Janet Jackson’s “Janet.”

Released: May 18, 1993

Genre: R&B & pop

Label: Virgin

Producer: Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis & Jellybean Johnson

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

By 1993, Janet Jackson had four studio albums under her belt (two of which sold over 20 million records worldwide,) and was in the middle of a multimillion-dollar bidding war over signing her since her contract with A&M was expiring. With 5 number one hits & 9 top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts under her belt, Janet was a hot commodity and was paying her dues.

Being the baby sister of a legendary musical family, Janet Jackson was constantly criticized for being either producer dependent..and of riding the coattails of her family’s name. Even after Control. Rhythm Nation 1814. These fools refused to believe Janet was becoming an icon in her own right. Critics were saying she was dependent on the production from the legendary Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis

Janet proved the naysayers wrong with the eponymous fifth studio album “janet.”

After the criticism that being a Jackson contributed to her success, she dropped her last name from the album and just titled it janet, period. The title was meant to disconnect her public image from her family.

A pop and R&B record with elements of hip hop, opera, new jack swing, house and jazz, Janet’s lyrics were written by Jackson along with long term producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The lyrical theme of janet. was intimacy and love.

After writing songs of independence on Control, and themes of social injustice, racism and bigotry on Rhythm Nation 1814, Janet stated she wanted to make her next album about love and relationships. janet is just that. A lighter album that takes look at love and promoting safe sexual relationships.

It came as a shock to many because Janet went from a teen role model that promoted abstinence in songs like Let’s Wait Awhile, to becoming a sex symbol promoting safe sex on this album.

In the age of AIDS, it certainly requires being responsible. On a psychological level though, good sex, satisfying sex, is also linked with losing yourself, releasing, using your body to get out of your body. -Janet Jackson, Rolling Stone, 1993.

Sexual maturity on janet. (whether in the songs and videos,) shows that Jackson is being an advocate for young adults to not only responsible, but smart. At the time, women in music like Madonna, Janet and countless others were pushing envelopes in music to showcase that they can be role models and speak about topics that are sort of taboo in the public eye.

Sexual freedom for women was one of those taboo topics, and Janet Jackson was definitely one of the women who broke that barrier down for artists today.

Janet debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and R&B/Hip-Hop charts respectively with 350,000 units sold in its first week, making it the first time a black artist who’s a woman debuted at number one during the SoundScan era…& remains one of only seven albums in history to produce six top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The album not only cemented her status as a sex symbol, but as an international icon. & did I mention her signing to Virgin Records made her the highest paid musician for $40 million, only to have her brother beat that number with his deal with Sony days later. We have to Stan. Forever.


Morning


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

We had the kind of night where morning comes too soon.

We used the light from a flickering candle across the room…to make the kind of shadows
That only one thing could make: love.

…Drake sampled this interlude for Come Thru on his 2013 Nothing Was The Same album.

That’s The Way Love Goes


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Like a moth to a flame, burned by the fire.
My love is blind, can’t you see my desire?…

The essential part to an artist’s career is musical growth. The lead single for the album, That’s The Way Love Goes is a song with elements of funk, hip hop, new jack swing and R&B. From a lyrical standpoint, Janet speaks of taking her lover to places he’s never been. The themes of romance and lust laid the map for the album.

Funny how critics chastised Janet for riding off of her family’s success when this song is the longest running number one single of any member of the Jackson family on the Billboard Hot 100. Also, it received the Grammy Award for Best R&B song. 🙌🏾

The song contains samples of Papa Don’t Take No Mess by James Brown & Impeach The President by The Honey Drippers.

You Know…


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

You know you want me..

You Want This


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Lyrically, You Want This has Janet telling this man, if you wanna get this…you have to work for it! I know that’s right! Growing up, this was totally one of my favorite Janet videos. It is the hot girl summer vibes before hot girl summer was a thing for me!

The song samples Love Child by Diana Ross & The Supremes & Jungle Boogie by Kool & The Gang!

Be a Good Boy…


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Be a good boy, & put this on….

If


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Harvey Fuqua, John Bristol, & Jackey Beavers.

If featured a more edgier Janet that we loved to see! Lyrically the song is about Janet singing having erotic fantasies about a man in the club. The second single from the album, the video was ahead of its time when it comes to technology with touch screens and web cameras, and from the sensuality, phenomenal choreography & voyeurism.

If was a top 5 hit for Janet on the Billboard Hot 100 & R&B/Hip-Hop charts respectively, & contains samples of Someday We’ll Be Together by Diana Ross & The Supremes & Honky-Tonk Haven by John McLaughlin.

