslines - notably on All Nite (Don't Stop) and I Want You, an intriguing electronic reconstruction of an early 1970s soul ballad. For the most part, the songs are not only inventive, but brilliantly constructed. The hooks nag, the choruses are explosive. R&B is primarily a singles genre - even the peerless Aaliyah's albums were a bit of a slog - but Damita Jo's strike rate is remarkably high. It's triumphant stuff." He also called the first single, "Just a Little While", "a brilliant, skeletal take on mid-1980s drivetime rock" Music critic Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times said, "The album is even sleeker and sexier than its predecessor, All for You, and in saner times, that would be enough to ensure its success. But this is a profoundly insane time for Ms. Jackson [...] Ms. Jackson does just the opposite.
Giving it three out of five stars, Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine criticized Damita Jo saying it featured "a slew of the gooey, structureless sex ballads that have become Janet's staple, including "Warmth," three-and-a-half minutes dedicated to describing how Ms. Jackson-if-you're-nasty gives a blowjob" but also called the songs "Like You Don't Love Me" and "Moist" "two of the album's best." Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called the album "less impressive than janet. [...] Damita Jo starts off bold - But as the album proceeds it gets realer, mostly whispered softcore by the second half even when it's love songs per se. Call me immature, but I figure there's never enough good sex in the world. In a culture inundated with dirty pornos, Damita Jo is good sex." David Browne of Entertainment Weekly rated it a 'C+' saying "This time, Jackson's stab at a sexy album also lacks a certain va-va-vroom. The tracks, many produced by her longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, have the sumptuous, homogenized creaminess we've come to expect from her [...] Thematically, Damita Jo is essentially the same record she's been making since 1993's janet., her first overtly carnal work." Angus Batey of Yahoo! Music UK gave it four out of ten stars, and criticized it saying "Almost every track of "Damita Jo" is a paean to some kind of rumpy pumpy. Numerous explanatory spoken word asides seek to reassure us that Janet, as she approaches 40, is seeking love rather than reveling in lust." On the other hand, she called "R&B Junkie" "a delicious throwback, like a glorious 'Rhythm Nation'", "I Want You" "a peculiar post-modern waltz with a '40s supper club vibe, being the ear-catcher", and "All Nite (Don't Stop)" "another precision-tooled winner, with Jackson using an almost ethereal higher-pitched vocal delivery."
Neil Strauss of Rolling Stone gave the album two out of five stars, saying "Like the Super Bowl stunt, Damita Jo (titled after Jackson's middle name) smacks of trying too hard. [...] the truth is that Jackson is just trying to humanize herself, as she did so well on her breakthrough 1986 album, Control. But here she succeeds only in sounding even more out of touch, exposing her so-called real self -- her Damita Jo side -- by talking about how she used to enjoy listening to music while doing her homework and likes to read a good book on the beach." Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic rated it two out of five stars and stated that Damita Jo, is "yet another album that finds Janet exploring her sexuality, a voyage she's been on for about 11 years. [...] Once, Ms. Jackson's sexual obsession was indeed sexy and erotic, but by this point, it's not just tired, it's embarrassing." Ian Wade of BBC Music had mixed feelings about Damita Jo, saying that "While there's nothing outwardly bad about Damita Jo, at 22 tracks over 65 minutes, your attention does start to wander and you almost forget it's playing. But after a third or fourth listen, the slick grooves of "Spending Time With You" and "Island Life" gain more identity. [...] Damita Jo heralds no real major leap forward, but it's no pig's ear either. A bit of editing and a couple of killer dance tracks would've made it even better. And although millions will remember what Janet Jackson did in 2004, it won't be for this album."
