Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Six pieces of motherly advice from Janet Jackson's lyrics

Congratulations to Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana, who have just had their first baby - a boy named Eissa Al Mana.

As new parents, their most important task will be to ensure there's a constant supply of chocolate bars to help power through those 3am feeding sessions. Once you have that, it's all plain sailing (NB: It really isn't).

But as Eissa grows older, he'll turn to his mum for life advice. What can she, a globe-straddling pop icon who made her first stage appearance at the age of seven, tell the youngster about the real world?

Well, it turns out she's already provided invaluable guidance through her lyrics. Here's a sample:

1) "You can't run away from your pain
Because where ever you run
There you will be."

(From Special, on the Velvet Rope album)

Written after an emotional breakdown and a period of depression, it sees Janet acknowledge and accept her demons: An vital coping technique to pass on to your offspring.

Less essential is the follow-up line: "You have to learn to water your spiritual garden." Ew.

2) "No, my first name ain't baby.
It's Janet - Ms. Jackson if you're nasty"

(From Nasty, on Control)

Respecting your mum is the first step towards respecting all women. And eat your greens, young man, or there'll be trouble.

3) "In complete darkness
We are all the same
It is only our knowledge and wisdom
That separates us
Don't let your eyes deceive you"

(From In Complete Darkness, on Rhythm Nation)

Janet recently sang that her pleas for racial tolerance on Rhythm Nation made her "the poster child for being naive" but, given the current political climate, this message is as powerful and relevant as it was in 1989. It works equally well as a prelude to a game of pin the tail on the donkey.

4) "Broken hearts heal stronger"
(From Broken Hearts Heal, on Unbreakable)

While medically inaccurate, these words will comfort any child whose teddy bear gets his head ripped off in the ball pit of a soft play centre.

5) "Let's wait a while
Before we go too far"

(From Let's Wait A While, on the Control album)

Janet's hymn to chastity, from her breakthrough album, Control, is sound advice for young teenagers. But if it falls on deaf ears, hearing your mum sing "I wanna feel your sexplosion" (from the excruciatingly-titled Sexhibition) will easily put Eissa off sex until he's 34, thus avoiding any unwanted celebrity scandals.

6) "Because of my gender
I've heard "no" too many times
Because of my race
I've heard "no" too many times
But with every "no", I grow in strength
That is why, African-American woman,
I stand tall with pride."

(From New Agenda, on the Janet album)

No jokes. This one just sets an awesome example of strength and resilience in the face of hardship. It's taken from New Agenda, tucked away in the middle of Janet's so-called "sex album". It was pretty much the Lemonade of its day, but with Chuck D on it.

On reflection, it's probably best not to live your life according to pop lyrics, eh?

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