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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > New article about Janet's 1989 masterpiece, RHYTHM NATION
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Thread started 07/31/11 8:12pm

SEANMAN

New article about Janet's 1989 masterpiece, RHYTHM NATION

link:http://www.impre.com/la-g...4978856330

Janet Jackson created a pop masterpiece back in 1989. Today it shines more than ever.

Michael Jackson set high standards for music industry with both his "Thriller" and "Bad" albums during the 80's. Seemed that all of his siblings were condemned to an implacable anonymity.

Not so fast: Janet Jackson, the youngest of all, proved to the world she was able to reach stardom with her "Control" album (1986). But only a few people were ready for what would happen with her next project: Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). The album became an instant classic that surpassed all of her previous marks: she placed seven singles in the Top Five of Billboard's Hot 100, a feat unbeatable to these days.

What made this album so succesful? Great music: as simple as that. Some may criticize the production for its uniform sound through its 12-track list, but in reality every song has a life of its own. Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 is an unique experience to our ears and senses. Its lyrics, message, energy and high budget videos are now testimony of a great music era.

Janet didn't hesitate to sing about deep subjects specially in one track: "Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)". It speaks about children and how the world often treates them "teaching them how to hate". It's a touching song that shows not all pop music is about dressing up in meat costumes and singing about "I kissed a girl and I liked it".

But she wanted to get her audience to think at the same time of having fun. The album is full of upbeat dance tracks like "Escapade", "Alright" and "Miss You Much". Girly stuff was a very important subject for Miss Janet too. And the gorgeous "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" is the best proof of it. The superb short film won the MTV Female Video of the Year Award in 1991.

The sexy pop superstar sang about her social consciousness in tunes like "The Knowledge" and "State of The World". The title track was in 1990 what Lennon's "Power to The People" meant to the 70's: a full of energy call to empowerment through music, education and thinking. We need more pop messages like this today indeed!

Rhythm Nation 1814 in all its variety and mixing of feelings also showed a soft, yet erotic side of Janet. "Lonely" and "Come Back to Me" were the cherry on the cake: silky downtempo ballads able to make us dream of Paris with a glass of wine.

Jackson delivers herself for the first time to the man of her dreams in "Someday is Tonight", the last track of the album and one of her early "baby-making" songs. Simply one of her best tunes ever, but again: there are so many! ...

It's time now to rediscover this everlasting Pop/R&B/Rock/Dance masterpiece once again. And may new generations have musicians and singers like this, capable of creating songs with true meaning.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #1 posted 07/31/11 10:10pm

alphastreet

Thanks for sharing, I also believe this is her best album start to finish and best era.

Reply #2 posted 08/01/11 4:34am

SEANMAN

alphastreet said:

Thanks for sharing, I also believe this is her best album start to finish and best era.

You're welcome. It's definately the album the solidified her status as a pop icon.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #3 posted 08/01/11 4:58am

regcart

AWESOME read and YES this solidified her name in the history books.....I LOVE thos masterpiece.....It was PURE Janet from Start to Finish!

Reply #4 posted 08/01/11 7:10am

smoothcriminal12

GENIUS album! In my opinion, she's never been able to top this one.

Reply #5 posted 08/01/11 7:55am

wonder505

Excellent album. A clear masterpiece. Songs were perfect in melody and arrangements.

Reply #6 posted 08/01/11 8:14am

rialb

SEANMAN said:

Janet didn't hesitate to sing about deep subjects specially in one track: "Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)". It speaks about children and how the world often treates them "teaching them how to hate". It's a touching song that shows not all pop music is about dressing up in meat costumes and singing about "I kissed a girl and I liked it".

Hmm, the bit about the meat dress is an obvious dig at Lady Gaga but she has been very active when it comes to social issues (gay rights) while in recent years Janet is arguably most remembered for Nipplegate. Katy Perry may have sung about kissing a girl but Janet has hardly been shy about shoving her sexuality down the throats of the public (including the occasional foray into faux lesbianism). It seems a bit disingenuous to suggest that because of her lyrics Janet is in some way superior to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It's all just silly pop music.

Reply #7 posted 08/01/11 9:02am

SEANMAN

rialb said:

SEANMAN said:

Janet didn't hesitate to sing about deep subjects specially in one track: "Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)". It speaks about children and how the world often treates them "teaching them how to hate". It's a touching song that shows not all pop music is about dressing up in meat costumes and singing about "I kissed a girl and I liked it".

