IF JANET Jackson was to trademark anything beside the six-pack midriff, the pioneering choreography and 1000-kilowatt grin, it would have to be her girlish giggle.
The 35-year-old entertainer disarms even the most cynical listener with that giggle during the "intro" to her latest album, All For You.
In hip-hop tradition, Jackson introduces the album with a 59-second casual conversation between herself and a studio collaborator which was "secretly" taped by her long-time producer, Jimmy Jam.
There is an uncomfortable pause when Miss Jackson – as she is referred to by those who work for her record company, Virgin – is asked if she has ever considered sampling that distinctive giggle through the entirety of a track.
Did the question offend?
"No, it's just that I've never been told that anyone liked my laugh," she giggled.
Jackson includes several other interludes on the album, which has already generated a huge hit with the title track.
One, titled Lame, features an exasperated and very single Jackson saying: "You men are . . . you might wanna get this on tape . . . you men are just lame at times, I'm tellin' ya."
Jackson said she included the private studio moments recorded by Jam and fellow producer Terry Lewis to give listeners a personal insight not so much into the recording process as her mindset while she was working on All For You.
"It does show a bit more of your personality, the part you think that no-one really gets to see," she told The Sunday Telegraph in an interview from her home in Los Angeles.
"I don't think too many people understand that you are still just you when you're in the studio – you don't become someone else."
There is little that Jackson doesn't reveal on the songs of All For You – or its cover, which features the naked singer barely covered by a sheet.
And the songs leave little to read between the lines.
The divorce from her secret husband Rene Elizondo has opened a lyrical can of worms, from the first single to the album's last track Better Days.
Jackson's attitude sizzles whether she's telling Elizondo that he shouldn't have sued her for alimony on the track Truth or calling a man who has wronged her a "stupid motherf....." on Son Of A Gun.
Jackson has said that the track All For You was in part inspired by the fact she always has to ask men out. Even now.
"It was just inspired from my experience, going to clubs, having fun with friends, seeing someone who might be attracted to you, that you could tell wants to approach you, but intimidation pretty much gets in the way," she said.
"It is pretty sad. That's happened to me all my life. Anyone that I have ever gone out with, I've asked out.
"So hopefully that will change. I just wanted to write about it because I thought it was pretty funny."
Jackson said the album was a hugely catharctic experience.
She has been pleasantly surprised by the support her new approach has received, fearing she may have gone too far with telling the truth for some.
"I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. It was the right time to talk about everything that was going on in my life in the past," she said.
"I had a lot to get off my chest and you need that regardless of who you are.
"It was very therapeutic and it was nice that people accepted how I felt."
Jackson admits her sense of confidence and newfound optimism was shattered by the terrorist attacks in the US in September.
The US leg of her tour had already been postponed at various junctures because of technical problems, a chipped tooth and the flu.
When the US State Department issued a warning to all American residents to reconsider their international travelling plans, Jackson cancelled her European tour.
"The reason why I am on a break now is because we cancelled the European tour," she explained.
"I was afraid to travel. I had to make a decision straight away and I really got scared," she said.
"I just couldn't put anyone else in danger because you just never know.
"It was really tough for me watching the news for the first few days – I just remember crying for everyone, the Americans who had been killed and the other people who would be killed because of war.
"Nobody loves war but this whole situation – on both sides – leaves me incredibly sad."
Despite the uneasiness the majority of Americans continue to feel about international travel, Jackson is forging ahead with tour plans for next year, which will hopefully include Australia.
"I'm still working on that with the local promoters over there because I want to come; I miss Australia," she said.
"I love it so much there and we will figure out a way to get down there."
Australia continues to be one of Jackson's biggest selling territories.
Her new single Son Of A Gun is expected to propel All For You back into the top 50 when it is released next week.
The song features the current queen of r&b Missy Elliot as well as a distinctive sample from Carly Simon's smash hit You're So Vain, which accounts for the single's sub-title I Betcha Think This Song Is About You.
While the single version and its black widow inspired video clip feature only Jackson and Elliott, Simon's dulcet tones and a pretty mean rap adorn the album version.
In a tongue-in-cheek rap, Simon also dismisses the long-held theory that one of the verses may have been about Mick Jagger.
Jackson said the idea to build a new song around You're So Vain stemmed from her producer Jimmy Jam.
"It was quite brilliant," she said.
"Carly wasn't actually to be a part of it but we sent what we had done to get her approval and she said she wanted to do something.
"She sent us what she recorded and we put the two together."
But the irony of the single is that it will be Missy Elliot's involvement – one of the most successful hiphop and r&b producers currently on the charts – rather than Carly Simon's which will help Jackson cement her popularity with a young demographic.
While there is no discounting the loyalty of the millions of fans who have followed her solo career for the past two decades, Jackson strives to continue to be musically relevant.
"Everything has been good so far – my fans have been in this with me for such a long time," she said.
"But it has also been wonderful at the concerts to see different age groups in the audience.
"I'll never forget at one of the shows a couple of months ago there was this little boy who was standing to the side and he was smiling and waving at me.
"They put this gorgeous face on the big screen and the whole audience has stopped and looked at him and let out this 'oooooh.'
"It stopped the show – everyone's hearts just melted."
It is that ability to affect both young and old which gave Jackson the impetus to be so honest on the songs of All For You.
"You have to understand when you are going through these tought times that you aren't the only one. I know I love listening to artists who make me feel 'Hell, they are dealing with this too,"' she said.
"Those who are willing to talk about things openly and honestly still have such a enormous opportunity to affect others."
And what does Miss Jackson think about the recent efforts of her older brother Michael on his Invincible album?
"I like it very much. I'm crazy about Butterfly, I just love that song, it makes me feel so, so good because it's exactly what I am talking about," she said