Janet Jackson is in Control
Having two previous flop albums, Janet Jackson established her career in her own right with Control. After her brother’s massive success with Thriller, it was a running joke that Janet was no longer Michael’s little sister, but rather that Michael was Janet’s big brother.
Born in a musical family with expectations of maintaining a musical career, not to mention, having a father who made all the business and career decisions, Janet had little identity of her own. She had almost no say in her past albums, she was getting out of a bad marriage and was also about to start living on her own, away from her family. This album was her story and a statement about being an independent woman and making it on her own.
And she does make it, working with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. They co-wrote and flipped her image of the clichéd young, pop singer to a sharp-tongued, feisty woman. “We tried to make the hardest, funkiest black album,” said Jam. “…almost a male singer’s album. The edginess that’s evident in the music on Control is her; that’s our interpretation of Janet.” They also contributed to a speedy beat to R&B and their unique pop vision was promising enough that Janet continued to work with the duo.
Nearly every track on the album received some airplay and majority of them reached straight into the Top 10. The album also shed light on her dance skills as she made six music videos out of nine tracks. Jam also declares that “the album opened radio to funk. Before Control it wasn’t acceptable to have hard-edged black music on pop radio.”
Here’s one of Janet’s sigature songs off of the album with the signature line: “My first name ain’t baby, it’s Janet — Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.”