Hmm, the bit about the meat dress is an obvious dig at Lady Gaga but she has been very active when it comes to social issues (gay rights) while in recent years Janet is arguably most remembered for Nipplegate. Katy Perry may have sung about kissing a girl but Janet has hardly been shy about shoving her sexuality down the throats of the public (including the occasional foray into faux lesbianism). It seems a bit disingenuous to suggest that because of her lyrics Janet is in some way superior to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It's all just silly pop music.

This is strictly the opinion of the writer of the article. He was speaking on that specific space in time about Janet, and comparing the RN-era Janet to that of today's female pop stars. It's not about superiority, it's about a time when a woman could dress up to her chin in all black and still take the pop music world by storm. And, I disagree, Janet is not most remembered for Nipplegate (a stupid word if I've ever heard one). It may be part of the lexicon, but she has certainly done a lot in her career since then.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #8 posted 08/01/11 9:55am

alphastreet

Nipplegate does get brought up unfortunately, by those who are not already familiar with her. I doubt it's like that with those who grew up on her and are familiar with her music. She put out great music after too though, I love all her albums, but my top 3 are RN, Velvet Rope and All For You...also love the first 2 albums. Crazy about the Janet album and Control, but mostly for the songs I love best. Damita Jo has a mix of her best ever, her average, and some of her worst IMO. 20 YO flows well and some of the songs are great, but it's really missing something, can't put my finger on it. I LOVE Discipline though for the most part, the sound, the style, the melodies etc.

Reply #9 posted 08/01/11 10:07am

SEANMAN

alphastreet said:

Nipplegate does get brought up unfortunately, by those who are not already familiar with her. I doubt it's like that with those who grew up on her and are familiar with her music. She put out great music after too though, I love all her albums, but my top 3 are RN, Velvet Rope and All For You...also love the first 2 albums. Crazy about the Janet album and Control, but mostly for the songs I love best. Damita Jo has a mix of her best ever, her average, and some of her worst IMO. 20 YO flows well and some of the songs are great, but it's really missing something, can't put my finger on it. I LOVE Discipline though for the most part, the sound, the style, the melodies etc.

Yep, the SB thing is what most kids who weren't around or were too young in the 80s-90s know her for, and it's unfortunate because most of the artists they love and admire pattern their performances after Janet.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #10 posted 08/01/11 10:12am

paisleypark4

:touched: The album still to this day is simply amazing.
Download all the shit hop that you can for your kids, neices, nephews, and their friends also. That will prevent them from going out and buying it and will prevent some shit hop sales. Every little bit helps - Andy
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus
Reply #11 posted 08/01/11 10:15am

mjscarousal

I LOVEEEE RN. It is my favorite album from her and in my opinion her BEST WORKS.. from an artistically as well as entertainment standpoint.

I wish Janet could have stayed with this theme and maybe just evolved it. She always stayed tomboyish but she screamed empowerment and not just for women. Its sad that over the years she went a route that didnt help her legacy much.sad But I still got love for her nonetheless.

Stand, you`ve been sitting much too long, there`s a permanent crease in your right or wrong.~Sly Stone
Reply #12 posted 08/01/11 11:06am

Timmy84

I was a little disappointed this didn't come from a magazine. Honestly it needs a real good reassessment or something. Classic album though.

Reply #13 posted 08/01/11 11:36am

rialb

SEANMAN said:

rialb said:

Hmm, the bit about the meat dress is an obvious dig at Lady Gaga but she has been very active when it comes to social issues (gay rights) while in recent years Janet is arguably most remembered for Nipplegate. Katy Perry may have sung about kissing a girl but Janet has hardly been shy about shoving her sexuality down the throats of the public (including the occasional foray into faux lesbianism). It seems a bit disingenuous to suggest that because of her lyrics Janet is in some way superior to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It's all just silly pop music.

This is strictly the opinion of the writer of the article. He was speaking on that specific space in time about Janet, and comparing the RN-era Janet to that of today's female pop stars. It's not about superiority, it's about a time when a woman could dress up to her chin in all black and still take the pop music world by storm. And, I disagree, Janet is not most remembered for Nipplegate (a stupid word if I've ever heard one). It may be part of the lexicon, but she has certainly done a lot in her career since then.

I take your point about her image at the time but I would argue that someone like Adele, while not quite on the same scale, is having success with a similar image. It's kind of ironic that Janet abandoned that image and very much went the route of selling a sexy image in the years that followed.

