Discipline (Janet Jackson album)

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Discipline
Studio album by Janet Jackson
Released February 26, 2008
Recorded July 2007 – January 2008
Genre
Length 53:55
Label
Producer
Janet Jackson chronology
20 Y.O.
(2006)
Discipline
(2008)
Number Ones
(2009)
Singles from Discipline
  1. "Feedback"
    Released: December 26, 2007
  2. "Rock with U"
    Released: February 5, 2008
  3. "Luv"
    Released: February 11, 2008
  4. "Can't B Good"
    Released: March 18, 2008

Discipline is the tenth studio album by American recording artist Janet Jackson, released by Island Records on February 26, 2008. It is her only album released on Island Records, after her five-album deal with Virgin Records was fulfilled with the release of 20 Y.O.. Jackson worked with producers such as Darkchild, Ne-Yo, Shea Taylor, Stargate, Johntá Austin, Jermaine Dupri, Tricky Stewart, and The-Dream on the album. Jackson's long-time producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, did not contribute to the project. The album was executive produced by Island Urban president Dupri and Jackson. The album experimented with the electropop, house, and dance-pop genres before the style became popular in the mainstream the following years after its release, and also contained R&B and hip-hop orientated tracks.

Four singles were released from the album; the first, "Feedback", was released as a digital download in December 2007. The song reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Jackson's best-charting single since 2001's "Someone to Call My Lover".[1] The album's later singles did not share the success of "Feedback". The deluxe version of Discipline contained a DVD documenting the production and promotion of the album and music videos.

The album received generally positive reviews, with critics arguing that it was an improvement on Jackson's two previous albums. Despite positive reviews it became one of her least successful albums. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, becoming her sixth to top the chart and it was her first album to reach number one in the United States after 2001's All for You. However, sales of the album quickly fell, and by June the album's promotion had officially ended. Jackson started her Rock Witchu Tour—with the support of Live Nation—in early September to positive reviews but by the end of that month Jackson parted with her record label despite the album's commercial failure.

Conception[edit]

In July 2007, it was announced that Jackson had signed a recording contract with Island Records, after her five-album deal with Virgin Records was fulfilled with the release of her album 20 Y.O. Jackson's tenth studio album, Discipline, which was an acknowledgment of Jackson's commitment, focus and dedication to her career, was released on February 26, 2008 under the supervision of label head L. A. Reid.[2][3][4] Jackson commented, "I wanted to name the album Discipline because it has a lot of different meanings for me but the most important would be work—to have done this for as long as I have ... And to have had the success that I've had—not excluding God by any means—but it takes a great deal of focus."[5]

Jackson worked with producers such as Rodney Jerkins (who produced the lead single "Feedback" alongside D'Mile), Jermaine Dupri, Ne-Yo, Shea Taylor, Stargate, Johntá Austin, Tricky Stewart, and The-Dream. Jackson's long-time producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, did not contribute to the project.[6] The album was executive produced by Island Urban president Jermaine Dupri and Jackson. She did not write or co-write any songs on the album, a departure from her usual practice of co-writing and producing all of the songs on her albums.[7] The song "So Much Betta" contains sampled portions of the track "Daftendirekt" by the French house music duo Daft Punk.[8]

The deluxe edition included a DVD entitled The Making of Discipline. The DVD is split into five chapters that documents the production of the album, its promotion, and the "Feedback" music video.[9] The first chapter entitled "Photo Shoots", shows Jackson creating a new image for the album and adopting different looks for different markets. She spent two days working on photos for the cover and credit booklet, revealing that she still feels uncomfortable in front of the camera despite two decades in the music industry. In the second chapter, "The Studio", Jackson expressed her opinion on recording work, stating that although she usually enjoyed the experience, it was, at times, tedious. She discusses further how her songs are built up in layers and parts, from melodies and background vocals or sounds.[10] The third chapter, "Rehearsals", shows the rehearsals of the dance routine for the "Feedback" music video. The DVD reveals that the eight dancers had been practicing for over a week before they started working with Jackson. The dancers then had three days to rehearse with Jackson and a further two days to complete the video. Jackson described the video as a metaphor for sexual tension.[10] The fourth chapter, "Behind the Video", shows the making of the video itself. Jackson told the director that she wanted a futuristic, moody concept, and he came up with the idea of jumping between planets. The final chapter is the lead music video in its entirety.[11][12] On March 31, 2008 an edition of Discipline in environmentally friendly packaging was released through Wal-Mart stores as part of a green promotion.[13]

