The Gospel: What Is Janet Jackson's Best #1 Hit? - A Glance Back

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The question stated in the post title is full of beans. Pinto, Lima, Soy. Beans. Ask a Janet Jackson fan what their favorite #1 hit or even asking what their favorite song is and you'll probably stand there watching them count fingers and change their minds. It's a hard task, but if anyone just wants to know what is the best #1 hit, they'll have a chance to make up their minds, or at least attempt to, today when Janet's two-disc Number Ones set drops. The comprehensive global #1 hits package is sure to appease 'nasty boys', 'fast girls' and 'R&B junkies' all around as well as open those unaware to the wonderful career that Ms. Jackson has crafted.

As Janet's last couple of albums haven't been something to salivate over, it's quite intriguing looking back at the 27 years that Janet has been recording music (we cannot forget her ill-fated first two albums, 1982's Janet Jackson and 1984's Dream Street) and seeing how much the youngest member of the Jackson clan has actually put out. Even as a long-time fan, I never realized how many hits Janet has had. I know, it should be obvious as Number Ones covers 23 years, but it's an impressive 23 years, with songs that to this day I can pretty much sing-a-long and perform the dance steps to in front of my vanity mirror (Oops, I just told on myself). Even most of the songs that are about as old as me, like the zesty "What Have You Done For Me Lately", if released today, would be hits because well, the songs are just structured well and they hold up well past their expiration date.

True, mainstream music is on the decline and anything would sound better than what everyone is screeching about these days, but the combining forces of Janet with producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' production work is quite eternal, as in no one will ever do what they did again. Jam and Lewis play a massive part in this collection as does Janet herself, as a majority of the songs featured were overseen by them. Still not convinced if Janet's 80's and 90's hey-day is still crisp n' fresh in today's 00's? Peep 1989's "Love Will Never Do Without You", which still sounds fresh to my ears.

See what I mean? And this was recorded over 20 years ago.

Maybe I'm reaching, but greatest hits albums like this (think Madonna's Celebration, which is just as massive as this) kind of make me feel reflective on an artist and their material, especially one that I have been listening too since I was a wee little Audio Diva in the making. The nice thing about this set is that every song is in chronological order, so we get to really hear the progression of Janet's musical career. From her being social aware in the late 80's with her "rhythm nation", to sexually confident dame being just janet. in the early 90's, to the deep thinking soul mama during those glorious Velvet Rope years, all of it and more is present on Number Ones.

While Janet, to some, is not on the same caliber as her late brother, I've always thought she was just as great, as she has influenced many with her style, her moves and her tunes. It's evident with each passing R&B starlet, who in some way shape or form takes a page out of the Janet Jackson handbook and copy it oh so delicately.

Even though the question stated in the post title is quite ludicrous...what is Janet's best #1 hit to you? Feel free to reflect on Janet career and share in your favorite songs in comments.

1 comment:

  1. Her eponymous debut is sorely underrated, very strong vocal performances and production all around on what has become known as "the pink "Off the Wall"."

    And I think her last three albums, "Damita Jo" specifically have been quite strong in her veteran stride contrary to popular myth. Either way, I agree that Janet has a great discography, rich with music to discover. Have a good holiday break!-QH


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