Growing up in a musical family is very interesting to say the least. For Janet Damita Jo Jackson, she definitely had big shoes to fill. It is very easy to seperate Janet away from her family, because she has a legendary career spanning over three decades.
Janet has made her mark on the entertainment industry..through television shows and films, books and music, of course. Janet is the inspiration behind my drive to become an advocate for social justice and equality in the United States.
Janet’s desire to speak on current event topics many musicians were afraid to speak on, makes her a global iconic superstar. I think Janet is underrated because of unnecessary comparisons to her brother Michael (although she is the only person that was his competition on the dance floor). It is hard for me to compose a summary of everything Janet has done for the music industry and have brought to it, but here’s my best attempt.
Janet is a hit maker okay?! Having her featured on your song will give you a timeless bop! Ask Herb Alpert. Janet worked with the legendary musician on Diamonds, & the legendary quiet storm bop Making Love In The Rain with Lisa Keith!
& the time her family worked with Teddy Riley for 2300 Jackson Street? Beautiful. 🔥
It’s hard to not mention Scream, a collaboration with her brother Michael. They adored each other, & this video shows it! My favorite sibling collab period.
Working with Busta Rhymes gave Janet another bop in What’s It Gonna Be. Flames!
& The Best Things In Life Are Free? Timeless. Janet, Luther Vandross, Bell Biv DeVoe & Ralph Tresvant? A new jack swing bop! 👏🏾🙌🏾
Janet Jackson – 1982.
Favorites: Say You Do, Young Love, Love & My Best Friend, Come Give Your Love To Me.
Janet didn’t get the reception she deserved from her self titled album. Although it is not as good as her future albums, there are a good number of dance-ish tracks on this LP. Working with my favorite 80’s duo Rene & Angela and Foster Sylvers, songs like Say You Do, Forever Yours and Love and my Best Friend are some of the cuts that shine in my head. This album has barely any substance, but for the time it was released, it is not that bad.
Dream Street – 1984
Favorites: Pretty Boy, Don’t Stand Another Chance, Communication, Hold Back The Tears, All My Love To You, Fast Girls.
Dream Street was an even bigger commerical disappointment than it’s predecessor. However, I personally feel like the songs were a lot better! The Marlon Jackson produced Don’t Stand a Chance and my favorite song on this record “Communication” are awesome jams!
Control – 1986
Favorites: Control, Nasty, When I Think of You, Funny How Time Flies (When You’re Having Fun, What Have You Done for Me Lately, Let’s Wait Awhile, The Pleasure Principle.
Control was released 31 years ago, and it is simply a masterpiece STILL. Cutting ties on the professional side with her family, is the best thing she could’ve ever done. A lot of people feel as if Janet’s commercial success is because of Michael & the rest of her family. FALSE. Janet had a lot to prove, to make it in the industry..in her own right.
Control was the imprint for Janet to do whatever she can, have control over her own sound, etc. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who will become her musicial soulmates for the rest of her career, knew what Janet needed to succeed as an ARTIST. What came from their studio sessions gave Janet the push she needed to be pushed into the pop world, by HERSELF.
Songs like the title track, Nasty, What Have You Done for Me Lately, The Pleasure Principle, When I think of You, and Funny How Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, are autobiographical gems in Janet’s discography. With the recent anullment to fellow singer James DeBarge, it seemed like control was very relatable to her life. Today, control still sounds fresh, and is easily one of the best contemporary R&B records I have ever heard.
Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 – 1989
Janet had everyone joining the Rhythm Nation. This album is one of my all-time favorites, because Janet made a concept album dedicated to the idea of promoting themes of social justice, racism, poverty, romance and illiteracy. She instantly became a role model for kids, with the way she advocated for their safety and learning abilities. How the album was corporated was magic.
The more serious socially aware songs were put at the beginning of the album, and during an interlude before “Miss U Much..” she says “Get the point? Good. Let’s dance.” That idea was very brilliant because people in today’s world don’t think you can have fun and live your life outside of activism.
She’s basically saying it is important to discuss these issues and topics, and still discuss our personal and intimate sides. It is nearly impossible to dislike any song of this album, but Someday is Tonight, Alright (I personally prefer the house remix with Heavy D,) Living in a World They Didn’t Make and Come Back to Me are highlights from the most important LP from the late 1980s.
Favorites: That’s The Way Love Goes, If, This Time, You Want This, Throb, Because of Love, Funky New Band, New Agenda, The Body That Loves You, Where Are You Now, Anytime, Anyplace.
During her time away from making albums, she left A&M records..and signed with Virgin Records, becoming one of the highest paying artists at that time. Janet eventually received criticism for being a “producer-dependent artist” and gaining her success because of the Jackson name.
This led her to name her upcoming album “janet.” (and to only have her first name on her future albums because she worked her butt off to not have her success associated with her elite family. It’s important to remember that once she cut ties with her family professionally, that’s when she became a household name.
If she was riding off of Michael’s success or the Jackson name, her first two albums would have been massive hits. “janet. was her declaration of independence, and being put up there with mega stars who were only called by their first names. Even the album cover and rolling stone cover was bold and daring. If this doesn’t scream a legend in the making, I don’t know what does.