As far as "the incident" I'm convinced that for a significant amount of people today if you say the name "Janet Jackson" that is the first thing that they think of. True, she has had success with her music since then but on a much smaller scale than she had before "the incident." It has been roughly ten years since she has had a top five hit of her own on the Billboard Hot 100, that is a significant drought.

Reply #14 posted 08/01/11 11:39am

Timmy84

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

Reply #15 posted 08/01/11 11:46am

rialb

Timmy84 said:

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

I'm not as big of a fan as you guys but I do like her. I think as far as the sexual image goes she just went too far. That's not to say that it was offensive but after a while it just felt like she was beating us over the head with the fact that she enjoyed sex. I was kind of hoping that after The Velvet Rope that she would do something a bit more artistic rather than continue with the pop star route. Now that she is getting older maybe for at least one album she will abandon pop music and show us a different side of her.

Reply #16 posted 08/01/11 11:50am

SEANMAN

rialb said:

SEANMAN said:

This is strictly the opinion of the writer of the article. He was speaking on that specific space in time about Janet, and comparing the RN-era Janet to that of today's female pop stars. It's not about superiority, it's about a time when a woman could dress up to her chin in all black and still take the pop music world by storm. And, I disagree, Janet is not most remembered for Nipplegate (a stupid word if I've ever heard one). It may be part of the lexicon, but she has certainly done a lot in her career since then.

I take your point about her image at the time but I would argue that someone like Adele, while not quite on the same scale, is having success with a similar image. It's kind of ironic that Janet abandoned that image and very much went the route of selling a sexy image in the years that followed.

As far as "the incident" I'm convinced that for a significant amount of people today if you say the name "Janet Jackson" that is the first thing that they think of. True, she has had success with her music since then but on a much smaller scale than she had before "the incident." It has been roughly ten years since she has had a top five hit of her own on the Billboard Hot 100, that is a significant drought

Which is why she has taken other avenues in her career (i.e acting in films, writing a book), and has found great success with those things. That significant amount of people would mostly have to be the tween set, who, yes, would mostly know of the whole SB incident.

Anyway, the article is very true, in that the RN album helped pave the way for the succint way today's pop stars marry precise dance with fashion and video.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #17 posted 08/01/11 11:53am

SEANMAN

rialb said:

Timmy84 said:

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

I'm not as big of a fan as you guys but I do like her. I think as far as the sexual image goes she just went too far. That's not to say that it was offensive but after a while it just felt like she was beating us over the head with the fact that she enjoyed sex. I was kind of hoping that after The Velvet Rope that she would do something a bit more artistic rather than continue with the pop star route. Now that she is getting older maybe for at least one album she will abandon pop music and show us a different side of her.

She has spoken at length on her enjoyment of Brazillian jazz, and such artists as Cesaria Evoria. I'm hoping that with the new album, which will likely be out sometime next year, she will explore that route.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #18 posted 08/01/11 12:20pm

HohnerCatcher

Ne-Yo, Jermaine Dupri, or Rodney Jerkins never made her do background tracks like this:

cloud9 dove

Reply #19 posted 08/01/11 12:22pm

Timmy84

HohnerCatcher said:

Ne-Yo, Jermaine Dupri, or Rodney Jerkins never made her do background tracks like this:

cloud9 dove

Jimmy & Terry were in rare form back then! Goddamn! music

Reply #20 posted 08/01/11 12:41pm

HAPPYPERSON

Timmy84 said:

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

I kinda feel that way too timmy, Janet was a megastar and a Pop Icon today however I think her career could've reach high levels similar to the height of Madonna. I wasn't born yet when Rhythm Nation was released, how big was the whole era?

Reply #21 posted 08/01/11 12:55pm

Timmy84

HAPPYPERSON said:

Timmy84 said:

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

I kinda feel that way too timmy, Janet was a megastar and a Pop Icon today however I think her career could've reach high levels similar to the height of Madonna. I wasn't born yet when Rhythm Nation was released, how big was the whole era?