Back


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

I’m giving you back…

This Time featuring Kathleen Battle.


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

You runnin ’round with those nasty hoes
How long did you think I could take this?

…yells Janet at her lover who has betrayed her for the last time. One thing that is beautiful about the musical marriage between Janet, Jimmy Jam & Terry is they KNOW music. They can incorporate elements of many music genres and their sub genres respectively.

The new jack swing & hip hop influenced This Time featured vocals from opera singer Kathleen Battle & it is truly INSANE how it blended so beautifully together!

Go On Miss Janet


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Go on girl! Miss Janet….

Throb


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Versatility should be Janet’s name because Throb is a mf song!!! Throb is an acid house (a sub genre for house music) record with flawless production and sensual themes. It’s one of the highlights on the album for me.

The song was sampled by Tech N9ne for his song F**k Food featuring T-Pain, Lil Wayne & Krizz Kaliko.

What I’ll Do


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

What I’ll Do is a cover of Johnny Daye’s song “What I’ll Do for Satisfaction” that was released in 1967.

The Lounge


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

And the band plays…

Funky Big Band


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

The vibes on Funky Big Band gives me the sequel to “Alright” from 1989’s Rhythm Nation 1814.

Funky Big Band sounds like something fresh out of a 40s swing band! The song contains a sample of Lionel Hampton’s “I’m in the Mood for Swing.”

Racism


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

And to a world sick with racism, get well soon.

New Agenda featuring Chuck D


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis & Carlton Ridenhour.

The follow up song to the Racism interlude is New Agenda features Chuck D of Public Enemy fame. New Agenda is a huge departure from the themes of the album, & picks up where Rhythm Nation 1814 left off.

Lyrically, the song is telling that it is time for our black people to rejoice and be a united front. After all that we’ve been through as a people, it’s time to unite in brotherhood and sisterhood. The song contains samples of “School Boy Crush” by Average White Band & “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You” by Stevie Wonder.

Love Pt. 2


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

That’s the Way Love Goes…

Because of Love


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

The fourth single from the album, Because of Love is an ode to how beautiful love can be when a couple is one and share the most beautiful moments together. When I get married one day, this is the song I’ll have in rotation. 🙌🏾

Wind

 


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

The interlude that leads to the successful ballad, “Again.”

Again


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Again is a SONG OKAY! Lyrically, the ballad is about reconnecting with an old flame and how they don’t want to fall in love with them again, but end up falling for them regardless.

The song was the third single from the album, and became Janet’s seventh number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Again was also nominated for an academy award and Golden Globe.

It was interpolated by Iyaz on his song “Solo.”

Another Lover


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

I would sooner grow old all alone, than to ever have another lover.

Where Are You Now


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

I think we ask this question about a love that got away: “do you still think of me, or does your heart belong to someone else?”

This immaculate ballad was intended to be the final single for the album before the duet of Scream by Janet and Michael happened. 😌

Hold On Baby


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Hold on, baby, let me get you ready.

The Body That Loves You


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

The Body That Loves You is definitely about making love. What I didn’t know or paid attention to until this album revisit is that the interlude leading up to this song is the sound of a condom ripping open before Janet says “Hold on, baby, let me get you ready.” It makes sense, because this song sounds like a song that’s played at doctor offices, but in the bedroom.

With the album being about love and sexual relationships, it only makes sense that Janet promotes and advocate for safe sex and AIDS awareness. Fun fact: the ribbon logo for AIDS was added on the back of the single covers from the album’s songs, and would continue the tradition on 1997’s The Velvet Rope.

Rain


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Any Time, Any Place


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Brilliant. Show stopping. Flawless. The R&B ballad is a quiet storm classic and a number one hit. The song speaks of how careless lovers are being about public lovemaking. It’s truly the highlight of janet. The music video is also a campaign for safe sex. 🙌🏾❤️

The song was sampled by Kendrick Lamar & Drake for their 2012 hit, Poetic Justice.

Are You Still Up


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Are you still up?

Sweet Dreams


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Sweet Dreams..

Whoops Now


Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis.

Whoops Now closes out the album with a feel good record about letting loose, going on vacation with your friends. The song was a huge success overseas!

In my eyes, this album made Janet the Queen of pop. Janet Jackson pushed the envelope in music when it came to her albums. They had themes (independence, social injustice, bigotry, love, intimacy and much more). Substance.

It’s important to note that Janet went from a child star & teen role model to a sex symbol. Releasing an album like Janet helped women speak more freely about their sexuality, & that’s always a wonderful thing. -MJ.

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