This morning, Janet Jackson debuted the long-awaited first single from her upcoming album, her first in over 7 years. The song is produced by Jackson alongside longtime collaborations Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The song is a slinky, mid-tempo R&B cut and classic Janet.
Is this going to be a huge, crossover, comeback single like, say, “All For You”? Probably not. It is not pop radio friendly, and while it could fit in on urban radio, it will take a lot of good will for them to embrace such a track. Regardless of this, the quality of the song is immense and deserves success, whether radio affords it or not.
In all honesty, the song elicits 1997. Had someone said this was a lost track from The Velvet Rope sessions, it’d be believable. The rain, the atmospheric, pulsing bass line, Janet’s impeccable harmonies, and the classy yet sensual lyrical content all evoke Janet at her peak. She is not attempting to “shock” anyone with her sexuality or embrace a more “youthful” sound. “No Sleeep” is mature and romantic; as Janet repeats throughout the track, it’s plush.
Needless to say, this song has set the bar high for the quality of the project, but leaves its commercial success in question. Undoubtedly, Janet will also be delivering a fierce uptempo, and while we all are slain by this mid-tempo groove now, we’ll most likely be asking why the inevitable uptempo wasn’t released as the lead single. While “No Sleeep” may elicit 1997, the reality is… it isn’t 1997, and this just won’t do if Ms. Jackson wants a grand scale commercial comeback. That being said, I’d love to be proved wrong.