Janet Jackson - 20 Y.O.

Pop, R n B
20 Y.O.

Executive produced by Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Jermaine Dupri, the concept of 20 Y.O., whose title makes reference to her hit 1986 album, Control (since 2006 will be the 20th anniversary of Control's release) and also refers to "how old she feels", is largely taking the sound of the past, mixing it with the modern-day present.

The addition of producer Jermaine Dupri, quotes Jackson as saying, "It's an edge, an attitude, an exciting vibe that's assertive. It's about taking charge. It says, "Here I am. I'm coming on. Musically, I have it. You want it. And I'm giving it to you."

After the infamous Superbowl XXXVIII incident, Jackson released her 2004 album, Damita Jo. The added media exposure led to a high chart debut, but no hit singles. Jackson, deciding to step away from the spotlight announced in late 2004, that she intended to start work on a new album project in the coming year, involving her fiancé, record producer Jermaine Dupri, who was comissioned to executive produce the project - in addition to a roster of other hit producers. Jackson embarked to create a modern record, while returning to the music and sound that made her famous: dance, in the vein of Jackson's hit album, Control. Jackson was keen to getting back to both R&B and dance, but with an emphasis on dance.

While much of the album was recorded in Jermaine Dupri's Atlanta recording studio in order to fully capture the Control sound and vibe, Janet again invited producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on board, to also work on the project in Los Angeles.

Producer Jimmy Jam revealed the writing rhythm the new group had gotten into, "It used to be a lot of involvement from all of us, and at some point Janet became more confident with her writing ability, and she did the bulk of the writing, and it's kind of back full circle. We're all kind of back in there doing it again together, which I really enjoy." "It's the physical nature of sitting in the same room and really hashing it out. It's like, 'You're not going to leave until we have a lyric,' so it's fun."

"It's a lyrically confident album... It's more confident woman lyrics."

Both Janet and Jimmy Jam both agreed that the reason the addition of Jermaine Dupri molded so well into their trio, was because Jermaine was such a fan of Jam and Lewis' work and vice versa. "Jermaine would run into the studio and talk about the songs Jimmy and Terry had done on someone's album... Then Jimmy would start playing the song, and Jermaine would say, 'You know what? Let's do something kind of along those lines as a base."

For the song, "Call on Me" which also turned out to be the first single released off the album, Janet revealed that Nelly and Jermaine had been in the studio alone working together, and came up with the record on their own. They called Janet up, played it for her over the phone, and asked if she wanted to record it. Jackson obliged.

Johnta Austin, Kwame, Avila Brothers, Kanye West, Track Starz, LRoc Khia and Nelly were all involved in the production of the album.

On the question as to where the title for the album originated, Jermaine Dupri revealed, "I started asking her questions like, 'What was the feeling of life when you were 20?' I was so intrigued with what was going on in her life that I just thought her album should be called that." "It made sense as a concept because, obviously, the 20 years since the 'Control' album, but it also means -- for her -- a sense of rejuvination. A sense of that excitement you have when you are 20 years old, when your life is beginning and you're striking out on your own. She has the same hunger and excitement."

Jackson decided to change the title of her album from 20 Years Old to 20 Y.O. due to fan suggestion.

The track, "With U" is the follow-up to 1986's "Let's Wait Awhile" where the two characters put off the intimacy. "With U" takes place after the act, which results, Jackson explains, in "romantic confusion".

Afrika Bambaataa is used on "Get It Out Me" a track Janet says exploits the "freak within".

"Love 2 Love" Jackson says, takes her back to her Velvet Rope days. The song was written and recorded during the trial for her brother, Michael.

"Daybreak" is described as an "Escapade"-like track from Rhythm Nation 1814 which takes Jackson back to her youth with her then boyfriend, sneaking out of her parent's house at night and not coming back until daybreak.

"Enjoy" is referred to as "classic Janet." A reminder to live for the day. One lyrics is said to state "I refuse to be stuck in the past." Janet revealed that she had been recording the background vocals for the song the day before her brother Michael's verdict was to be announced, and cried because she claims she felt her brother's pain. The song "Take Care" talks about "missing that special someone... but realizing that self-pleasure can be a powerful and spiritual release."

The Herbie Hancock song "Rockit" is sampled and found on the track, "So Excited". Jackson has also revealed that a certain Kraftwerk song will also be sampled, but no information was given as to which song.

Two songs missing from the final tracklisting, but revealed publicly to fans and press were, "Clap Your Hands", and "Stuck Inside the Groove", which sampled a John Mayer song Jackson referred to as, "a mantra, a dancing meditation on sensuality."

Release Date : 06 Oct 2006