Some artists have such an impressive body of work that it can be hard to narrow down their best. However, there are just some songs that stand the test of time, perfectly represent the artist, and truly inspire artists for years to come. We’ve already narrowed down the 10 best songs from The Beatles, now it’s time for Janet Jackson.
The singer and dancer signed the first contract to reach about $80 million, which made her paid more than Michael Jackson and Madonna in 1996, according to the Los Angeles Times. She also happens to be one of two solo artists to have multiple Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits in three decades. So which of her many hit songs are the best on her resume? Here are Janet Jackson’s 10 greatest songs of all time.
The singer dabbled in acting and was infamously in the film Poetic Justice with Tupac Shakur. She, of course, recorded music for the movie. Although some may love “Got ’til It’s Gone” which heavily uses a sample from Joni Mitchell, we believe this hit tops it. “Got ’til It’s Gone” is a big change from Janet Jackson’s dance and R&B discography. It also doesn’t let her shine as much.
Nope, we would rather have “Again” make the list, which was also recorded for the movie. It tells the story of meeting up with an ex. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Going by critical acclaim alone, this probably could be seen as one of her most successful songs, however she has a long list of others that are much more popular among fans.
The dance hit is definitely one of the pop icon’s most memorable hits. Her lyric “My first name ain’t baby, it’s Janet — Miss Jackson if you’re nasty” turned into somewhat of a catchphrase for her. It definitely is provocative, just like many other songs she released. It was later covered by pop star, Britney Spears who was following her lead years later.
This hit is definitely different from her others since it has more of a rock feel. It also really shows the similarities between her voice and her brother Michael’s. The sensual music video was recognized as the Best Female Video and Best Dance Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.
7. “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”
The 1990 dance hit was actually being shopped around to male singers including Prince. But it ended up going to Janet Jackson for her album, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. The video for this track is much more laid back compared to her more choreographed videos. However, she still looks stunning in a simple outfit, shot in black and white.
Yet another hit from Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 makes the list. The music video shows the singer in the middle of a Mardi Gras parade. It won a Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) pop award for Most Played Song. It also made its way into her Japanese commercials for Japan Airlines.
5. “All for You”
The lead single for the All for You album was actually a change of pace from the darker tone of The Velvet Rope. The flirty song was used for The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. The 2001 song showed that the singer still had it by staying at the top of Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. That was the longest reigning song that year.
4. “What Have You Done For Me Lately”
A lot of the icon’s songs are upbeat and about love, but this hit shows she can still get you to dance while singing about love troubles. The sassy song comes from Janet’s Control album. It was able to reach number four on the Billboard Hot 100. She then performed it at the 1987 Grammy Awards. It was nominated for the Best R&B Song but lost.
3. “When I Think of You”
The lovesick dance song is another one of her hits that made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This made her and Michael the first and only siblings to top the list. She was also the youngest artist since Stevie Wonder at 20-years-old to make it to the top. The song definitely showed that Janet had a long and impressive career ahead of her.
2. “That’s the Way Love Goes”
This funky song stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a whopping eight weeks. It also won a Grammy award for Best R&B Song. The music video features Janet talking to friends who are trying to get her to play her new single. One of those friends is Jennifer Lopez before she was famous.
1. “Rhythm Nation”
The dance song also happens to be socially conscious. “We felt like we had … not a responsibility to say something,” producer Jimmy Jam told Billboard, “but growing up in the ’60s, whether it was the Vietnam War or whatever, it seemed like there was always someone commenting on it. And that was a good thing. Why not use the powers we have as songwriters to bring some of those messages across? Rap music was doing it in a very strong way.”
The video features men and women wearing military attire in a post-apocalyptic world. The video is definitely one of her most iconic. It won Best Choreography and Best Dance Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.
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