Jackson tells a partner, “If something’s broke, let me go fix it/And if something’s lost, let me go and get it” (“Never Letchu Go”).
A spoken track called “The Meaning” employs sultry tones and S&M imagery to define discipline. On its heels, the creepy, fetishistic title song finds her asking a lover whom she calls “Daddy” to strip her bare, blindfold her and make her cry. That song ends with sexualized whimpering. She poses in skimpy leather for the cover (censored here) and in liner photos. In one of them, she brandishes a riding crop. “Feedback” invites a man to play her body like an instrument (“It’s on display/Don’t be scared to touch it/It’s hands on, so come and get it, babe”). Other erotic propositions appear on “2Nite” and “Rock With U.” “Rollercoaster” uses drug metaphors. On “The 1” guest rapper Missy Elliott inquires about a man’s penis size and suggests a threesome. Discipline wraps with “Curtains,” a private, intimate show for a special fan (“Tonight is so exclusive we should make it pay-per-view/… You’ll be screamin’ encore when I’m through”).
This dance album is as soulless as the robot Jackson talks to between tracks. The artist’s lascivious lyrics are on autopilot, giving young fans a hollow tease while getting no closer to the true intimacy and human affection she seems to crave.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.