"We've all driven by premieres or nightclubs, and seen the rope separating those who can enter and those who can't. Well, there's also a velvet rope we have inside us, keeping others from knowing our feelings." What a journey this album is. Originally released in 1997, Ms. Jackson wrote The Velvet Rope following an emotional breakdown, which came about as a result of her childhood-and-adolescence-trauma-induced depression. The record, at 22 tracks long (lots of interludes), addresses a wide range of related issues: relationships, domestic violence, self worth, etc. It also deals explicitly with sexuality, as expressed through the likes of "My Need" and "Free Xone." Musically imaginative, the LP lays out a coherent, forward vision that takes from disco, funk, soul, and various electronic genres, and Janet's darker, wistful approach to pop, as showcased in the smash single "Together Again" and more, is a blueprint for alternative r&b that would follow course. In addition to the aforementioned, check out "Empty," which could easily have come out in the last few years, "I Get Lonely," "Go Deep," and "Tonight's the Night." Oh, love the interludes, too.
- black double vinyl pressing
- housed in gatefold jacket w/ printed inner sleeves
- original release year: 1997
- music label: Virgin 2019
reviewed by singing in japanese 08/19