The beat, led by what sounds like a sample of Klaus Voorman’s bass riff from You’re So Vain; the Carly Simon song this Janet Jackson song interpolates; is fire. It’s also hip-hop. That might be why the women decided to rap, which comes across more like spoken word poetry.
To be clear, Carly Simon provides new vocals here; psychotic ramblings are more like it; and she’s pretty annoying, but there’s a part at the end of a bridge in which she brings the song to an aesthetic high. “I’m a storm cloud, baby,” she says, “You can roll like thunder all over me.”
The Vain chorus the subtitle comes from, which serves as the chorus here too, is the worst part, but it’s one of those relatively rare cases in which a song is good even though its chorus isn’t. Aside from the classic Jam/Lewis beat, that’s thanks mostly to Janet Jackson’s sassy singing.
my rating = 4 of 5