A Design of Two Decades

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Janet Jackson in white

I have another confession to make, my people.I love Janet Jackson.

Yes, I’m not a fairweather fan. To the contrary, I’d even go so far as to say Janet was my first dream girl / girlfriend, even if she’s a decade or so my senior. Her songs always rocked my eardrum during the early years, when my only access to the outside world was MTV and Z100. I couldn’t even own any of her CDs or tapes until I went and got a little bit of money. By then, the first Janet album I ever got (and bought 2 copies of eventually) was Design of a Decade, the greatest greatest-hits album I’ve ever heard. I even had this to say a few years ago on the elder blog:

Songs like “Control” and “Pleasure Principle” make you feel independent, while songs like “Miss You Much” and “Let’s Wait a While” showcase the trials and tribulations of love and its derivatives. It goes from celebratory (“Alright“) to emotional (“Come Back To Me“), from chill (“That’s the Way Love Goes“) to freaky (“Twenty Foreplay“), from angry (“Black Cat” and “Rhythm Nation“) to cute (“When I Think Of You“) all in one album. It’s so sick.

I own every album after that, too, and also got two copies of janet., the best album she’s had to date, with all due respect to The Velvet Rope. I honestly couldn’t help but be enamored by her sweet sensuality, her energy, and her work ethic. Even if she didn’t have the strongest voice, she was going to kick everyone’s butt on stage and on a track. She also grew musically, becoming more mature in content and music, delving into her personal life, and still wearing sexy like no one else can. Despite anyone’s opinions about the plastic surgeries or the marriage issues she had, no one could ever deny that overall, she’s a beautiful lady, and she carries herself gracefully …

… Even in strife. Even as people questioned whether she’d ever get out of her brother Michael Jackson’s shadow (the song and video for “Scream” proved the affirmative). Despite a stellar single in “I Want You”  (produced by Kanye), Damita Jo didn’t do very well due to Boobgate (I’m only 70% over that incident), and 20 Y.O. fell through the cracks, even as her most observant and worshipping fans have become superstars themselves (here’s looking at you, Ciara, Britney, Usher, Chris Brown, etc.). Even with that crazy upbringing that produced Michael, she still managed to come out looking like the normal one.

So what’s a Janet fan to do when he’s waiting for that comeback? CD after CD, he buys, dedicated fully to the artist that provided the soundtrack for so many critical moments in his life through her personal experiences, and while he’s pleased with the product, everyone else calls it a failure. I’m not sure, but I’ll buy that new Janet, not for the new production / direction she’s taken with her music, or the awesome album cover for Discipline. Even naysayers have hope in the effort.

A toast to you, miss. Love would never do without you …

jose, who has no regrets about what he posts on here …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

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  1. Pingback: The Jose Vilson — Because of Love

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