“All For You”: a retrospective review of Janet Jackson’s 2001 album.
by Mark Keen
Between the “The Velvet Rope” (1997) and “All For You” (2001), Janet recorded a number of collaborations which enjoyed considerable success, although the first of these “Luv Me, Luv Me” (1998) with Shaggy has a chequered history. The song was recorded for the soundtrack ‘Stella Got Her Groove Back’, but there appears to have been some animosity between Janet and Shaggy. Janet and Virgin refused Shaggy permission to use the recording on his ‘Hot Shots’ album.
Things would get back on track with two highly successful collaborations in 1999 with Busta Rhymes “What’s It Gonna Be?” and “Girlfriend/Boyfriend” with Blackstreet. “What’s It Gonna Be?” reached the top 3 in the US and number 6 in the UK and had a striking (and expensive at $2 million) video.
“Girlfriend/Boyfriend” was not such a success in the US, but it hit big in other territories notably the UK (Number 11).
The first taste of the sound of the forthcoming album would come in 2000 with the infectious “Doesn’t Really Matter” which hit the number 1 spot in the US and top five in the UK. The song was from the soundtrack to the film ‘Nutty Professor II’ which Janet had a starring role in. The song was certainly a return to a more pop sound and enjoyed massive success, also helped by a great futuristic video.
It would be another year before Janet would return with the first official single off the “All For You” album. The 2001 single “All For You” would continue the upbeat joyous tone of the previous single, and Janet was rewarded with another number 1 in the US and international success. This is now recognised as one of Janet’s signature hits, which is quite an achievement so far into a career. Jam and Lewis had recognised that Janet’s biggest hits tend to be the ‘happy records’.
The follow up “Someone To Call My Lover” would also enjoy considerable success (US number 3, UK number 11), and was a stand out track in the album.
The final single from the album would be “Son Of A Gun” based on a sample from Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” plus additional vocals from Carly and a contribution from Missy Elliott. Whilst not a massive success in the US the single would enjoy greater success in the UK.
The “All For You” campaign was an enormous success with the album hitting number 1 in the US and the top five in most international territories. The album enjoyed the biggest opening week sales of Janet’s career in the US and selling over 7 million copies worldwide. In 2001 Janet would enjoy a further hit with Beenie Man. “Feel It” reached number 28 in the US and the top ten in the UK, Janet’s last top ten hit in the UK. However, Janet later regretted the duet after learning of Beenie Man’s homophobic comments.
Unfortunately we are about to enter a very difficult period in Janet’s professional life, which would cast a shadow over Janet’s career for the best part of ten years, but we will explore that period next time. Don’t worry as there’s still loads of great music to come and as you have got used to with my posts, plenty of great music videos!
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