Moving on…with the importance of Rhythm Nation’s deep serious topics, this time Janet wanted to explore her sensual side. On control and rhythm nation, abstinence was key..janet. is exploring intimacy and safe sex. Highlights from this amazing album are the proud black woman anthem “New Agenda,” The best song from1993 “That’s the Way Love Goes,” and “Anytime, Anyplace.”
The Velvet Rope – 1997
Favorites: Free Xone, What About, My Need, Empty, Velvet Rope, You, Rope Burn, Anything, I Get Lonely, Tonight’s The Night, Special, Together Again, Every Time, Got ‘Til It’s Gone.
Released during a tough time period for Janet, she easily created one of her best albums. An album that has the theme of introspection, it is the need to feel special..and how this need displays the good and bad traits of a person. Eventually it will create the Velvet Rope. This is an important album because of how she felt recording it. Depressed and ashamed because of traumatic experiences, she experienced an emotional breakdown.
With the Black community not being so open to discuss mental health, this was Janet’s moment to discuss how she felt about herself inside and out. Touching on controversial topics such as domestic violence, homophobia, losing loved ones to AIDS, etc..made me love Janet even more as I became an adult and touched on her discography as a whole.
Songs like What About, Together Again, Empty, My Need, Free Xone, Anything and the sensual cover of Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s the Night makes this album timeless and memorable.
All For You – 2001
Favorites: Would You Mind, You Ain’t Right, All for You, Son of a Gun, Come On Get Up, When We Oooo, China Love, Love Scene (Ooh Baby,) Trust a Try, Someone to Call My Lover, Doesn’t Really Matter, Better Days.
After the dark themed “The Velvet Rope,” Janet decided to lighten up the mood and become more happy and sensual…and that is WHY we have this masterpiece. All for you has it’s moments of Janet not holding back..speaking that Janet’s secret marriage to frequent collaborator Rene Elizondo Jr, was exposed after they filed for divorce ( Son of a gun, Truly,) but it’s dance-pop feel throughout most of the album was everything that we could ask from a Janet.
Would You Mind (which is my favorite on this album btw,) caused so much controversy, that it was banned in certain countries, and future pressings had to have explicit versions with the song… and clean versions without.
The meaning for this album is expressing your emotions that you experience going through a divorce, but finding happiness without yourself..and realizing that you are going to be okay.
Damita Jo – 2004
Favorites: Spending Time With You, I Want You, R&B Junkie, Warmth, All Nite (Don’t Stop,) Thinkin’ Bout My Ex, Moist, Sexhibition, Strawberry Bounce, My Baby.
Released after her controversial Super Bowl performance, Damita Jo performed well..but is still considered an underrated masterpiece with themes of love, romance and intimacy.
With Janet being commercially blacklisted (I personally feel like she still is..but what’s it to me,) her singles were not as huge as previous eras.
20 Y.O. – 2006
Favorites: Take Care, Do It 2 Me, So Excited, Enjoy, Show Me, Get It Out Me, Call on Me, Love 2 Love.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Janet’s breakthrough album Control, she wanted to celebrate after touching on heavy themes in her earlier work. 20 Y.O. is a primarily a dance feel good record.
Discipline – 2008
Favorites: Rollercoaster, Rock With U, Can’t B Good, Feedback, Discipline, So Much Betta, What’s Ur Name, Curtains, The 1,
Her first album in 23 years that she did not collaborate with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Discipline is full of R&B/pop numbers that’ll make you dance and be happy. The title track is a highlight..giving us the sensual Janet that we’re always searching for. Can’t B good is also an amazing record, reminding me of Janet’s version of her big brother’s Human Nature.
Unbreakable – 2015
Favorites: Dammn Baby, Unbreakable, BURNITUP!, After You Fall, The Great Forever, No Sleeep, Dream Maker/Euphoria, 2 B Loved, Take Me Away, Black Eagle, Well Traveled, Gon’ B Alright.
So much had happened to Janet after her last released album Discipline: the death of her beloved brother Michael, she got married and she started her own record label..named after one of her best albums, Rhythm Nation. Unbreakable was released and debuted at number 1, giving her the record of having number one albums in the last 4 decades. The album is broken into two sides: dance pop records and experimental feel good tracks.
The title track is dedicated to Janet’s loyal fans, who have supported her throughout her tumultuous yet amazing career. Songs like The Great Forever, Dammn Baby, Dream Maker/Euphoria and Gon’ B Alright are highlights from this album, and proof that Janet has not lost..nor will she lose the amazing talents she possesses.
My favorite video of all time:
Janet Jackson has made her mark on the entertainment industry and will always be remembered for having amazing songs, impeccable dance skills, being the best humanitarian she can be and the canning resemblance to her famous family.
As she goes into an important journey in her life (motherhood,) may God continue to bless Janet with nothing but love and blessings. & remember:
give our legends their flowers while they’re here. 🌺🌸🌺🌺🌺🌺🌹🌷
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