All For You
Virgin Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/20/2009
Once upon a time, virtually anything either Michael or Janet Jackson touched would turn to gold. Their last name was synonymous with the term “number one,” and they dominated the pop landscape in the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, when the 21st century rolled around, everything suddenly turned sour. Michael’s final album Invincible was anything but, and Janet found herself becoming tabloid fodder with dismal reviews from critics, a disastrous breast-exposing Superbowl non-performance, and shocking weight gain that rendered her unrecognizable.
For the record, Janet’s 2001 release All For You managed to boast two #1 singles in the title track and “Doesn’t Really Matter,” which kept her in good stead with her fans. Unfortunately, the rest of the material that was to be found on the album painted Janet as a raving nymphomaniac. Not that Janet cared, since she would release three more albums in the same vein later on. Her sexually explicit lyrics showed a blatant disregard for her listeners, and it seemed as though Janet was subconsciously sabotaging her own career.
Containing fourteen tracks, All For You opens with “You Ain’t Right,” which has her doing an impressive Prince imitation. It’s the kind of hardcore dance track that you wouldn’t expect someone like Janet Jackson to pull off, but she does. She keeps the upbeat pace going on the racy “All For You” and the buoyant “Come On Get Up,” but then she gives us one dreary slow song after another (probably to create a mood for an extended lovemaking session). I’m sorry, but if I’m gonna have sex with someone, Janet Jackson music is probably the last music I would want to play as the soundtrack!
Donna Summer’s first album Love To Love You Baby was an extended orgasm that was cutting-edge back in 1975, but anyone who attempts to do the same today is going to be laughed right out of the room. And to think this stuff needed a producer?!? I can just imagine what kind of advice Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis gave Janet this time. We get it, guys, Janet isn’t Michael’s kid sister anymore. But to think this disgusting filth would sell to Middle America and the Bible belt is naïve and unprofessional…not to mention irresponsible. Any hope of Janet being a role model to young kids was thrown out the window when she pulled that “wardrobe malfunction” stunt in 2004.
Regardless of what she must have been thinking, All For You was the last Janet Jackson album that people paid any attention to. It’s got a “Black Cat” rocker “Trust A Try,” a duet with Carly Simon “Son Of A Gun,” and even an attempt at country pop, “Someone To Call My Lover.” Stylistically, there’s enough variation to satisfy, which makes her desperate attempts at being in-your-face all the more unfortunate. Someone should get this woman to Sex Addicts Anonymous, stat.