Singles and notable tracks[edit]

The album's first single "Feedback", was released as a digital download in December 2007. In the US, the song reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number thirty-nine on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and number twenty-three on the Pop 100, becoming Jackson's best-charting single since "Someone to Call My Lover" in 2001.[1][14] The song was also successful in Canada, where it peaked at number three.[15] Due to a rushed release and no international promotion, the song failed to chart highly in European countries, peaking at number thirty-six in France.[16]

Subsequent singles were promoted and released primarily in the US. "Rock with U", the second single, was released on February 5, 2008. A music video was released, with the song peaking at number twenty on the Billboard Dance Club Play Singles chart and at number 4 on the UK R&B charts. Following Jackson's departure from Island Records two more promotional singles, "Luv" and "Can't B Good", were issued to select radio formats. "Luv", the first promotional single, was released on February 11, 2008. It was not accompanied by a music video or promoted and peaked at number thirty-four on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[17] A second promotional single, "Can't B Good", was released March 18, 2008 to urban formats. The song "2nite" was featured on the second part of the soundtrack to the film Sex and the City, entitled Sex and the City, Vol. 2: More Music.

Reception[edit]

Commercial[edit]

Discipline debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 for the issue dated ending March 15 with 181,000 copies sold.[18] While this was a higher chart position than Jackson's two previous releases, it was a lower first-week sales total compared to Damita Jo which opened with sales of 381,000 and 20 Y.O. with sales of 296,000.[19] Paul Grein of Yahoo! Music observed that with six number one studio albums, Jackson had "surpasse[d] her brother Michael Jackson, who has amassed five [number one] albums."[20] With six number-one albums, Jackson is now tied with Mariah Carey and Britney Spears in the US for the third most number-one albums for a female artist, behind Madonna with eight and Barbra Streisand's nine chart-toppers.[19][21][22] In its second week, US sales saw the album fall to number three with 57,000 copies sold.[23] In its third chart week, the album fell to number eight with sales of 38,000 copies.[24] In its fourth chart week, the album fell to number seventeen with sales of 34,000 copies, achieving total US sales in its first month of 310,000 copies.[25]

The album achieved moderate success in other countries, reaching number three in Canada (with 6,000 copies sold during its first week),[26][27] number nine in Japan (where it has been certified Gold for 100,000 shipments),[28] and number nine in Switzerland,[29] but had low sales in most European markets. By June 2008 Island stopped promoting Discipline. The singer expressed open dissatisfaction with the promotion of the album, explaining that there would be no further single releases.[30] The album failed in the UK charts, remaining just one week in position 63 with 3,914 copies sold.[31][32][33] In France, Discipline debuted at number forty-three with just 3,000 copies sold.[34] In Japan the album debuted higher, at number nine with 19,839 copies sold.[35] To date, the album has sold 507,000 copies in the United States; 100,000 copies in Japan and 9,312 copies in the United Kingdom.[28][33][36]

Critical[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[6]
The Boston Globe (negative)[37]
Entertainment Weekly C−[38]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[39]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[40]
The New York Times (mixed)[41]
PopMatters 5/10 stars[42]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[43]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[44]
The Village Voice (positive)[45]

Upon its release, Discipline received generally positive reviews from most music critics.[46] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 61, based on 14 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[46]

