The Influence of Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope on The Album
How To Dress Well: “The main thing I took from her is sort of this self-trust, self-care, emotional honesty thing. Velvet Rope is an amazing example. She set such an example for trusting yourself, and following that intuition wherever it takes you. She could’ve made an entire record of “Together Again”’s—eleven of those. But she made a fucking sprawling masterpiece with a song from every genre, and it works. Because you see her discerning taste in every single track, and every single track, and every single choice, every musical instrument. Some songs her voice is all distorted, and in other songs it’s so close to the mic that it sounds like she’s singing in your ear—you can hear her lip-smacking and shit. It’s a total statement, This is me kind of record. And I like writing different kinds of songs.
Velvet Rope to me became a shining light of how to make an album that’s totally true to yourself, and is about taking proper care of yourself, and paying attention to your spirit, and trusting that it’ll all hang together even if there’s all different kinds of vibes on the record.
“Total Loss is a bunch of different kinds of songs on it. I was like, ‘Shit, how do I make this record?’ Do I pick one and stick with it and write all those? No, that would be truncating this sense I have that all these songs are special and valuable. And so that album [Velvet Rope] to me became a shining light of how to make an album that’s totally true to yourself, and is about taking proper care of yourself, and paying attention to your spirit, and trusting that it’ll all hang together even if there’s all different kinds of vibes on the record. And for me, “Together Again” is infinitely more special because it’s this little gem on that otherwise very different record. If it were a whole record of “Together Again”’s, I’d probably love the song but I don’t know if in the same way.
“I’ve loved the Velvet Rope since it came out. It’s been one of my favorite records for many years. I think when I started working on Total Loss and seeing like shit, this fits together for me in the same way that I felt like the Velvet Rope fit together. And I kind of learned over the course of making my record, and really attentively listening to Janet’s record, that it had more of an influence on me that I had even realized. So like, it’s really funny to learn through making a record that I’ve had this record playing in the back of my mind for a decade. I mean there’s some shit on the Velvet Rope that’s absolutely next-level—still today. Untouchable.”