There is not one single Michael-esque moment on her debut album, “Wilted,” which arrives on Friday as if out of nowhere.
It’s like she never once heard “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” or “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” in her life, let alone grew up in Neverland. Nor will you hear any hints of Auntie Janet or any of that Motown stuff her uncles grew up singing on Saturday morning cartoons.
There is a dreamy wooziness, a sultry touchiness, a haunting moodiness to “Wilted” that is part Lana Del Rey, part Norah Jones, part “Folkore”-era Taylor Swift.
This Paris is brooding.
Her record sounds nothing like you’d expect, partly because if you don’t even know it’s coming, there’s nothing to expect.
Let’s be clear: This album is not any kind of game-changer. But it is a revelation in its own way, coming from a young woman who has spent most of her life carefully choosing what she would reveal and how.
Jackson co-wrote nine of the 11 tracks — the other two she wrote by herself — with Andy Hull, leader of the indie-rock band Manchester Orchestra, who also produced much of the album.
And with its hushed, confessional intimacy, this is about as indie-sounding as you could get from an album on Republic Records — also home to the likes of Ariana Grande, Drake and The Weeknd. But the low-key vibe works in Jackson’s favor, because you completely forget about her famous kinfolk.
Instead, you just lose yourself in the soothing, alt-folk atmosphere of tunes such as “Cosmic,” first single “Let Down” and the Damien Rice-esque “Eyelids,” which sometimes melt into each other without you even noticing one track ended.
As for Jackson’s voice, it’s airy and alluring — definitely more Janet than Michael on the power scale — but it’s used more to ooze through the mix rather than to make some kind of big pop-star statement.