20 Y.O.

The title of Janet Jackson's latest album refers to the two decades since she released her breakthrough, Control, with hits like "Nasty" and "What Have You Done for Me Lately." If we were her, we wouldn't make the comparison. Armed with synth beats and way too many hand claps, Jackson and boyfriend Jermaine Dupri (who executive-produced the album) have tried to reinvent Control's irrepressible energy and attitude. But the woman who, twenty years ago, was desperate to escape her brother's shadow and prove her own considerable talent has long since done so, and the genuine hunger apparent on that album has morphed into a transparent stab at continued relevance. Almost all of the tunes here (particularly "So Excited") try to replicate Jackson's early work, with diminishing returns. The one track that doesn't is the Nelly duet "Call On Me." Instead, it shamelessly re-creates "Dilemma," the St. Louis rapper's collaboration with Kelly Rowland.

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