Janet tells her beleaguered brother Michael to ignore the public’s opinion of him (“You”). Elsewhere, isolated lines condemn hatred (“The Velvet Rope”) and encourage spiritual renewal (“Special”).
“Free Xone” argues on behalf of homosexual and bisexual relationships. A remake of Rod Stewart’s 1976 hit “Tonight’s the Night” finds the artist making sexual advances to both a “boy” and a “girl.” Amid orgasmic groaning, Janet depicts someone masturbating during a telephone conversation with a friend (“Speaker Phone”). She expresses an insatiable desire for sex that is kinky (“Rope Burn”), rough (“My Need”) and casual (“Go Deep”). She chastises an abusive lover, spewing expletives and talking about oral sex (“What About”). Profanities and obscenities pop up frequently.
Janet Jackson has come a long way since 1977 when she appeared as sweet young Penny on the TV sitcom Good Times. In fact, Janet’s idea of “good times” has gotten truly perverse over the past twenty years. Her twisted Velvet Rope is proof positive.