Fergie’s new album soars, Janet’s plummets

Robert Taylor

Divas Fergie and Janet Jackson both released their solo albums over the past two weeks and, shockingly, Fergie’s album proves to be fantastic while Jackson’s flounders. What happened!?

Jackson’s album 20 Y.O. appears to be her attempt to get back to the sound that made her famous, but Jackson takes it to the extreme and ends up releasing an album of elevator music instead of a coherent mix of old and new Janet.

After listening to the album, not one song sticks, with the possible exception of the mediocre “Daybreak.” The songs seem to merge from one into the next without the listener even realizing because none have their own identity. Sprinkled in with the unmemorable melodies are random interludes of Jackson saying a line or two about how she can’t believe it’s been 20 years since her breakthrough and thanking God for the opportunities, etc. It gets old fast.

The rap interjections in several songs are even more annoying than usual, and serve just to reinforce how clumsy the overall product is.

Despite the strong desire to rip that eyebrow ring out of her forehead and a deeply-embedded hatred for her current single, “London Bridge,” I must admit that Fergie’s The Dutchess is a strong album.

The album begins as one might expect, with Fergie proudly singing how “easy and sleazy” she is in “Fergalicious.” The song is listenable, but as the album continues it begins to evolve into something else.

We get different parts of Fergie’s personality other than her promiscuity, culminating with Fergie belting out the piano-accompanied eight-minute “Finally,” which is surprisingly emotional. Who knew the woman who cheerfully sang about her “humps” could do a ballad?

The album isn’t perfect, of course. Fergie’s attempt at a dance-floor theme “Here I Come” falls too flat to work as it should, and “London Bridge” sits in the first third of the album, mocking all the songs around it with its trashiness.

What is more surprising? That Jackson’s CD can be so bad or that Fergie’s CD is so good?

Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].

Janet Jackson

20 Y.O.

Released on Virgin Records

Stater rating (out of five): ? 1/2


The Dutchess

Released on A&M/Interscope

Stater rating (out of five): ????