Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jackson returns!

teeth ahoyNo, not that one. He's off in the Middle East protecting his face from the searing heat. I'm talking about Janet, who's gearing up for a omeback two years after the fantastic Damita Jo album was derailed by the Superbowl 'incident'.

Her official website has just been relaunched, with a great big James Bond style countdown clock. Presumably Jackson hasn't tied Mariah Carey to a train track and threatened to blow up the moon, but we won’t know for sure until Mayday.

janet's countdown

So, what's really going to happen at midday on May 1st? Some ideas:

1) Janet trashes a branch of McDonalds as an act of solidarity with the anti-globalisation movement
2) Janet hosts a party to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Treaty Of Versailles...
3) ...Or Una Stubbs 69th birthday
4) Janet photshops all of the pictures on her website so they suddenly reveal her left bosom.

Well, what we do know is that her new single is due next month, with an album to follow in the autumn. There's a rumour it'll be called 20 Years Old - a reference to the two decades that have passed since her breakthrough album, Control, was released. Despite the dreadful title (I prefer Janetarium myself) the album's producers have been making some encouraging sounds.

frightwig!"I think her record needs to sound like old Human League records," boyfriend / producer Jermaine Dupri told the World Entertainment News Network.

"It'll be 20 years since the release of Control," says long-time collaborator Jimmy Jam, "so there's definitely a little bit of a nod to that on the new album."

2006 will be a make-or-break year for the singer. If her new record underperforms like Damita Jo Jackson is headed for permanent dumperdom. It's understandable, therefore, that there's a lot of preparation going on. Tracks recorded with Beyoncé's songsmith Rich Harrison have been leaked, and Janet's efforts to get fit have been suspiciously over-photographed.

But over-exposure, both in terms of press and flesh, killed off Jackson's last project. Let's hope the rest of the promotional campaign focuses on the music and puts Janet back where she belongs - panting and grunting over a slick r'n'b drumbeat.

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