Janet Jackson's most iconic album: 'Control' or 'Rhythm Nation 1814'? | The Tylt
Janet Jackson's most iconic album: 'Control' or 'Rhythm Nation 1814'?
Janet's first two albums were commercial failures to say the least. Then she decided to take control of her career, dumped her father as her manager, teamed up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and began to make a name for herself. "Control" is about Janet declaring her independence. And it worked!
The album was her first breakthrough success and eventually topped the Billboard 200. And she garnered several huge hits—making her one of the few crossover R&B-pop Black female artists at the time. "What Have You Done For Me Lately," "Nasty," "When I Think of You," "Control" and "Let's Wait Awhile" peaked within the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. "The Pleasure Principle" peaked within the top 20.
"Control" not only paved the way for "The Velvet Rope," "All For You," and "Janet," but "Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814" wouldn't exist without it. "Control" didn't simply set the foundation for Janet to become a pop superstar, the album created both a pop icon and a legend.
Janet took a risk and decided to make music about the world's social problems over infectious pop beats, with smooth vocals.
The album was released in 1989 and became her second album to top the Billboard 200. She scored four #1 pop hits in three different calendar years: "Miss You Much" in 1989, "Escapade" and "Black Cat" in 1990, and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" in 1991. All seven singles peaked within the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, including "Rhythm Nation" (peaked at #2), "Alright" (peaked at #4) and "Come Back To Me" (peaked #2).
Not only all of that, but she put visually-compelling music videos in heavy rotation on MTV. And in 1990, she had the highest-grossing tour by a debut artist.
So, it was no surprise that Janet was named the biggest artist of 1990. "Rhythm Nation" proved she wasn't a one-hit wonder and put her on the same level as other pop icons—Whitney Houston, Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson. And she managed to do it by creating a conceptual album about social ills.