Sunday, January 27, 2008

Janet Jackson in the "If" Video

For my money, no female pop singer can do a music video and look as sexy or as great as janet Jackson did in the video for "If". I still haven't learned how to embed videos, sorry guys. If you were a teenage boy in 1993, or a grown man with a pulse, you know the video I am talking about. This video would stop my friends and I in our tracks. I am talking about pre-implants janet, pre-workout freak Janet, pre-wardrobe malfunction Janet. I am talkign about the Janet in 1993 that did that awesome Rolling Stone shoot where she looked like the bomb, and then cemented her sexiness with the "If" video. It was a hurricane of just the right touch of things.

In the video, her body is bombing, her smile is just about perfect (probably veneers), her skin looks great, she has some curly hair thing going on that had some highlight dye thing to it, and she had started to get work done to her face but not too much. That's just what a 13 year old needed to see on screen as she sang "your smooth and shiny feels so good against my lips sugar".

To get all serious, this album and video represents something completely different that probably could not be done now from a female and black artist. On the album, Janet uses quite a bit of guitar for instrumentation to her songs. Her music could be classified in the R&B section and also in the pop/rock section. Some of the songs sound really hard for a pop princess. Now I ask... could a black, female artist do this today and get nationwide acclaim? No. As much as we want to say we have progressed, I feel from a musical standpoint, there is more pressure for black artists to conform to means of media that are the norm for black music. Part of this si because the labels discovered you did not have to have mainstream appeal and lighten up; being black somewhere along the line became a code for cool, and suburban white kids lapped it up. That is where the money is. Case in point is Alicia Keys. Her music sounds fantastic. She has a great group of fans. She also tries harder than kobe Bryant to show she has street cred, and it comes off pretty darn phony. It's almost as if there is a fear of betraying custom by doing something different. Ask Kenna what it is like to be a young, black male singer who does not rap or do lame "hip hop". See the lack of support he gets from a label despite having more talent than 75% of the industry.

As far as the video, nowadays, would they even waste time making a video? The video itself is sexy without Janet showing more skin than the average American mom now shows at a Little League baseball game. Consider any of Beyonce's videos. I do not need to see her naked because if I piece together every outfit from her videos, I have seen it all. Janet does an actual dance routine in this video instead of just shaking her T&A. Some of the moves I can still do because they struck me as so fluid and cool back in '93 and I mimiced them. I also spent time watchignt he making of the video special and the special on her world tour. Dare I say that she moves in a sensual manner implying her naughty abilities rather than just doing that butt shake/drop thing that seems to be in every rap or hip hop video. Remember that George Bernard Shaw said that dancing is a vertical representation of a horizontal desire. Something about the Janet video just seems much more adult than the crap that is out there now. For some odd reason, it feels like many of the young, female music and movie stars of today are trapped in this region of quasi-adulthood where they have to look like a trashy adult temptress yet still retain some little girl innocence about them. I understand the need to make people feel rotten about getting old, but something seems very odd with how so many of them don't seem fully adult. It is like they are trapped in some fairy land. I don't think a single starlet in the music industry could challenge the "If" video. No one.

Janet has an amazing laugh as well.

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