Janet Jackson knows sexy — from her topless Rolling Stone cover to videos like the Herb Ritts-directed “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” — but producer Dallas Austin promises her new album is “easily the most sexy thing she’s done.”
“Guys won’t know what to do with themselves after this,” he said, laughing at the prospect. “It’s one of the best records she’s made.”
Austin said he’s produced five songs with Janet already, having worked with her over the last few months at his DARP Studios in Atlanta. Janet’s still-untitled album is due March 30, according to a spokesperson for her label. Austin said he and Janet will record for another month before deciding which songs make the final cut. Janet is also working with longtime executive producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
The overriding theme of Austin’s collaborations with Janet is her bubbling sexuality. “To me, this is her Dirty Mind,” Austin explained, referring to the Prince album that established him as a hormonally charged pop star. “It’s a really sexy record, but not in a sensual way. It’s bold, it’s fun, it’s really positive. Nobody’s sad, nobody’s mad. It’s just really fun songs where she happens to be talking frankly about sex.”
Austin said the direction came from the energy she gave off from her when they first started working together. “She always shows what’s going on with her life through her records, reveals the phase she’s in with her life and brings out that experience,” he said.
Early on in the recording process last May, producer 7 Aurelius said he and Jackson had crafted some “cutting edge, hard-hitting dance music” for the LP, and he predicted fans would be surprised by the final product (see “Janet Jackson Recording ’Hard-Hitting Dance Music’ For New LP” ).
Austin, meanwhile, has also been spending time working with another alluring talent — Gwen Stefani. The bulk of the songs they’ve worked on were finished before the holidays, he said.
“They’re both the easiest artists to work with, [Janet] and Gwen,” Austin said. “With both their albums, it’s the most creative vibe I’ve had in a long time. You’d think because of their status they’re going to be spoiled stars, but it’s not like that. They’re open to anything you put in front of them, and that’s so important because as a songwriter and producer it leaves you free to do what you do best.”