Janet Jackson – Doesn’t Really Matter

First Hit #1: August 26, 2000

Today in songs that are annoyingly difficult to find on Youtube, Janet Jackson’s Doesn’t Really Matter. It’s all covers and live shows (I have embedded the latter), luckily I have All for You lying around here somewhere, so I can still listen to it in proper studio form.

In that form, it’s clear that Jackson has heard of Destiny’s Child, or at least their producers. Jackson isn’t really trying to replicate their vocal style – she’s at a point in her career where she’s settled into a comfortable vocal groove, and this is the typical Jackson performance that’s delicate and serves the overall beat. Though, that said, she goes for a Mariah Carey-esque layered vocal, something wholly unexpected from someone who rarely attempts to stand apart from the song – but a decision that’s appropriate for the song itself. However the song itself owes a lot to the Destiny’s Child sound, with staccato minimal beats and unconventional instrumentation. As someone who didn’t really pay attention to R&B during this era, it’s actually surprising how weird artists were willing to go – this song is plain weird from most metrics, even if Janet’s vocals tie everything together.

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One Response to Janet Jackson – Doesn’t Really Matter

  1. RBerman says:

    I wasn’t familiar with this song. I like it; good chord progression. Her image is going in two different directions, though. On the one hand, she’s put in the gym hours to get her Madonna body, and she’s delighted to use it for career advancement, as shown in the first three minutes of this concert footage, which shows her changing her underwear and then squeezing into this skintight halter top and blue jeans combo. She also went to the trouble learn some dance choreography, though she can’t perform it as fluidly as the professionals surrounding her. (Michael, in contrast, always looked at least as good as his pro backup dancers did.)

    But on the other hand, the musical aspect of the performance is a sweet “Diana Ross Sings the Songs of Destiny’s Child” affair, with syrupy strings that start and stop abruptly. Seems like she’s trying to mix naughty and nice, but if I close my eyes, all that comes through is “nice.”

    Lyrically, it’s a “No one can tell us not to be in love” song. A popular idea for young lovers, and thus a common poetic topic since the 1st Century BC days of Catullus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catullus_5), down through Patty Griffin’s Spanish “Mil Besos” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDcDIUHZLsc), Tracy Ullman’s girl group homaging cover of Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfRI1XjDFCU), the Go-Gos’ “Our Lips Are Sealed” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3kQlzOi27M), and any other song where kids chafe against the advice of grownups and peers.

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