Ranking Janet Jackson’s top forty hits

The death of John Singleton has rejiggered what I think of Janet Jackson’s early nineties achievement: singing and writing about erotic submission and action with the detachment of an observer who’s lived a little. Her sweet, small croon suits the material; it’s amazing how rarely Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ beats smother her. Also amazing: the range of her singles, which didn’t stop. As I’ve aged the galvanized steel of Control gets me like Rhythm Nation 1814 doesn’t; as I age, maybe “Again” will cease being a boring open-mouthed kiss.

The Hague

Again

Meh

Miss You Much
Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (with Carly Simon featuring Missy Elliott)
Someone to Call My Lover
Call on Me (with Nelly)

Sound, Solid Entertainments

Alright
All For You
Because of Love
Rhythm Nation
The Best Things in Life Are Free (with Luther Vandross, Bell Biv DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant)
Runaway
Let’s Wait Awhile
Doesn’t Really Matter
Feedback
Black Cat
You Want This
Come Back to Me
Scream (with Michael Jackson)

Good to Great

Control
The Pleasure Principle
Escapade
If
What Have You Done For Me Lately
That’s the Way Love Goes
Diamonds (with Herb Alpert)
Together Again
When I Think of You
Any Time, Any Place
Love Will Never Do (Without You)
Nasty
I Get Lonely (Remix) (featuring Blackstreet)

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