Music critic Keith Harris of Rolling Stone wrote, "Janet Jackson has abandoned the plastic R&B of 2006's 20 Y.O. for a sexier brand of digitized megapop [...] you can dismiss any images of the abusive Jackson clan that flit into your mind. Just lie back and enjoy the sensations as pure aural autoeroticism."[43] Andy Kellman of Allmusic gave a four-out-of-five star rating, noting several tracks were "as innocent, universal, and inviting as anything else in Janet's past",[6] and called the songs "Rock with U" and "2Nite" "irresistible, grade-A dancefloor tracks".[6] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described it as Jackson's "most cohesive album in a while", giving three-out-of-five stars.[44] Dan Gennoe of Yahoo! Music UK gave it seven out of ten stars saying "Still, if not perfect, there's plenty to like on Discipline, and while none of it is exactly vintage Janet, there's enough here to keep the Jackson name on pop's A-list for a little while longer."[47]

Carol Cooper of The Village Voice called Discipline "the most cohesive deep-groove album from La Jackson since Control."[45] NOW Magazine reviewer Bryan Borzykowski called it "her most modern and club-friendly"[48] album, and commented saying "Jackson wouldn't want us to call it a comeback, but it sure sounds like one."[48] Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times gave it a three-out-of-four rating, saying "Its 22 tracks should be two albums: The first, a club-directed missile helmed by "Darkchild" Rodney Jerkins and Jackson's beau, Jermaine Dupri, could reassert Jackson's primacy among glamazon hit-makers; the second, a bedroom-bound ladies' favorite coauthored by soul dauphin Ne-Yo, would remind fans of Jackson's gift for creating truly tender smut."[40]

The Boston Globe music critic Joan Anderman criticized the album saying "Jackson's decision to recycle the nympho routine one more time is just boring [...] A quarter-century into her career, it was Jackson's moment to take a breath, dig a little deeper, and make a bold - or at least a different - statement. Instead, she has trussed herself up in vinyl to coo another batch of digitized porn."[37] On a better note, she called the tracks "Rollercoaster" and "Luv" "engaging tracks", describing them as a "sassy-sweet side" and "a plump, crackling confection", respectively.[37]

New York Times music critic Kelefa Sanneh commented saying "If anything, Discipline may be too subtle: a pretty, smartly produced collection that sometimes sounds like background music."[41] Michael Arceneaux of PopMatters called the album the "same old from her", adding "These days her look and sound seem nothing more than a continuation of 2001's All for You."[42] Entertainment Weekly's Margeaux Watson wrote that Jackson's lyrics "sound like the cheesy text messages of a lovesick adolescent" and gave a C- rating.[38] Nick Levine of Digital Spy wrote that "Jackson's attempts to play the uber-nympho are beginning to sound very, very desperate" with "embarrassingly lewd lyrics" and gave the record 2 out of 5 stars.[49] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian described most tracks on the album as either boring or unmemorable.[50] Robert Christgau gave the album a "dud" score as he had done with her previous album 20 Y.O. ((dud)).[51]

Rock Witchu Tour[edit]

Main article: Rock Witchu Tour
Jackson performs during the Rock Witchu Tour.

Although the album promotion stopped in June, Jackson's fifth concert tour—the North American Rock Witchu Tour, with the support of Live Nation—began on September 10, 2008.[52] Amy O'Brian of The Vancouver Sun described Jackson's stage show at the GM Place as a "high-voltage performance".[53] According to O'Brian, "[w]ith an ear-piercing blast of pyrotechnics, a fog of thick cloud and dancers that popped up out of the stage and runway, Jackson proved within the first minutes that she didn't choose the low-budget route for her Rock Witchu Tour."[53] Similarly, Jim Harrington of The Oakland Tribune offered a positive review, stating: "Like Jackson's previous tours, 'Rock Witchu' was a flashy, high-budget extravaganza built on well-choreographed dance routines and plenty of theatrics."[54] The initial response to the tour was very good, with sold out shows in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.[55] Supporting acts for the show included LL Cool J and Donnie Klang.

