The Classics Reminisced (2): Janet Jackson

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Janet Jackson is known to be one the Jackson Superstars. Breaking away from the shadows of her brothers, Janet now ranks as the ninth most successful artist in the history of rock and roll, and is the youngest artist in the top ten of that group, according to Billboard magazine in 2004, and has gone to sell over 130 million albums and singles worldwide. She is incredibly talented in both dancing & performing. Janet Jackson is one of the most versatile dancers ever (she can dance to slow tunes or up-tempo tunes very well) & she is probably the best dancer artist in history because of natural groove (unlike Michael Jackson’s robotic groove). Aside from this she also has a very cool & unique voice. Janet Jackson’s newest album will arrive a few months from now & it’s nice to remember the classic songs from her highness-the Queen of R & B.

a) Nasty (1986) – Nasty was the debut single from her album ‘Control’. The theme & rhythm for the single saw Janet departing from her Bubble Gum image back at Motown & symbolized Janet’s new-found independent image.

b) Let’s Wait Awhile (1987) – This was Janet’s first ballad release. The production of the single was simple yet brilliantly executed. This track delivers the soft-side of Janet-a Janet that demonstrates another form of control (departing from the defiant declaration of freedom exuded in her album. For her “Patience in a relationship is a precious virtue”.

c) The Pleasure Principle (1987) – This single is a very danceable tune indeed. Janet Jackson showcases top caliber dancing (choreographed by Paula Abdul) in the video for this track.

d) Rhythm Nation (1989) – This clunky & industrial sounding track was the debut from Janet’s latest follow-up album of the same title. Its lyrics evoke empowerment & liberation. The powerful message is delivered by Janet who is the head activist-preaching & demanding social change.

e) Escapade (1989) – This track is a complete 180-degree turn for Janet. It’s bright, colorful & cheerful theme contrasts Rhythm Nation’s dark revolutionary stance starkly. The desired effect of freshness has been achieved with this track without a doubt.

f) Black Cat (1990) – Janet became the first artist to score a #1 hit simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock singles chart with this single. This also has become a police anthem at the time of its release.

g) Love Will Never Do (Without You) (1990) – The video of the single has exposed another side of Janet so repressed in previous singles from the ‘Rhythm Nation’ album. This sexy/passionate theme of the video is quite ironic from the actual political message between the lines of this ambiguously interpreted single.

h) That’s The Way Love Goes (1993) – This single became Janet’s most enduring No.1 single in the U.S. spending 8 weeks at the summit & peaking at No.2 in the U.K. The sexy lyrical composition blends well with the seductively arranged harmony of the song.

i) Again (1993) – This is another ballad of Janet where her passionate emotions can be felt just by listening to her subtle yet expressive vocal delivery.

j) Whoops Now (1995) – This is a jolly/light-hearted song that is in the same line as Madonna’s ‘Cherish’, Whitney’s ‘How Will I Know’ or Janet’s own ‘Escapade’.

k) Scream (with Michael Jackson) (1995) – This single highlighted Michael’s compilation ‘History’. The futuristic techno beats were further enhanced by the visual effects in the video. Oddly enough, Janet seemingly out-danced Michael Jackson in this video for she had a natural flow instead of Michael’s technically dictated robotic grooves.

l) Runaway (1995) – This Janet single headlined her own compilation-‘Design Of A Decade’. The track was infused with oriental sounds thus giving it an exotic character.

m) Together Again (1997) – This is Janet’s return to the summit of the U.S. Charts after 4 years. The global hit is thoroughly dance-pop yet tinged with Afro-tribal tinge elements. This is Janet’s Biggest Selling Single with global sales of more than 5.5 million.

n) Doesn’t Really Matter (2000) – This is Janet’s first No.1 U.S. movie soundtrack single. The sound of the track effectively pre-empted the theme of her next studio album.

o) All For You (2001) – This single spent 7 weeks at No.1 in the Billboard Hot 100. This track is simply pure pop -so catchy & danceable. Her usual R & B style has simply diminished in this track but her cool voice effortlessly blends with the rhythm.

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