Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Janet Jackson x Daddy Yankee – Made For Now

Back from the long weekend, though some of us are still celebrating summer…


Alfred Soto: In 2015, Janet Jackson pulled off a marvelous comeback. I want a Daddy Yankee duet to succeed. But the staples holding these two performances together show. She tries singing in a cramped, almost embarrassed manner while Daddy offers party-hearty drool. The narcotized beat helps not a bit.

Juana Giaimo: This is a strange duo. Rather than a collaboration, each of them seem to be in their own song. The fast beat goes well with Janet Jackson’s quiet voice, but it isn’t quite enough to make an explosive chorus — especially because it is quite repetitive. And when Daddy Yankee says “fuego,” it makes you expect that the real chorus is coming now, but all that comes next is the same, except he adds some spare lines that don’t quite connect with Janet Jackson’s melody. His short rap has almost no impact and could be part of any of the other songs he is featured in. As a result, “Made for Now” is a fun track and has interesting details that together don’t work that well.

Ryo Miyauchi: The simple feeling of fun that Janet exudes as she dances to the giddy beat forgives the hippy-spirited “live for the moment” messaging. Daddy Yankee retreats into a role as hype man, though his position as a side act is less a lack of presence and more indicative of the gap in star power between him and Janet.

Stephen Eisermann: You’ll have to let your hips do the listening to enjoy the track the its fullest extent, but once you let your body move to the beat it’s hard to fault this pretty great Afrobeat heavy, Latin pop track. Next time, no need for Daddy Yankee, as Janet had proven and continues to prove here she is more than capable than holding her own.

Will Adams: The phrase “made for now” has the vacant smile of a corporate slogan, so what could have been a solid return to dancepop for Janet — she’s well-suited to effervescent Afrobeat production — is more akin to a would-be Pepsi commercial. Not helping is Daddy Yankee, who buzzes about the track like a mosquito, adding little more than extraneous noise and an incongruous verse.

Taylor Alatorre: I admire the willingness of 2010s Janet to completely throw herself into whatever her current target is, whether that be the extremely literal quiet storm of 2015’s “No Sleeep” or this feverish fusion of everything now lighting up the Latin and Tropical charts. There are no half-measures taken here, music video included. But in spite of her clear passion, this feels less like a Janet Jackson song than a World Cup theme written by people who figured that only the chorus would be heard during commercial breaks anyway. “Made for Now” is just a word away from becoming a Pepsi slogan, after all.

Pedro João Santos: Pop singers licensing songs for publicity campaigns, i.e. non-album-related purposes, have continually made for memorable moments of online pop culture. In sequence: a snippet of an unheard tune accompanies some glamour shots of its artist promoting a product; said singer likely never thinks about the discarded track again; fans are driven into a frenzy, leading to rabid outpourings in Twitter and tour meet-and-greets. The inevitable byproduct comes from fans piecing together the previews until they arrive at aspiring versions of their myth, mostly just disjointed. “Made for Now,” with its circular form and soda jingle vibes (“love is on the way to fill your cup,” a lyric-slogan waiting to happen) is oddly reminiscent of these stan artefacts. Grosso modo, it seems as if producer Harmony Samuels just copy-pasted the first verse plus chorus thrice, having then added the bridge, the rap, the middle eight and an outro. Remove the last part and the track can become an infinity loop, and that’s what’s both unnerving and endearing about it: you can say it stagnates by being so monotonically uptempo, operating at surface level and having not much else to offer than abundant festivity. However, the energy remains at a nice simmer for its length, its mix of Afrobeat and reggaeton proving inventive and refreshing. Janet and Daddy Yankee are excellent here, but while his boisterous tone dominates, her vocals sound adjusted in a way that’s limitative and unpleasant, undermining a good yet rigid performance. That’s also true of the single, an immensely enjoyable would-be hit bogged down by lack of variation.

Reader average: [7] (4 votes)

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