Janet Jackson

All for You

  • Virgin Records America

By far the most musically relevant of the Jackson family in 2001, Sister Janet's latest album is more predictable and less adventurous than 1997's underrated The Velvet Rope. But there's no denying that there are some flat-out irresistible grooves going down here. Produced once again by her longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the packed, 73-minute-plus disc shakes and shimmers with tracks like the Chic-styled title cut, the party-hearty groove fest “Come On Get Up,” and “Doesn't Really Matter”—last year's smash hit single from “Nutty Professor 2.”

The ultra-sweet smile and darn close to naked album cover will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows, but that's been Janet's shtick during the past decade. She follows up on that theme with several steamy ballads, making it work on the sultry “When We Oooo,” and all but parodying her sexy image on the ridiculously ribald “Would You Mind.”

Jackson, who effectively sampled Joni Mitchell's “Big Yellow Taxi,” on her last album, turns the tables on Carly Simon's “You're So Vain” this time out. But it's a complete disaster as Simon actually makes a bizarre, rap/spoken word cameo on the track, “Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You).” Jackson, Lewis, and Jam's love of samples surfaces far more successfully on “Someone to Call My Lover,” a sumptuous summer celebration that uses the out-of-nowhere guitar riff from America's “Ventura Highway.”

Kevin O'Hare