What has Janet Jackson done for us lately?
It’s been three studio albums and 14 years since she’s had a Top 10 single.
Well, her intimate Orpheum Theatre show in 2011 in Minneapolis was pretty special. It was billed as her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour, and Jackson, never known to be too talkative onstage or in interviews, was overflowing with emotion.
“Minneapolis played such an important, such a major role in my life,” she gushed. “Except for two songs … every song you heard tonight was created here.”
Even though it was sort of Janet Unplugged, the show was still about choreography, cooing and keeping the dance floor moving.
Now Jackson is hitting the road again with a big-time arena extravaganza that comes to Target Center in Minneapolis on Nov. 1. And if there’s anyone who knows how to stage a dazzling dance-happy spectacle, it’s Miss Jackson.
She’s also dropping a new album, “Unbreakable,” her first since 2008’s “Discipline” and a reunion of sorts with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the Minneapolis guys who helped her gain control of her art and make her famous.
In June, she released a new single, “No Sleeep,” a soulful medium-tempo groove with her signature breathy vocals. One version features a rap by young hitmaker J. Cole, who has sent three albums to No. 1. But the song is unmistakably Janet — and Jam and Lewis, for that matter. The Flyte Tyme team was not involved with “Discipline” and was among a cast of producers contributing to her 2006 album “20 Y.O.”
The new album, on Jackson’s own Rhythm Nation label, is due Oct. 2.
Jackson, 49, hasn’t been totally invisible the past four years. In 2012, she endorsed Nutrisystem and appeared in UNICEF ads to help hungry children. She also wed Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana, her third trip to the altar.
In June, she returned to the public eye on the BET Awards, accepting the inaugural Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual award. The presentation included a dance tribute performed by current stars Ciara, Jason Derulo and Tinashe.
But the big news this year for Jackson is her album and tour, her first arena trek since 2009. The 69-concert Unbreakable Tour began Aug. 31 in Vancouver (and includes three shows in Japan). Target Center will be the 30th stop on the tour. Early reviews indicate that her wardrobe is stylish but not revealing, so no malfunctions to worry about. And she’s toned down the risqué aspects.
Guess that means that even though her pal Kevin Garnett is now back with the Timberwolves, she won’t be reprising that lap dance she did with him in 1998 at Target Center.