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THE RECORD RACK

Jackson Jive

February 23, 1986|CONNIE JOHNSON

"PRECIOUS MOMENTS." Jermaine Jackson. Arista. "CONTROL." Janet Jackson. A&M. Jermaine Jackson sounds like he means business on the most cohesive album of his solo career. While he lacks the trend-setting style of his brother Michael, Jackson at least displays a good ear for sturdy dance rhythms, most notably on "Our Love Story." That track has this Jackson 5 alumnus sounding as rhythmically daring as he's ever been.

The album does have its share of colorless cuts. But overall, Jackson is savvy and polished, particularly as he torches his way through "If You Say My Eyes," with labelmate Whitney Houston.

Jermaine is finally starting to come into his own as a solo artist, but his younger sister Janet Jackson is the one who has truly arrived.

"Control," recorded in Minneapolis with ex-Time members Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, is a real risk-taker. Her approach is hard and aggressive: "Give me a beat!" she brusquely orders on the opening of "Nasty." That rude-girl pose carries over into "You Can Be Mine," which begins fairly conventionally but gradually builds into a funk/rock thrasher.

Though still a teen-ager, this singer's stance is remarkably nervy and mature. She has a snotty sort of assurance that permeates several cuts, plus the musical muscle to back it up. Listen to her spunky authority on "What Have You Done For Me Lately," and you'll hear that, unlike Jermaine, she has bypassed the safe, adult-contemporary route in favor of more rugged, funk-based terrain.

Whether it's Janet vowing "This time I'm gonna do it my way" or engaging in orgasmic moans and pillow talk--in French, no less--she proves that Michael isn't the only one in the family with a flair for taking chances.

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