I was around 5, 6, 7 but it was huge in my view. She was all over MTV and BET then and all over the radio. In fact it was so big I was surprised it only sold the amount of copies it did. There was definitely a lot of good hype surrounding it. biggrin

Reply #22 posted 08/01/11 12:59pm

HohnerCatcher

SEANMAN said:

she placed seven singles in the Top Five of Billboard's Hot 100

from Wiki:

Singles

Year of release Single Billboard Hot 100
1989 "Miss You Much" 1
1989 "Rhythm Nation" 2
1990 "Escapade" 1
1990 "Alright" 4
1990 "Come Back to Me" 2
1990 "Black Cat" 1
1991 "Love Will Never Do (Without You)"

1

Reply #23 posted 08/01/11 1:01pm

SEANMAN

HAPPYPERSON said:

Timmy84 said:

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

I kinda feel that way too timmy, Janet was a megastar and a Pop Icon today however I think her career could've reach high levels similar to the height of Madonna. I wasn't born yet when Rhythm Nation was released, how big was the whole era?

How big was the whole era? The RN Tour was and still is the biggest debut tour by any artist. It was massive, visiting several continents and selling out the Tokyo Dome faster than any other artist, a record it still holds. RN 1814 was the biggest selling album of 1990. RN is the only album in history to place 7 singles in the top 5 of Billboard's Hot 100 chart (Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA and MJ's Thriller achieved similar feats, though their 7 singles were a mixture of top 5 and top 10--these 3 are the only albums in history to achieve these feats). In 1990, Janet won a record 15 Billboard Awards for the album in one night. She is still the artist with the most Billboard Awards won. The RN album is the only album ever to achieve #1 hits in 3 sepearate calendar years (1989, 1990 and 1991). She won awards hand over fist for the album, from a Grammy to MTV and Soul Train awards to Billboard Awards and American Music Awards. There were scholarships set up in the Rhythm Nation name, and the album contributed to several kids going back to school to recieve their diplomas. RN 1814 is listed on several Must Hear album lists, and Greatest Pop Albums lists. She won MTV's coveted Video Vanguard Award in 1990, as well as MTVs Best Choreography award, beating out the likes of Madonna, Paula Abdul, MC Hammer, etc.

The reason you see videos like Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x" and Ciara's "Like a Boy", and Peter Andre's "Defender", etc., is because videos like Janet's "Alright" and "Rhythm Nation" made them possible. Even the opening of Gaga's "Alejandro" video was sighted as having an RN influence, as was Beyonce's performance of "Ring the Alarm" at the MTV Awards a few years ago. Also, Janet's look at the time is pretty much instilled in pop culture. The black cap, ponytail and militant RN garb was recently paid homage to in Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock" video.

Janet covered rock, pop, RnB, quiet storm, and hip-hop on the album. RN was also instrumental in making Janet the only artist in history to be nominated in the Rock, Rap, RnB, Pop and Dance categories at the Grammys, a record that still stands.

[Edited 8/1/11 13:46pm]

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #24 posted 08/01/11 1:01pm

SEANMAN

Timmy84 said:

HAPPYPERSON said:

I kinda feel that way too timmy, Janet was a megastar and a Pop Icon today however I think her career could've reach high levels similar to the height of Madonna. I wasn't born yet when Rhythm Nation was released, how big was the whole era?

I was around 5, 6, 7 but it was huge in my view. She was all over MTV and BET then and all over the radio. In fact it was so big I was surprised it only sold the amount of copies it did. There was definitely a lot of good hype surrounding it. biggrin

LOL, I was 13 when it came out and yes, it was HUGE. I'm sure that if it was recertified (which a lot of her albums need to be), it would be close to if not pass diamond status.

[Edited 8/1/11 13:33pm]

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #25 posted 08/01/11 2:40pm

rialb

HAPPYPERSON said:

Timmy84 said:

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

I kinda feel that way too timmy, Janet was a megastar and a Pop Icon today however I think her career could've reach high levels similar to the height of Madonna. I wasn't born yet when Rhythm Nation was released, how big was the whole era?

Big. This doesn't really address your question but what I remember most from that era was the rivalry between Janet and Paula Abdul. It didn't last long but for a little while Paula was huge and was doing something similar to Janet.

Reply #26 posted 08/01/11 2:51pm

HAPPYPERSON

^^ thanks for the info guys, seems like the rhythm Nation era was her biggest as far as hits, innovative videos, the tour, loads of awards , the album was the best selling of 1990 right?

Reply #27 posted 08/01/11 4:02pm

SEANMAN

HAPPYPERSON said:

^^ thanks for the info guys, seems like the rhythm Nation era was her biggest as far as hits, innovative videos, the tour, loads of awards , the album was the best selling of 1990 right?

Yep.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #28 posted 08/01/11 4:29pm

jbrown83

All the critical acclaim, and sales, yet she was still stiffed at the Grammys mad.