Jackson had to reschedule nine dates on the first leg of the tour due to vestibular migraines.[56] However, on November 4, 2008, Jackson canceled 7 of the 9 shows which had been rescheduled, citing schedule conflicts as the main reason.[57][58] On November 19, it was announced on Japanese newspapers and websites that Jackson will bring the tour to Japan for a series of five shows in Saitama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka in February 2009.[59][60] However, all five dates were canceled.[61]

Departure from record label[edit]

On September 22—while on the Live Nation-supported tour of North America—Jackson parted company with her recording label Island; their 14-month relationship was dissolved per a request by Jackson.[62] The singer had previously expressed dissatisfaction with the label, first telling SOHH.com that they "stopped all promotion whatsoever on the album" after releasing the first single, "Feedback". In early September she had stated, "I can't say if we'll be working with them in the future. I don't know what the future holds between the two of us." A spokesperson for Jackson added, "[Jackson] will have autonomy over her career, without the restrictions of a label system... Always known to break new ground and set trends, Janet's departure from Island Records makes her one of the first superstar artists to have the individual freedom to promote their work through a variety of avenues such as iTunes, mobile carriers and other diverse and innovative channels".[63]

Jackson told Sister 2 Sister magazine, "There were some people who didn't like the direction I took with this album. I love doing dance songs and I think my fans expect that of me. I have been getting more behind the scenes with film and television. I will probably continue to do music – and acting is still a strong passion of mine – but I really have been loving behind-the-scenes work: producing, directing and all the technical stuff".[64] A few months before the split, a spokesperson for the label told Billboard, "Unfortunately we haven't experienced the results we would have liked with this new album. But we respect and support Janet".[30]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "I.D. (Intro)"   Rodney Jerkins, Dernst Emile Jerkins, Emile 0:48
2. "Feedback"   Jerkins, Emile, Tasleema Yasin, LaShawn Daniels Jerkins, Emile 3:38
3. "Luv"   Jerkins, Emile, Yasin, Daniels Jerkins, Emile 3:10
4. "Spinnin (Interlude)"   Jerkins Jerkins 0:08
5. "Rollercoaster"   Rodney Jerkins, Theron Thomas, Timothy Thomas Jerkins 3:51
6. "Bathroom Break (Interlude)"   Jerkins Jerkins 0:40
7. "Rock with U"   Shaffer Smith, Jermaine Dupri, Eric Stamile Dupri, Stamile* 3:51
8. "2nite"   Phillip "Taj" Jackson, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen Stargate 4:09
9. "Can't B Good"   Smith, David Gough Gough, Ne-Yo* 4:13
10. "4 Words (Interlude)"   Jerkins, Janet Jackson Jerkins, J. Jackson 0:11
11. "Never Letchu Go"   Dupri, Johntá Austin, Manuel Seal, Jr. Dupri, Seal* 4:07
12. "Truth or Dare (Interlude)"   Jerkins, Emile, Daniels, Delisha Thomas Jerkins, Emile 0:24
13. "Greatest X"   Christopher Stewart, Terius Nash Stewart, Nash 4:23
14. "Good Morning Janet (Interlude)"   Jerkins Jerkins 0:44
15. "So Much Betta"   Dupri, Crystal Johnson, Seal Dupri, Seal* 2:53
16. "Play Selection (Interlude)"   Jerkins Jerkins 0:17
17. "The 1" (featuring Missy Elliott) Dupri, Johnson, Seal, Elliott Dupri, Seal* 3:41
18. "What's Ur Name"   Dupri, Johnson, Seal Dupri, Seal* 2:34
19. "The Meaning (Interlude)"   Jerkins, Emile, Daniels, Thomas Jerkins, Emile 1:16
20. "Discipline"   Smith, Shea Taylor Taylor, Ne-Yo* 5:00
21. "Back (Interlude)"   Jerkins Jerkins 0:18
22. "Curtains"   Jerkins, Eric Dawson, Daniels, Antonio Dixon Jerkins 3:50

(*) denotes co-producer

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sleep Through the Static by Jack Johnson
US Billboard 200 number-one album
March 15, 2008
Succeeded by
Good Time by Alan Jackson
US Billboard Top Digital Albums
March 15, 2008
Succeeded by
Warpaint by The Black Crowes
Preceded by
Growing Pains by Mary J. Blige
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums number-one album
March 15, 2008 – March 22, 2008
Succeeded by
Trilla by Rick Ross