Let me rephrase that.
Things have been rough for Janet since Justin Timberlake helped her flash Super Bowl...
Unfortunately for Janet, the wardrobe malfunction happened at the wrong time. Tabloid media, internet gossip and E! True Hollywood Stories had already desensitized the public to ridiculous celebrity woes.
It's kind of hard to feel sorry for someone who was born into one of entertainment's most noted families, yet managed to expose one of her nipples during the halftime performance of one of the country's biggest annual family events.
The incident and the FCC backlash put the pressure on Janet's Damita Jo album. But Damita Jo couldn't handle it. And neither could 2006's 20 Y.O. While I personally liked both albums, neither delivered the impact necessary to shut down the haters.
When R. Kelly's sex abuse scandal hit, his infectious "Step In The Name Of Love" refocused the fans on his music. Mariah Carey recovered from her public mental meltdown and Glitter flop in 2005 with "We Belong Together" which set a record as the most played song in radio history.
Janet's forthcoming Discipline album needs to deliver her the same type of career blessing.
Janet's brand new single "Feedback" is the only track I've heard so far. Produced by leading R&B hitmaker Rodney Jerkins, it is a safe, pop-leaning dance track that reintroduces her on familiar territory. But more importantly, it sets her up for the video, the medium she owns.
Janet wannabes Ciara, Britney and Rihanna wished they looked this good in their twenties, much less in their early 40s. Janet proves that she is still an exceptional dancer, bouncing around in space and in a computer generated pond of milk in one of her trademark cat suits.
It's got me hoping that I'll get a bit more of the old Janet this time around.
Seeing Beyonce on tour last year, dressed up like Janet in the "Rhythm Nation" video, and emulating the militaristic dances, reminded me of how groundbreaking Janet was when she made that video nearly 20 years ago.
Watching Ciara freestyle in the mirror in her "1, 2 Step" video reminded me that Janet's 1987 "Pleasure Principle" was that much better.
And every time I see Britney on stage wearing the cordless microphone headset that Janet popularized in her "Control" video, I want to run up on the stage and snatch it off of her head. She's not using it anyway...
Janet's written the hip hop pop blueprint. She just needs to reclaim it. I'm crossing my fingers that she's gonna do it.
- Justin Timberlake