Thursday, April 20, 2023

"Rhythm Nation" by Janet Jackson

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4106
Date:  11/11/1989
Debut:  49
Peak:  2
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Dance-Pop, R&B, Funk

Pop Bits:  Jackson's fourth album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 got kicked off in a big way with its first single, "Miss You Much," quickly getting to #1 and staying there for four weeks. It would end up being a platinum seller. It was a highly successful start to what would be a record-setting run of singles from the album. While sales and chart-wise "Miss You Much" would do better, this title track second single would be the one to make a major statement. The topical tune and its associated military style video would both become iconic and help push Jackson's career into the stratosphere. The single would hit #1 at R&B and Dance while getting to #2 at Pop. It would sell well enough to go gold. By this point in time, the album had already spent four weeks at #1 and was on the verge of going double-platinum.

ReduxReview:  This was such a bad ass song and video. Jackson wanted to make a statement and she certainly did with this track. Then on the album it was the one-two-three punch of this song plus the equally effective "State of the World" followed by "The Knowledge." If Control was about independence and empowerment, then Rhythm Nation expanded to include what was going on in the world and this title track set the tone. Of course there was still some delicious dance-pop tracks like "Escapade" and the rockin' "Black Cat" to round out the set. While many folks consider this the peak of Jackson's power and creativity (and I do agree), that doesn't mean she still didn't do some interesting and adventurous work (the underrated The Velvet Rope comes to mind). However, Rhythm Nation would be her Thriller moment - hugely successful and highly influential.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  The run of singles from Rhythm Nation 1814 would end up setting two chart records. While Jackson wouldn't be the first artist to earn seven Pop Top 10 hits from one album (her brother Michael would achieve that with Thirller as would Bruce Springsteen with singles from Born in the U.S.A.), she bested everyone by being the first (and still the only) artist to have seven Pop Top 5 singles from one album. In addition to that record, the album became the first to have three singles reach #1 in three different years. "Miss You Much" would top the chart in '89, then both "Escapade" and "Black Cat" would reach #1 in '90, and the finally "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" would get to the top in mid-January of '91. In total, Rhythm Nation would earn Jackson six Grammy nominations. The associated video album would win the Grammy for Best Music Video, Long Form."Rhythm Nation" would win an MTV Music Video Award for Best Choreography while "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" win Jackson one for Best Female Video. As of this posting date, the Rhythm Nation album has been certified 6x platinum. Her '93 follow up janet. would reach that same mark making both her biggest sellers in the US. On a worldwide scale, janet. would be her best seller at 14 million copies followed by Rhythm Nation with 12 million. Jackson would be induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2019.


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