Janet released her self-titled album "Janet" in 1993 to rave reviews and commercial success. The conceptual album details love, sex, and relationships. The album itself served as Janet's sexual awakening. It marked a dramatic departure from her "Control"-era days of preaching abstinence, like on "Let's Wait Awhile." The album is often stylized as "janet.," the period signaling to the world that Janet was her own woman and artist. She previously declared her independence on "Control." Her fifth self-titled LP still proclaims Janet as a proud Jackson, but now riding off the merit of her own success and not her brother Michael's fame.
It's also the era Janet became a bonafide sex symbol and, with her subsequent "Janet World Tour," a world icon. During most of her live shows, Janet would often show off her rock-hard abs, a staple amid in her performing career.
The album features #1 pop hits "That's the Way Love Goes" and "Again," the latter nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. "Again" is also featured on the soundtrack for "Poetic Justice." The album also features other top 10 pop hits: "If," "Because of Love," "Any Time, Any Place" and "You Want This." "Janet" marks not only a sexual breakthrough for Janet as a woman, but is highly regarded for its experimental and successful intersection of multiple musical genres into one '90s pop tour de force—including R&B, soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, classical, grunge, and even old-school Motown on "Whoops Now."
While Madonna may have beat Janet to the expressive female sexuality punch by seven months, "Janet" is still just as revolutionary of an album as "Erotica." Donna Summer paved the way for black women to explicitly express their sexuality in the '70s, but Miss Jackson took sexual expression to the next level in the '90s with bops like "Throb" as well as "If."
Below are some notable lyrics to "If," per Genius, to show what we mean.
🎶Allow me some time to play with your mind. And you'll get there again and again. Close your eyes and imagine my body undressed. Take your time cause we've got all night, ooh. You on the rise as you're touchin' my thighs. And let me know what you like, if you like I'll go. Down, down, down, down, da, down, down. I'll hold you in my hand and maybe...🎶
🎶Your smooth and shiny feels so good against my lips, sugar. I want you so bad I can taste your love right now, baby. Day and night, night and day. All I've got to say is.🎶
🎶If I was your girl, oh, the things I'd do to you. I'd make you call out my name, I'd ask who it belongs to. If I was your woman, the things I'd do to you. But I'm not, so I can't, then I won't, but if I was your girl.🎶
In celebration of the album's 25th anniversary, Billboard ranked the songs from the album.
The album—released 25 years ago on May 18, 1993—went on to become her biggest-selling LP, notching six top 10 singles (including two No. 1s) on the Billboard Hot 100. It also represented a turning point in her music career, setting the sultry template for much of her future work. In celebration of this classic’s silver anniversary, we rank every single song—minus those interludes.
Watch Janet's iconic performance of "That's the Way Love Goes/If" at the 1993 Video Music Awards below.