Thursday, August 17, 2006

Short-Form Friday: What do we call you if we're really nasty?

Janet Jackson - "If"



This is easily my favorite Janet Jackson video. Ever. This was such a great era for Janet. Freed of the high collars and epaulets of the Rhythm Nation era. Still a good decade before the "Oops! There's a Japanese throwing star on my nipple!" era. And while she had transformed her body from the cherubic little-sisterness of her early videos to the hard body you see in this clip, she hadn't yet embarked upon the binge/purge/fat/thin/dangerous-foreign-surgery rollercoaster that has characterized her divergent public appearances the past several years. This was Janet at her absolute peak. The hair, the body, the clothes, the music: flawless.

The video itself is fairly phenomenal as well. It's got it all: dramatic lighting, simulated sex acts, intricately choreographed dancing, the artsy ambience that only a Thai brothel can bestow. What more could a thirteen-year-old boy ask for? Really, it's the dancing that's the star of the show. It's got a whole "touching without touching" vibe that really screams "Jackson Family" to me.

We go through three glorious stages in the video. Stage 1: Prelude. Money is exchanged. Video equipment is set up. Men are lowered from the ceiling. And Janet enters amid flowing red streamers like she's the Last Empress. Stage 2: Janet and her harem toss around their identical, faceless dance partners like so many lumps of man-shaped clay. There are spirited bouts of faces being shoved into crotches and ladies squatting over their prone male counterparts. It's all very sexy. Stage 3: Dancing like hieroglyphs out of the screen and into our imagination.

Don't pretend like you didn't try it at least once.

4 comments:

NYOne said...

Two things completely irrelevant to your post:
1) I'm so psyched you're doing the Studio 60 recaps! I already signed up for email notification. I haven't yet seen the pilot, but I loved Sports Night and early WW, so I have high hopes. There's always room for more Joe R in my life.
2) Thanks for introducing me to Film Experience - I won the Brothers of the Head soundtrack!
In conclusion, you rock.
Cheers,
NYOne

Sticky Keys said...

Ooh, Studio 60 recaps? When does that start? A recapper I like and I show I'll probably like all in one place. Good job Joer!

And I agree completely about If (I think 2nd best is "That's the Way Love Goes" so mellow and good.

Six Degrees Link: My best friend dated the main male dancer in this video (the fine light skinned bald one, and he was certainly all of the above). So I met him, I met J, you met J, and NOW YOU KNOW JANET JACKSON! You should give her a call.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Rhythm Nation and Janet are two of my favourite albums ever. I like Nation more, but Janet is just excellent. Her last greatish album was Velvet Rope (there are some really good stuff on there) and after that it's as if she lost her voice and can only whisper her vocals. And sing about orgasms.

Anonymous said...

My fave JJ video is "Love will never do without you." It is so visually beautiful (I believe Mapplethorpe was involved, no?), and I think JJ looks awesome in it. And the song is great too. I like the "janet." album the best.