My Top 110 Music Artists, #7

At #7 is a pop/R&B icon, with songs ranging from topics about social injustice to sexuality, who released one of my favorite tracks of all time. I’ve been a fan of this artist’s music since she took control of her own career in 1986. She’s also the only artist for whom I still have a vinyl album, and I can’t bear to part with it, even though I don’t have a record player and haven’t had one for many years now.


#7: Janet Jackson

There will always be a soft spot in my heart for Janet Jackson. I constantly played her third and fourth studio albums, Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 in the early 90s, during my separation and divorce from my first wife. Some of the songs spoke to me as though they were written specifically for me, telling me to take control of my life. I felt I had no control, that God and the universe were all conspiring against me, robbing me of every ounce of free will. But I’d listen to Janet Jackson, and in song she told me otherwise. She had taken control of her life, and I could too. And that’s why I can’t bear to part with my vinyl LP of Control. I’ll treasure it until I die or someone takes it from me by force or stealth.

Video: Janet Jackson – Control

Control, the album, is my #4 most played album of the past four years. It hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and spent a total of 105 weeks on the chart. Rhythm Nation 1814 also hit #1 on the Top 200, and spent a total of 106 weeks on the chart. A #1 track from Rhythm Nation was my most played Janet Jackson track of the past four years, and is one of my all time favorite songs, for it helped me get through my years of suicidal depression during my separation and divorce in the early 90s. I was living on the edge, and could easily have died at my own hand; there were many times when I was ready to commit the deed, but I would play this track and listen to it instead, dancing to it in my bedroom with my own privately devised choreography that anyone else watching might not have understood, and through Janet’s music bring myself slowly back from that terrible precipice.

Video: Janet Jackson – Black Cat

Damn, my eyes are tearing up just from watching that video. Brings back memories; I saw Janet in concert around that time, and it was one of the brightest days of my life.

Janet Jackson was on the forefront of bringing smartly choreographed moves to music videos. She didn’t have to rely on erratic cutting from one scene to another; her dance moves were so hypnotic, I wanted the camera to stay focused on her all the time and never cut away, though of course it did—that’s just how music videos are.

No civilian ever looked so good in a uniform.

Video: Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation

I remember at the Janet Jackson concert I attended, she sang this next song, and near the end when they sat in the chairs, Janet shouted, “That’s the end?” Some people, like myself, shouted back, “No!” You won’t see it in this video I’ve embedded here, and I couldn’t find the extended version on YouTube, but if you are ever at a Janet Jackson concert and she performs this song, then make sure you shout “No!” when she asks if that’s the end. Because then she might just perform the extended version of the song for you, as she did at the concert I attended, and it is something to see. I wish it were on YouTube.

Video: Janet Jackson – Miss You Much

Other songs from Rhythm Nation 1814 addressed such topics as social injustice and the need to provide better education for children. It was music with a message, but it wasn’t preachy. Rhythm Nation 1814 was my second most played Janet Jackson album of the past four years.

Of course, I’ve listened to many more Janet Jackson albums than Control and Rhythm Nation 1814—I own nearly all of her CDs (yes, that’s physical CDs, not MP3 albums). My second most played Janet Jackson track is from her ultra sexy 1993 album, Janet. Talk about temptresses, and you have to include Janet Jackson in that discussion. Talk about what ifs, and you have to consider this track.

Video: Janet Jackson – If

The album Janet is indeed one of the sexiest albums ever produced, containing what I consider the sexiest song ever recorded. Don’t listen to this if you aren’t into listening to someone come to orgasm.

Video (Fan-Made w/Clips): Janet Jackson – Throb

Another extremely sexy song from Janet is my fourth most played Janet Jackson track, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Many remixes were made for this song, including the one in this video. Personally, I like the original track the best, with no rap included.

Video: Janet Jackson – You Want This

My third most played Janet Jackson track is from Janet’s 1997 album, The Velvet Rope. Wikipedia tells how that Janet was fighting her own battles with depression during the making of this album. Despite her personal struggles, she still understood that each person must take responsibility for oneself, and included a song about it on her album. It’s a powerful message, if you pay attention, but it’s also a song that’s great to groove to.

Video: Janet Jackson – You

As you can see, I love all the older Janet Jackson albums. But my most played Janet Jackson album of the past four years is her 2008 #1 studio album, Discipline. Most of the tracks on the album got equal play from me, except for two particular favorites, So Much Betta, with its female computerized voice, and this song, my fifth most played Janet Jackson track.

Video: Janet Jackson – Rock With U

My third most played Janet Jackson album is Damita Jo, from 2004. The album was released during the hoopla about the Superbowl wardrobe malfunction, which may have affected sales of the album and its singles. I firmly believe the incident was an accident; I don’t for one moment believe Janet would have planned to bare her breast on national TV, no matter how sexy her music and videos are.

I have a couple of favorites from Damita Jo. Like You Don’t Love Me is a super sexy song. Then there’s this funky track, co-written by Herbie Hancock, a master of funk; the song hit #1 on the US Dance/Club Play chart.

Video: Janet Jackson – All Nite (Don’t Stop)

In 2009, Janet released her second compilation album, Number Ones, loaded with 33 songs that each reached #1 on some chart, though not necessarily the US Hot 100, plus one new song, which hit #1 on the Dance/Club Play chart.

Video: Janet Jackson – Make Me

There are many more Janet Jackson songs I love, and other albums I’ve not mentioned but also love. While I can’t say that I know Janet Jackson personally, I feel this intimate connection to her, which is more than a crush, but isn’t a romantic thing, either. Though she doesn’t know me, she is a very real part of my life, and always will be. An artist can’t ask for anything more from their art than to touch the lives of people as deeply as she has touched mine. From the bottom of my heart, let me simply say, “Thank you, Ms. Jackson.”

And thank you for visiting.


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