Well this is a horny album.
I only remember “Someone to Call My Lover” and “Doesn’t Really Matter,” the former of which surprised the hell out of me at the time with its America sample. (I mean, an America a sample? In 2001?)
Some of the material on here is arguably as catchy as those two songs, including the other singles (with one major exception) and a few of the deep cuts. But, as with so many R&B albums of the era, there is way too much material. (And the dreaded interludes, though these are mostly very short.) I have trouble imagining there are too many people out there who like every single one of these 14 songs (none of which are shorter than 4 and a half minutes).
Jackson’s lyrics are always pretty sex-focused but, holy hell, is this record sex-obsessed. Maybe it’s true what they say about women in their 30s…
I’ve read that this album was a big influence on the dance pop and R&B of the aughts but I have basically zero idea of that since I spent the first few years in a small town in Quebec with no radio and only a French music video channel, and most of the rest of the decade without cable. If it was, maybe I should bump it up a bit.
I do feel like it doesn’t sound as dated as most ’90s R&B does now. With the exception of the sort of disastrous Carly Simon cover/interpolation/collaboration, nothing really feels too “of its time” to me. Of course, that could come from me not listening to this kind of music with any kind of regularity.
Jackson remains a very compelling performer. And this album is relatively diverse for the genre, like all her albums are. But it’s so damn long. And, at least to my ignorant ears, it doesn’t have the same kind of cultural influence that her earlier albums did.