Janet – Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty – is back…right…now.
Three years after the release of Unbreakable, a mature collection of songs rooted in faith, family, politics and a healthy heaping of introspection – with some insomnia-inducing fun in between, of course – the 52-year-old Icon™ has returned in 2018 with a much lighter, freer, breezier offering that is, quite literally, made for now. This very second, in fact!
“Made For Now” is also “now” in the sense that it’s modern, for sure: much like the sound that’s dominated much of #NewMusicFriday pop for a while, there’s a warm tropical breeze permeating throughout the production. And with “Rompe” Rey Daddy Yankee on board, Miss Jackson (smartly) taps into the unstoppable wave of Latinx radio domination, from last year’s inescapable “Despacito” (from Mr. Yankee himself) to my Colombian reggaeton boyfriends Maluma and J Balvin.
“One morning, it just hit me. I quickly did research on her and she’s never done an Afrocentric cultural record before. I said, perfect. That’s exactly what I’m going to do: cultural, Afrocentric, with a little bit of Latino [inspiration] and we’re gonna write a great record to it,” said producer Harmony Samuels to Billboard. (Make sure to check out that interview in full.)
Let’s not get it twisted, though: this isn’t some desperate trend-hopper moment. It’s still very much a Janet song. It even sounds similar, at least in spirit, to one of her very best: “Together Again.”
Like her Velvet Rope masterpiece from twenty years ago, the track is a burst of much-needed positive energy – you can pretty much hear Janet smiling her way through the song – as she provides an encouraging push to log out, look around and live in the moment in a way that feels genuine, as only the Rhythm Nation commander-in-chief could deliver.
“We’re made for now, not tomorrow / Made for now…look around.”
The accompanying video is just as joyous – it’s a colorful, summery celebration on the New York City streets. (It’s also basically a Pepsi commercial or a World Cup anthem, yes.) Between Daddy and all the dancers and extras, she might not get a ton of screen time, but the looks Janet’s serving are severely cool…and seeing her whip up at least a little bit of choreography at the very end is a total rush. Mama’s still got it!
And that final glimpse! So regal. Such a Queen.
This really has all the makings of an end-of-summer smash hit – and it should be. “Made For Now”? More like “Slayed For Now,” am I right?
Oh, and then there’s this little tidbit she tossed into her mailer: “Let me say one last thing… I have SO MUCH more coming for you all that I can’t wait to share ;)”
Now we know: there’s more music coming soon. Up for a “grungy,” “George Michael-esque,” “back to Velvet Rope and Control but it’s new” EP, anyone?
But before we get lost in the madness of anticipation, let’s follow Janet’s lead: embrace the (made for) NOW.
“Made For Now” was released on August 17. (iTunes)
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