Janet Jackson may not be 20 years old anymore, but the sexy singer is still in control, even if she's loosened the reins on her career a bit.
"It has a lot of different meanings for me," Jackson told MTV News on Tuesday about her latest album title, Discipline, an unintentional nod to her breakthrough album, Control. The new album, her 10th studio project, is due February 26.
"But the most important [meaning] is my discipline in my work," she continued, speaking from the Los Angeles office of her label, Island Def Jam Records. "To have done it for as long as I have ... there's a lot of discipline in that, and focus. And obviously, God [plays a part]."
From the album's concept to the creation of the tracks to planning the forthcoming tour, Jackson explained that she's just not the type to sit back and be waited on hand and foot. Rather, she wants to offer input and get her hands dirty. It's the only way she can offer her fans a look at her life.
"It's not that this is my show," she said. "I want the audience to get a sense of me. So that they get to know me a little bit better, so everything that they see is coming from me, at least half of it because I'm working with someone. So it's a sense of me, that's what it really is, not wanting to control at all."
Boyfriend Jermaine Dupri, along with Tricky Stewart, The-Dream, Missy Elliott and Bryan-Michael Cox, was among the writers and producers that helped Jackson shape Discipline's sound. But it was Rodney Jerkins' contributions that the singer raved about.
"It was great working with Rodney," she said. "There's a connection there between the two of us, for sure. He feels it; he's mentioned it to me. I felt it, but I wasn't gonna say anything to him about it. [She laughs.] There's a connection with everyone I work with, but definitely a much stronger connection between [me and] Rodney and Jermaine. He just got me. Either someone is gonna get you or they're not. They all did, all the producers that I worked with on this project. But Rodney really got me, he understood me. It's like having a lost brother or cousin; he really understands me. There's a very good chemistry."
The pair worked on "Rollercoaster," a steamy number chronicling the ups and downs of love. "I'm in and out of love/ And it's all because/ I can't make up my mind/ I'm so confused/ Don't know what to do/ And it's 'cause of you," she sings on the standout song.
"It's just this ride, and before you know it, someone has just taken your heart over completely and you don't really know what to do with that," Jackson said. The song seems to echo her own ambitions for the project, given the disappointing receptions of her two most recent efforts, 20 Y.O. and Damita Jo.
"I just want [my new songs] to make [the fans] happy, the way that I've always wanted with the other albums," she said. "I want them to forget about their worries, if any, for the 50 minutes and just dance and feel certain emotions that hopefully I'll take them through, and reminisce and just have a good time with it."