Janet Jackson - Unbreakable (Album Review)

"Let's keep the conversation going..."

Janet Jackson - Unbreakable (Album Review)

"Let's keep the conversation going..."

Like Madonna's recently brilliant "Rebel Heart", Janet Jackson's "Unbreakable" borrows from the past to create a record that sounds both innovative and classic J. Somewhat at fusion of "Velvet Rope" (1997) and "Rhythm Nation 1814" (1989), the album is full of reflection.

The title track is an ode to the fans, with an old-school feel, whilst "BURNITUP!" feat. Missy Elliot is a slinky, club banger with a retro ("Mr DJ") lyricism that comes across as charming from the two veterans. "Dammn Baby" bears a not unwelcome similarity to Dainty Kane's "Lemonade", but a playful breakdown in the middle changes that game and gives the track new life.

This may be the first Janet album where the Michael comparison is valid. Never before have the siblings sounded so alike than on "The Great Forever", and sunny tribute "Broken Hearts Heal" could've definitely found its way onto the likes of "Off The Wall". Same can be said for gospel-folk-infused "Well Travelled", which could've sat alongside any of MJs "Dangerous" ballads.

Refreshingly, the interludes, which bloated records like "All For You" and "Discipline", are kept to a minimum. Only the India.Arie-esque "Promise" and the cheeky outro are present. Also, the overt sexuality, which was empowering on "janet.", but became derivative by "Damita Jo", is left solely up to the excellent, J Cole assisted "No Sleeep". "Night" and "Take Me Away" are personal highlights; the former a midnight groover, reminiscent of "Throb", whilst the latter is "Runaway" meets "China Love" meets Prince (complete with guitar solo.)

However, it is on "Shoulda Know Better" where the Velvet/Nation fusion can truly be seen, jarring effectively between soft and hard styles ala "What About" and along with "Black Eagle" and "Lessons Learned" provides a socially conscious message. If there is a misstep, it's "2 B Loved", which feels like filler, but "Gon' B Loved" is a killer closer, with Janet providing all the different vocals. Well done J, Jimmy and Terry. "Unbreakable" was well worth the wait.