Hey baby! Don't get me in here actin' silly now! You're not taping this are you... ????
Reply #29 posted 08/01/11 4:39pm

Militant

moderator

Great article and still one of my favorite albums of all time after all these years. Most of my Janet collection is things related to this album, various promo vinyls, CD and cassette singles, etc.

This one might be my favorite though, the limited edition "Come Back To Me/Alright" 12" with included giant 1990 poster/calendar.

Reply #30 posted 08/01/11 4:41pm

SEANMAN

Militant said:

Great article and still one of my favorite albums of all time after all these years. Most of my Janet collection is things related to this album, various promo vinyls, CD and cassette singles, etc.

This one might be my favorite though, the limited edition "Come Back To Me/Alright" 12" with included giant 1990 poster/calendar.

Always LOVED that photo!

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #31 posted 08/01/11 4:42pm

SEANMAN

jbrown83 said:

All the critical acclaim, and sales, yet she was still stiffed at the Grammys mad.

I know, right! RN not getting at least an Album of the Year nod is ridic. It's good the film short won for Best Long Video, but that album and some of those singles were royally shafted.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #32 posted 08/01/11 4:52pm

jbrown83

It pisses me off because the only Grammys shes ever had, were never shown on the telecast mad. Ahhh, screw 'em, Janet doesn't need 'em anyways, she became a legend all on her own!

Hey baby! Don't get me in here actin' silly now! You're not taping this are you... ????
Reply #33 posted 08/01/11 5:28pm

SEANMAN

jbrown83 said:

It pisses me off because the only Grammys shes ever had, were never shown on the telecast mad. Ahhh, screw 'em, Janet doesn't need 'em anyways, she became a legend all on her own!

Right! And a legend she is.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #34 posted 08/01/11 6:32pm

Timmy84

SEANMAN said:

Timmy84 said:

I was around 5, 6, 7 but it was huge in my view. She was all over MTV and BET then and all over the radio. In fact it was so big I was surprised it only sold the amount of copies it did. There was definitely a lot of good hype surrounding it. biggrin

LOL, I was 13 when it came out and yes, it was HUGE. I'm sure that if it was recertified (which a lot of her albums need to be), it would be close to if not pass diamond status.

[Edited 8/1/11 13:33pm]

Ain't American sales of this album like around 10 million? I think it sold more in America than Control, right?

Reply #35 posted 08/01/11 6:54pm

mjscarousal

Timmy84 said:

Looking back at Janet's career, I'm almost saddened it didn't reach like bigger levels than it should've. Maybe it was because she was with Virgin idk... I don't know, for some reason I think she had reached more people when she dressed all black and got hardcore with her dancing. Maybe that's just me though I liked it when she went sensual (and sexual) too.

She DID reach more people and till this day she is more respected and acknowledge for that era. When people think of Janet they automatically think of Rhythm Nation and miliatary style dancing. Its really a shame because she could have did alot of creative things with that theme and could of even though it is not possible AT LEAST try at being right up there in popularity as her brother. She should have STAYED with that and just reinvented it with each era.

What went wrong with her was she soon took a decline in her music and to me became more about being a sex symbol. After she got her self esteem up and became more comfortable with her body all she wanted to sing about was sex etc etc...

Stand, you`ve been sitting much too long, there`s a permanent crease in your right or wrong.~Sly Stone
Reply #36 posted 08/01/11 7:00pm

SEANMAN

Timmy84 said:

SEANMAN said:

LOL, I was 13 when it came out and yes, it was HUGE. I'm sure that if it was recertified (which a lot of her albums need to be), it would be close to if not pass diamond status.

[Edited 8/1/11 13:33pm]

Ain't American sales of this album like around 10 million? I think it sold more in America than Control, right?

Yeah, I think RN sales are stated at 8 million, but it would most certainly have to be more than that by now. She should really look into getting her catalogue recertified, because her albums have sold a lot more than what is documented.

"Get up off that grey line"
Reply #37 posted 08/01/11 11:03pm

PlayboyOriginal

Speak truth orgers....... RN1814 is Janet at her absolute BEST. She ain't been the same since SMH

Stevie Wonder = EARTH
Prince = WIND
Chaka Khan = FIRE
Sade = WATER
the ELEMENTS of MUSIC

URL: http://prince.org/msg/8/364035

Date printed: Fri 21st Jul 2017 9:55pm PDT