Responding to potential criticism about the album's sexual content, Jackson replied "One of the joys of writing is to watch reactions. And allow the reactions. People will say whatever they say. Everyone's entitled to his or her own interpretation. I'm fascinated by these interpretations. That's why I'm not big on analyzing my own lyrics. As far as calling Damita Jo a sexual obsession, though, I'm not sure. Obsession feels like a judgmental term to me, and when it comes to sex, I try to throw judgements out the window. If there's any obsession at all, it's this culture's demand that we be sexually categorized as either gay, straight or bi." "I do think they oversimplify sexuality. If we accept those categories, we feel constrained to choose. But the categories are artificial and often arbitrary. We aren't one thing but many things. We're everything at once. At different times in our life - at different times in the course of a single day - we respond in different ways. The common denominator shouldn't be sexual preference. It should be love. I like to think Damita Jo is all about love."
Explaining some of the album's subject matter, Jackson likened her lyrics to metaphors for the intense emotions experienced during romantic and intimate moments, saying "In painting that portrait, I'm trying to infuse a spiritual quality to one of the most beautiful moments a woman can experience." Using "Moist" as an example, Jackson said "The metaphor is falling rain. I'm equating the lyrical grace of gentle water with the phenomenal sensation of physical release. I want to praise that sensation, celebrate that feeling, and recreate the ecstasy that comes with a total mind-blowing, body-shaking orgasm." Speaking about "Sexhibition", Jackson said "I wouldn't dissect that one too deeply. It's about wordplay. We were just tripping on the words. Trying to have fun by sexing up our vocabulary."
Damita Jo debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 381,000 copies (behind Usher's Confessions), and has since sold 1,002,000 copies in the US, receiving a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) within two months of release, on May 27, 2004. Elsewhere the album debuted at number seven in Canada (selling 9,100 copies) and at number ten in Japan (selling 27,510 copies); it was ultimately certified platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for sales of 100,000 copies in each country. The album also reached number thirty-two on the UK Albums Chart, and was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on April 2, 2004, denoting shipments in excess of 60,000 copies.
The radio and music channel blacklist massively affected the album's sales. Prior to the Super Bowl incident and blacklist, music journalists predicted Damita Jo to have huge chart success and outsell its predecessor All for You, which had eight million copies worldwide. Metro Weekly compared the album's performance to Jackson's rival Madonna's chart peaks with "American Life" the prior year, saying after Madonna released questionable material which resulted in the "biggest flop of her career", "It's doubtful Jackson planned the Super Bowl stunt to be quite the reveal it was. She also didn't count on the backlash, a backlash that has actually caused her the same fate as Madonna: public apathy to her music."
Damita Jo has sold over three million copies worldwide. Commenting on the album's performance, Janet said "Of course everyone wants to sell records and be number one," she concedes. "And I think that's important. But for a lot of artists today, it's all about the money as opposed to the art. What happened to artists creating this wonderful body of music that touches people and changes their lives?"
|1.||"Looking for Love (Intro)"||Jackson, David Ritz, Fabrice Dumont, Christophe Hetier, Stephan Haeri||Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jackson, Télépopmusik||1:29|
|2.||"Damita Jo"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. R. Avila*, Iz*||2:46|
|3.||"Sexhibition"||Dallas Austin, Gregory "Ruckus" Andrews||Austin||2:29|
|4.||"Strawberry Bounce"||Jackson, Kanye West, Harris, Lewis, Tony "Prof T" Tolbert, Shawn Carter, Irving Lorenzo, Jeffrey Atkins, Rob Mays||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, West||3:11|
|5.||"My Baby" (featuring Kanye West)||West, Sean Garrett, Jackson, Joni-Ayanna Portee||West, Harris, Lewis, Jackson||4:17|
|6.||"The Islands (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:39|
|7.||"Spending Time with You"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, B. R. Avila, I. J. Avila||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. R. Avila*, Iz*||4:14|
|8.||"Magic Hour (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:23|
