Monday, February 11, 2013

Again by Janet Jackson

Michael Jackson’s little sister grew up before our eyes.

First there was her time as a child actress and then there was her evolution as a pop music icon. The moment when Janet Jackson became more than simply Michael’s younger sister was in 1993 when she released Janet.

The album cover, first seen on the cover of Rolling Stone shocked the world. I still remember a girl in my middle school who came to school with a t-shirt that had this image, being sent to the principal’s office and being forced to wear that shirt inside out for the rest of the day.

Janet backed up the controversy surrounding this image with great music. “If,” is a thunderous and aggressive dance song with a clever sample of a Motown classic and “That’s The Way Love Goes,” is a groovy, relaxed and unforgettable R & B classic. These songs demonstrated a strength and confidence but the song that always got to me was “Again,” which showed a more vulnerable and sensitive side of Janet.

As a middle school boy, this video blew my mind. There was something about this video that combined Janet’s beauty with a gentle sensuality that was so much more memorable and powerful than many “sexy,” videos of that time or that I’ve seen sense. There’s giggling, there’s fun, there’s anticipation and then there’s the quiet moments, a look in that eye that lingers in the memory like a ghost that you want to go away but you hope never leaves.

There’s not a lot of songs that deal with the aftereffects of a break-up this way. We don’t’ want to show that we actually want to get back together with that person after its over. The strength is in being “Stronger,” like Kelly Clarkson, but the reality is that most break-ups involve the feelings that Janet deals with in “Again.”

She’s conflicted. Janet sings about the tears and the pain, and while she seems to resolves that she’s not going to go through this again, she doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to not fall in love again.

The songs climax’s as Janet sings with anger “Don't you stand there and then tell me, you love me, then leave again!” Then with a trembling voice Janet realizes that she is falling in love again.

There's strength in walking away from a relationship but there's also strength in facing your feelings and taking a chance.  It's not easy to open yourself up to somebody because the more open you are, the more likely that you will get hurt.  Do people deserve a second chance like Janet's love in "Again"?  Maybe, maybe not.  It depends on the circumstance.  However we should always strive for the strength to give ourselves a second chance and take a chance for love. 

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