Friday, May 16, 2008




In 1990, Janet Jackson became a household name and a legend in her own right. Her social conscious album “Rhythm Nation 1814” was named the # 1 album of the year and made her the only female artist to have seven top five Pop hits from one album. A record that has yet to be broken. The success of the album earned her a recording deal from Virgin Records close to $50 million dollars, making her the biggest paid female artists at that time.. After taking tine off to relax and star in her film debut, Janet went into the studio with long time collaborators Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to co-write and produce her debut for Virgin, which not only became her third # 1 album, it also began her long association with the gay community, who began to play her music along with other R&B, and Hip-Hop artists. The album also showcased her growth as an artist with her following the path that Motown legend Marvin Gaye left by having a social conscious album followed by an tasteful, sensual release. “Janet was about a confident sexy woman in touch with her feminine side” Producer Jimmy Jam said in the Billboard Books of Number Ones. “That was what she was feeling at that time, so our job was to enhance that,”
“The pressure was to start of Janet with a bomb” Jackson told author David Ritz in the liner notes of “Design of a Decade” when asked why she chose to release “That’s The Way Love Goes” as the first single. “But I wanted to slide through the door real quietly. This song just sorta sucked you in..” The single did more than suck me in; it was constantly playing in my walkman (I actually brought the tape the day before it came out at Bondy’s Music, a famous record store that used to sell tapes and CD’s the day before the actual release date), and to honor the 15 anniversary of this release, I decided to relive the moments where I began to appreciate Miss Janet even more than I previous did.
“Janet” opens with a morning, a spoken work into where she speaks about the beauty of love, which smoothly fades into the Grammy Award winning classic “That’s The Way Love Goes” which has a nice smooth flowing Jazzy soulful feel courtesy of the guitars, bass, drums, seductive lyrics, vocals call and response with herself and sampling of James Brown’s 1974 “Papa Don’t Take No Mess.” This is followed by “You Want This” which has hot beats, piano riffs, smooth harmony from Janet, and samples from The Supremes’ classic “Love Child.” “If” is a highlight in her concerts. What makes this song hot are the rock intro, piano riffs, Janet’s seductive rapping and harmony and the intro of Diana Ross & The Supremes’ 1969 farewell hit “Someday, We’ll be Together” sampled into the intro and middle of the song. A hot song to play when you’re on top of your partner while having sex. Janet showcases her sassy side on the Country-Operatic “This Time” with Opera legend Kathleen Battle, who’s fierce vocals give the song dramatic along with the guitar, percussion, strings and fierce lyrics. Especially during the bridge.

“This time
I’m not gonna stay
This time
I must get away
This time
You’ve gone too far
I’m not gonna stay
This Time
You’ve got to pay
This Time
You’ve gone to far
Walking around with nasty hoes
Tellin’ me that’s the way love goes
Well baby you’ve gone too far
Tellin’ me I’m not that strong
Watch me walk through that door.

“Throb” is a hot house song that still has kids striking poses and dipping at Gay functions. In addition to her soulful vocals, the song has hot beats, saxophone riffs, and features Janet seductive ad-libs. She also cuts loose vocally on the Rock song “What I’ll Do” which she co-produced with Jellybean Johnson that still has Rock fans bobbing their heads along with the beat, organ and vocals by member of the Gospel group Sounds of Blackness. “Funky Big Band” is one of my favorites song on this release. It’s a cool way to pay homage to musicians who played real instruments, and rocked a crowd with their musicianship, which has bass lines and horn riffs that most of today’s artist sample today.
Public Enemy’s Chuck D joins Janet on the Hip-Hop flavored “New Agenda” which tackles sexism and racism. What gives this song fire are the beats, horn riffs, Chuck’s powerful ad-libs and flow during the bridge and the lyrics.
(Don’t be surprised is Michelle Obama uses as her theme song when she becomes the first Black First lady).
“Because of Love” is a cute love song, that has cute lyrics and bass, but it’s not my cup of tea.
“Again” is a beautiful ballad from a her film “Poetic Justice” that’s another concert favorite. It features Janet giving a heartfelt vocal performance in front of an orchestra that was conducted by
“Where Are You Know” is a great mid-tempo ballad that showcases Jackson’s ability to sing high and low ranges as well as harmony.
The CD closes with the hot “Anytime, Anyplace” which began to shed her kid sister image. This hot ballad has a sexy old school feel thanks the to the saxophone, breaks, and Janet’s vocal performance which features her singing low and high ranges.
Dancin’ on the floor
Feeling the slow groove
My mind is startin’ to burn
With forbidden thoughts
Strangers all around
With the lights down low
I was thinking may we
Could…well…you know
I don’t wanna stop just because
People standin’ ‘round within’ us
I don’t give a damn what they think
I want you know
I don’t wanna stop just because
You feel so good inside of my love
I’m not gonna stop no, no, no
I want you all I wanna say is
Any time , any place
I don’t care’s who’s around’

This CD is still hot as it was when it was first released 15 years ago. Miss Janet was able to take her fans into her creative mind and world with this classic release, and she was able to provide some great music for both the hetero and gay community to listen to in the clubs, and in the bedroom.

Some known and unknown facts about the album

1.when it came time to Janet to record her debut for Virign, her and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis wrote about the concept of what the album should be, and discovered they were on the same page.

2. As noted earlier, Virgin wanted "If" to be released as the first single to capitalize on Janet's dancing talent, but she and her co-writers and producers refused. They felt that releasing the mid-tempo ballad "That's The Way Love Goes" would be a great introduction to the album as opposed to killing the opporunity by coming up with a dance song, and they were right. The album debut at number one, and the single debuted a 14, then topped the Pop charts for 7 weeks, earning Janet her second Grammy Award.

3. Janet fulfilled her dream of working with Oprea legend Kathleen Battle, who performs on the song "This Time." In a 1993 documentary, Janet said that she first saw Battle at the 1987 Grammy Awards, and she was captivated by her beauty, but when she heard her perform, she knew she wanted to work with her.

4. Janet had tied Aretha Franklin's record of being the female with the most gold singles when "Anytime, Anyplace" became her 15th gold single in 1994.

5. The album had released 7 singles, and "Where Are You Know" was scheduled to be the eight single to be released, but Janet decided to record the duet "Scream" with brother Michael, which made them the first musical relatives to have a single debut in the top 5 on the Pop, R&B and Dance charts.

6. The biggest selling single of the album was "That's The Way Love Goes," which was based on a sample of James Brown's 1974 hit "Papa Don't Take No Mess." It became a favorite of fans, but at first Janet wasn't too fond of the track. In an interview in the Billboard Books of Number One Hits, Jimmy Jam told he author that he gave Janet a copy of the track to listen to during the Christmas holiday, and when she return, she told him that the track was the bomb. Later on, she called him at 2 in the morning and told him that she had a different idea for the song. She wanted it to be seductive. Not only did the song become a favorite among fans, many music artists listed it as one of their favorite songs.
in 1994,Jazz guitarist Norman Brown did a Jazz version of the song, which earned him a 1995 Soul Train Music Award for Best Jazz Album. Three years, singing group Browwnstone and rapper Heavy D performed the song as a part of a tribute to Janet who was honored with the Lena Horne Award for Acheievement. In 2002, author Daryl C. Diggs use the song as the title of his debut novel

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