|9.||"Island Life"||Jackson, Scott Storch, Cathy Dennis||Storch, Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:53|
|10.||"All Nite (Don't Stop)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Tolbert, Anders Bagge, Arnthor Birgisson, Herbie Hancock, Paul Jackson, Melvin Ragin||BAG & Arnthor, Jackson||3:26|
|11.||"R&B Junkie"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Tolbert, Michael Jones, Nicholas Trevisick||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:11|
|12.||"I Want You"||Harold Lilly, West, John Stephens, Burt Bacharach, Hal David||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, West||3:57|
|13.||"Like You Don't Love Me"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, B. R. Avila, I. J. Avila||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. R. Avila*, Iz*||3:31|
|14.||"Thinkin' Bout My Ex"||Tanya White, Babyface, Andy Cramer||Babyface||4:36|
|15.||"Warmth"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Dana Stinson, Tolbert||Rockwilder, Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:44|
|16.||"Moist"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, B. R. Avila, I. J. Avila, Tolbert||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. R. Avila*, Iz*||4:54|
|17.||"It All Comes Down to Love (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:39|
|18.||"Truly"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:59|
|19.||"The One (Interlude)"||Jackson, Ritz, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||1:02|
|20.||"SloLove"||Jackson, Shelly Poole, Tommy Danvers, Bagge, Birgisson||BAG & Arnthor, Jackson||3:44|
|21.||"Country (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:31|
|22.||"Just a Little While"||Jackson, Austin||Austin||4:11|
|1.||"Looking for Love (Intro)"||Jackson, Ritz, Dumont, Hetier, Haeri||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, Télépopmusik||1:29|
|2.||"Damita Jo"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, B. R. Avila, I. J. Avila||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. R. Avila*, Iz*||2:45|
|4.||"Strawberry Bounce"||Jackson, West, Harris, Lewis, Tolbert, Carter, Lorenzo, Atkins, Mays||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:10|
|5.||"My Baby" (featuring Kanye West)||West, Garrett, Jackson, Portee||West, Harris, Lewis, Jackson||4:17|
|6.||"The Islands (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:39|
|7.||"Spending Time with You"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, B. R. Avila, I. J. Avila||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. R. Avila*, Iz*||4:14|
|8.||"Magic Hour (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:23|
|9.||"Island Life"||Jackson, Storch, Dennis||Storch, Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:53|
|10.||"All Nite (Don't Stop)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Tolbert, Bagge, Birgisson, Hancock, P. Jackson, Ragin||BAG & Arnthor, Jackson||3:26|
|11.||"R&B Junkie"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Tolbert, Jones, Trevisick||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:10|
|12.||"I Want You"||Lilly, West, Stephens, Bacharach, David||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, West||4:12|
|13.||"Like You Don't Love Me"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis, B. R. Avila, I. J. Avila||Harris, Lewis, Jackson, B. R. Avila*, Iz*||3:39|
|14.||"Thinkin' Bout My Ex"||White, Babyface, Cramer||Babyface||4:33|
|15.||"It All Comes Down to Love (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:38|
|16.||"Truly"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||3:58|
|17.||"The One (Interlude)"||Jackson, Ritz, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||1:01|
|18.||"SloLove"||Jackson, Poole, Danvers, Bagge, Birgisson||BAG & Arnthor, Jackson||3:44|
|19.||"Country (Interlude)"||Jackson, Harris, Lewis||Harris, Lewis, Jackson||0:30|
|20.||"Just a Little While"||Jackson, Austin||Austin||4:11|
|Japanese edition bonus tracks|
|23.||"I'm Here"||Jackson, Bagge, Birgisson, Dennis||4:16|
|24.||"Put Your Hands On"||Jackson, Karen Poole, Bagge, Birgisson, Edward Fletcher, Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover, Clifton Chase||3:56|
(*) denotes co-producer
- Sample credits
- "Strawberry Bounce" contains a sample of "Can I Get A..." by Jay-Z featuring Amil and Ja Rule.
- "All Nite (Don't Stop)" contains a sample of "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" by Herbie Hancock.
- "R&B Junkie" contains a sample of "I'm in Love" by Evelyn King.
- "I Want You" contains a sample of "Close to You" by B.T. Express.
|Japan||March 22, 2004||EMI|
|Australia||March 26, 2004|
|United Kingdom||March 29, 2004||Virgin Records|
|United States||March 30, 2004|
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