Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Janet Jackson 'What Have You Done For Me Lately?'

Chart Peak: 3
Charted on 18th March, moved slowly at first and then raced to No. 3 by 29th April. 'Lately' was followed into the Top 20 by 'Nasty' and 'When I Think Of You'.
Possibly the most noteworthy new arrival on Now 8, the second most successful member of the Jackson family was not an overnight success in the US, let alone here. Her only Top 100 success before this was the unlikely duet with Cliff Richard on 'Two To The Power Of Love', and even that only got to 83. Only when she reportedly defied her father's wishes and started working on her third album with Minneapolis-based producers Jam & Lewis did her fortunes change. Ironically, though, the breakthrough single was inspired by the end of her short-lived marriage to James DeBarge; it seems her father was right about him if nothing else.

This sound became ubiquitous, perhaps too ubiquitous for its own good, but rarely has it sounded as good as it does here, a combination of funk, soul and synthpop that works partly by contrasting Jackson's peppy vocal against the mechanical backing track. There's a twist of humour amid the exasperation and the middle eight comes in at exactly the right moment. It's as close as she and dare I say it anyone in her family ever came to a perfect pop song.

Also appearing on: Now 26, 38, 39, 40, 41, 49, 53 (with Beenie Man)
Available on: Design Of A Decade 1986/1996

1 comment:

  1. Spot on review. It's a pity that no other of the Control singles made the Now series although they are compiled elsewhere. As an album, Control is flawless, expertly produced and carries no fat. The two remix albums [with some overlap] complement it very well