Janet Jackson is one of my favorite artists and it being 30 years since The “janet” album, I thought it would be fun to do a little ranking of all her albums. I listen to some more than others, but I’m pretty familiar with all of them. So let’s get into it as we sit and wait for “Black Diamonds” if she is even still calling it that. If and when it comes I’m sure it’ll be just as engaging and enjoyable as the rest of these are. I’m mad that I didn’t get to see her this year on tour, but that’s neither here nor there. This ranking is mine and mine only I’m not speaking for everyone else just fyi. And we start with…
11. Janet Jackson
This album does have some songs that I enjoy, but the production is dated on some of these tracks. I really liked Janet’s delivery on most of the album, and though it sounds like she’s excited throughout. I know she wasn’t at the time. I would describe the sound as more 70s than 80s, which is probably because of when it was released
Favorite Song: The Magic is Working
Dreamstreet has a sound that enjoy more than her previous record. I don’t care what anyone says I think the title track is one of her best songs! Most fans I believe prefer her last album to this one.This album came out around the time she was gaining fame for being on “Fame”. So I wonder why it didn’t do better on the charts. or maybe the audience felt that it wasn’t coming from her or that it felt inauthentic.
Favorite Song: Dreamstreet
20 Y.O. is a weird one for me, because I don’t like the album’s first half at all aside from “Show Me”. I don’t hate “Call on me” that’s a good song. But I adore the latter half so much. I just remember buying it for the first time and not vibin with it at all. Maybe it was because I liked her last album so much, which will get into. But this was just not what I was expecting from her. This album does have one of her best slow jams she’s ever recorded in my opinion, so it’s such a shame that I don’t really like it as much. Even though I have warmed up to it over the years.which is why it’s higher on my list. I just wish the track list was different. Songs like “Daybreak”, “Enjoy”, and “Take Care” should have come sooner.
Favorite Song: Take Care
Discipline is one of Janet’s most ambitious projects. I say that due to how it sounds, I love the cover, and it felt fresh for the time. There are standout tracks like “Can’t B Good”, “Rock with U”, “Curtains” and “So Much Betta”. Curtains by the way is the most “traditional” sounding Janet song on this album. I have to mention Feedback of course it’s one of her best. Now with all that being said there is something missing with this album for me I’m always left wanting more afterwards. It’s not her shortest album ( That’s Dreamstreet), but it feels fleeting at times. Still a fun listen though, just not my favorite.
Favorite Song: Rock With U
Control is Janet’s breakthrough album obviously. What I like most though about it is her confidence throughout. It feels like she’s comfortable here and has found her lane. Almost every song here was either a single, or still played on the radio during the quiet storm days. I often listen to control when I wanna feel nostalgic, for a time I wasn’t even in lol. It’s a fun record honestly, as well as a classic. Ultimately though she’s had better albums, that’s why it’s number 7.
Favorite Song: When I think Of You
6. All For You
I wasn’t sure at first where to place “All For You”. But I decided it’s probably best in the middle of the pack.This was the first album of hers I was excited for in real time. I remember it coming out the same week Survivor by Destiny’s Child came out. I couldn’t choose between them.,Eventually I got both.So I have some good memories with this one. It’s just that some of the songs had to grow on me. So I have to be in the mood to listen to it, all the way through. But there are some songs I love like “Truth”, Come on Get up, When we Oooh, and Someone to Call my Lover.
Favorite Song: Come On Get Up
So we are now in the top five and Unbreakable was Janet’s return after being gone for 8 years I think. So I was starving for new music from her. It exceeded my expectations for sure. I didn’t know what to expect when I first heard “No Sleep” for the first time. This album became one of my favorites for upon listening. Janet and Jimmy Jam and Terry, proved again that they can fit comfortably into any sound. They definitely explored that on this album. Songs like lessons learned, night,Take me Away, and Damnn Baby, sound like they can be on other Janet albums . Yet they sound fresh at the same time. This album showed that she could sing about more than just the sexy stuff that people started to criticize her about. She had to remind folks who she was and that she was multifaceted.
