Single Review: Janet Jackson “All Nite (Don’t Stop)”

All Nite (Don’t Stop)
Year: 2004
Album: Damita Jo

Every album, Janet Jackson tells in what is supposed to be a provocative story to the media. This time, it’s that she had a “sexual mind at a young age,” as reported by the Associated Press. She also told the AP that “when you’re a kid, you have little fantasies, but I saw myself being with him (Teddy Pendergrass) as an adult, not as a kid.” Aside for reaching for titillating imagery and sounding like a pop star who needs to find a new marketing plan, Janet Jackson’s new single is fabulous.

“All Nite (Don’t Stop)” is her best single since 1997. Steamy and high-spirited, the single is only about dancing at the club. Sampling Herbie Hancock’s “Hang Up Your Hang-Ups,” it begins with the phrase “Attention. Time to dance.” The chorus then starts, with her singing similes such as “work it/like you’re working the pole/shake it/’til you’re shaking the floor.” Like the experienced clubber she is, she rejoices and dances harder when her favorite mix is played. Then, once the mix slows down, she grabs the guy she’s had her eye on and dances with him. (“I’m delirious/so oblivious/I could dance all night/with you”) It’s a moment of euphoria in the single. It’s as though she has had one too many shots and the drunkeness has begun to take over.

In order for club songs to work (especially mainstream singles), they need to create an atmosphereof actually being there. “All Nite (Don’t Stop”) puts the listener in the middle of the frenzy as the latest club hit plays. The strength is in how it’s paced. It begins fast, then gradually slows down, picks up again, etc., until the end of the song. Instead of trying to tire the listener, the single allows them to stop, take a breath, and enjoy it with the same amount of enery as before.

Jackson is at her most sensual and commanding as she sings. The sexuality is not forced. Instead, it’s subtle, despite the orgasm heard at the end and left to the imagination. For once, she is playful and flirty. Finally, she has gotten back to what she does best: releasing fun, dance-pop without the bitter undertones that marred “All For You.”

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