Sunday Night Dance Party: Janet Jackson – “The Velvet Rope”

This week’s Sunday Night Dance Party album is Janet Jackson‘s The Velvet Rope.

Released in 1997, Jackson’s fourth studio album The Velvet Rope was a critical breakthrough in her music career. It had been four years since her last album Janet, and after spending two years touring, Jackson found herself in the midst of a contract bidding war and a heavy bout of depression. The resulting album, The Velvet Rope, was heralded as one of her most personal and emotional albums to date, revealing lyrics drenched in pain, suffering, and anger. Tracks like “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”, “I Get Lonely”, “You”, and “What About” awakened listeners to the tortured private life of the young singer. Yet with the darkness came signs of hope in tracks like “Together Again”, an anthem for those who had suffered and/or lost loved ones to AIDS and the soft and sweet album closer “Special”. This album revealed a much more grown-up and more raw Janet Jackson, one with scars, flaws, and concerns, and was also one of her most exploratory albums. Teaming up again with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, this album employed a range of styles and sounds including R&B, rock, and electronic. The single version of “I Get Lonely” featured then-popular R&B group BLACKstreet, and the lead single “Got ’til It’s Gone” featured rapper Q-Tip and samples from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi“.

My Faves: “Go Deep”, “Free Xone”,”My Need”, “I Get Lonely”, “You”, “Empty”

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