Favorite Song: Lessons Learned
4. Rhythm Nation
Rhythm nation is considered to be Janet‘s best album and I can agree nothing she’s done since has sounded like this album, her Jimmy jam and Terry put they’re all in this one from start to finish. You go on a journey and the message behind it is just as clear as the production. I joke that if I made an album, I would use the keyboard and drum machines they used. They were at their most innovative, while also exploring lyrical content. Janet never did that at this point, this was her game changing album more so than “Control”. It was the best selling album of that year. Her debut tour was the most successful debut tour at the time rhythm nation garnered seven Grammy nominations Including the groundbreaking producer of the year award nomination. This was also the start of Janet being the Interlude queen, one of my favorite concept albums of all time this album this also has my all-time favorite song by Janet song “Love Will Never do (Without You)” I can say more about this album, but that’ll take too long just simply a great album. And as great as this album is this is as far as I can put it. Nothing bad to say about it,it’s just a taste factor.
Favorite Song: Love Will Never Do (Without You).
3. The Velvet Rope
“The Velvet Rope” I have a soft spot for I was late with this album. When released, I wasn’t really feeling it what Janet was doing at the time She dyed her hair, Got till it’s Gone was a song I didn’t like, so I just didn’t want this CD at all. I thought Janet was so weird during this era. Obviously I was just too young to get it but now it’s become the album of hers that I listen to the most besides my last two picks . Emotionally,This album gives me all the feels. That’s something Rhythm Nation doesn’t do for me as much. And that fact alone edges this album out over that one. My best friend finally convinced me to listen to this like a year or two after it came out and I was blown away. I knew the singles, but the only one I liked at the time was “I Get Lonely”.Once I heard the full album, I got the picture. Songs like “Empty”, “What About”, “Free Xone”, and Anything are standouts. Later hearing Janet talk about the process of making the album and the place she was in personally also helped me see her vision. I relate more now, and it even helped me understand myself more. She was so explicit on this album more than on her last. She expressed herself more in general she was honest and vulnerable .I would say it’s her most personal record to date. Janet was also at her peak performance wise, every performance she gave during this era was fire. Not to mention the performance she gave us on the tour. I’m still in all of watching that concert.
Favorite Song: Empty
The janet album just like “All For You” I have a lot of memories associated with this album. Since this was owned by my mom and played all summer of 93. So being that it was the first Janet Album I got to hear in real time. It’s No wonder why I love it so much. This is one of Janets most palatable in the sense I feel everyone likes this album or could find something about it to like. There wasn’t a specific theme. It was Janet being Janet, shedding her skin and being more herself. For the first time she was showing a softer side of herself no one really seen before. The production felt chill and relaxed the times and thunderous and rousing at other times. the “janet”album was Janet wanting to be seen as an individual and not just a Jackson. “Funky Big Band”, “This Time”“Throb”, If, and The juggernaut hit “That’s The Way Love Goes” are some standouts. Hope we get to see this tour on DVD one day.
Favorite Song: The Body That Loves You
1. Damita Jo
Finally at number one we have Damita Jo this is my absolute favorite Janet album from start to finish. I know folks might be shocked by this, cause I don’t think this album is anybody’s favorite from her. Every song is a bop, such a shame this album came along during the Super Bowl incident. It was definitely affected by it, but that didn’t stop me, although at the time I had no idea about Just a Little While being the first single. The first song and video I saw was I Want You .Would that song be a bigger hit if not for the incident who knows, perhaps both would’ve been hits I mean, “Just a Little While” fared way better internationally, and “I Want You” was still certified platinum, despite her being blacklisted I remember watching her promote this album in spite of all the hurdles being thrown at her way and how she kept it classy doing interviews normal people were going to bug her to death about the Super Bowl with that being said this is the most fun Janet has had with an album in my opinion. She is so playful and lively here every Interlude connects to the thread of the album, and never feels out of place.We all know Janet is good for having long run times on her albums, but I love the journey you go on with this one. Even songs I didn’t like at first I like now such as “All Nite Don’t Stop” “Thinkin Bout My Ex” “R&B Junkie” I can see how Janet worked longer on this album to any other. I never thought I would love a Janet album so much that wasn’t an early one. This album, however has me in a chokehold, and I wish more people gave it its flowers so many songs on this album could be my favorite.
Favorite Song: Slolove
So there you have it that’s my ranking. If you have your own ranking of Janet albums let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading this!