Janet. – Janet Jackson – 1993
Claimed Sales: 14m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Janet. is a statement of intent. There’s no Jackson on cover of this album and it marked the third consecutive successful album on which Janet carved her own story alongside the narrative of her famous family. It’s not the industrial dance of her previous album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, in fact Janet. features such a huge breadth of genres that even labeling it simply a pop or a dance record would be ridiculous. She moves from the 60s swing of What’ll I Do, to the sultry RnB groove of standout Any Time, Any Place like it’s nothing, while the moments where she wants to dance on the new jack swing of You Want This remind you that she can still own the dancefloor. It’s an epic album and often totally baffling, 13 of its 28(!) tracks are just second long interludes, but it manages to hold the listener thanks to its shifting genres and Miss Jackson’s engaging presence. If it wasn’t for these interludes in fact, I feel that the stark differences between a track like Because of Love and closing Doo-Wop of Whoops Now could be a step too far for some. No matter the genre though, there is definitely one thing that’s on Janet’s mind. Much of Janet. is about sex, but not about ‘being sexy’, this is a full exploration of a previously conservative artist’s own desires. That’s The Way Love Goes is a thrilling RnB jam, but it’s seen no further than on the deep house of the not so subtly titled Throb. Saying the moans that make up the backing track bears a resemblance to a certain early 90s Madonna hit would be an understatement, and I couldn’t help but think of Janet’s ‘I think what I do has class to it’ interview. It’s probably one of the lowest points of the record in fact, perhaps a close second behind the sickly sentimental Again. These blips aside, Janet. is such an interesting album, it’s a hell of a ride and just about ends up better than the sum of its parts.
Will I listen again?: I really should give my more of Janet’s albums a go.
Best Track: Any Time, Any Place is a banging RnB slow jam.