Community·Posted on Jul 12, 2020I Think Now Is The Best Time To Rank All 11 Janet Jackson Albums, So I Took It Upon Myself"We are a part of the rhythm nation."by connerleonCommunity ContributorApproved and edited by BuzzFeed Community TeamFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink 11. Janet Jackson (1982) A and M Coming in at last place is Janet's debut album, Janet Jackson. This album is pure bubble gum pop with not much substance or lyrical meaning behind it. The production didn't age too great either. All around this was a cute album, but it feels like it could be written for any teenage pop star. It's missing that iconic Janet flare to it. Luckily, Janet has evolved by leaps and bounds since her 1982 debut.Favorite songs: "Young Love" and "Say You Do" 10. Dream Street (1984) A and M Janet's sophomore album was the same as her debut album, with not much substance or lyrical meaning behind it, leaving it as an '80s relic. However, there was some growth between this album and her first, most notably its production having more flare to it and giving the album a more unique sound. But this album didn't bring anything new to the table in terms of musical or cultural relevance.Favorite songs: "Don't Stand Another Chance" and "Dream Street" 9. 20 Y.O. (2006) Virgin 20 Y.O. was named after her 20th anniversary of Janet's landmark album, Control. She wanted to honor it with her 9th studio album. Sadly, this album fell short of what it was trying to be (a fun, carefree album without any deep meaning) and managed to be a lost meandering record stuck between dance and hip-hop. She couldn't really find her footing as she did with her other albums, and the songs on the album feel rushed and overproduced. All in all, this album felt as it was missing a key element of Janet and lacked her flare and guidance seen on her previous albums.Favorite songs: "Take Care," "Enjoy," and "With U" 8. Discipline (2008) Island/ Def Jam I appreciate this album because you can tell Janet was trying to do something different and wanted to venture into a new area. Now, if she executed it well, that's a different question which is hard to answer. I feel like Janet noticed that the '90s/'00s R&B craze was ending and wanted to branch off into other genres before she turned into a relic of that era. She decided to venture into electronic/robotic music and created her most experimental album of her career. This album is full of harsh auto-tune and robotic noises paired alongside Janet's soft voice and industrial production. Some tracks were able to take off but others seemed to not even leave the terminal. Although I appreciate Janet taking on a new image and sound, this album failed to live up to its predecessors and is now mostly forgotten in Janet's discography.Favorite songs: "Discipline," "Rock with U," and "Can't B Good" 7. Unbreakable (2015) Rhythm Nation/ BMG Janet's latest studio album was her comeback from almost a decade hiatus, and she came back with her old school Janet sound. This album may not bring anything new to the table, but she utilizes her strengths from her older songs and uses them in this album. This album is clean, fun, and upbeat showing that Janet still has it. This is Janet's best album in over a decade, and you can tell she didn't take herself too seriously on this album and had a fun time making it. I have no complaints on this album other than that it's pretty much one note. But that one note is a great one and Janet realizes that. Nothing too special, but this is far from a bad album.Favorite songs: "Unbreakable," "The Greatest Forever," and "After You Fall" 6. Control (1986) A and M Please don't kill me, I know this is a fan favorite, but let me give my case why it isn't in the top 5. This album is great and features some of Janet's best songs that are a staple in her discography, and I'm not discrediting that. What I am saying is that this is a very short and simple album which lacks a lot of substance found in Janet's best albums. Other than about 5 songs, the rest of the album is full of fillers, but those 5 main songs pack a punch. After both her debut and sophomore albums flopped and got negative reviews, Janet reinvented herself and her sound and took control of her music. The production popularized the genre New Jack Swing, and really created a distinct sound and name for Janet. This album is a key staple in her discography.My favorite songs: "Pleasure Principle," "When I Think of You," and "Nasty" 5. All for You (2001) Virgin This is Janet's first album of the 21st century and she did it in a great way. Coming off her darker and more serious 1997 album, The Velvet Rope, this album is full of fun dance songs mixed with funky R&B jams. This album is one of Janet's most light hearted and breezy records with happiness and positivity spread throughout. There are some points where the electronic dance production can be too much and too overwhelming, but for the most part, it's just the right amount. And of course, Janet brings her sensual side to this album with her slow R&B songs, but I would say it's not as blatant as it is in her other records. All around, this is a solid album.Favorite songs: "All for You," "Would You Mind," and "Love Scene" 4. Damita Jo (2004) Virgin I love this album. This is easily Janet's best album of the second half of her career, and she fully embraces her sexual side with this record. This album's name, Damita Jo, references her alter ego which is sexual and outgoing, unlike Janet who's more shy and introverted. This album is full of sexual innuendos and has a great R&B production with some of Janet's most fun songs on this album. It's a slower album than her previous entries, but it's worth it because the songs on this album just put you in a good mood. If I were to compare this album to another, I'd compare it to Madonna's Erotica, but a more modern, slower pace. There are really no lows on this album, only highs.Favorite songs: "I Want You," "Island Life," and "Truly" 3. Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989) A and M This is one of Janet's darkest and most serious albums, but the messages and lyrics she's pushing are very important and were very controversial for the time. This album tackled issues such as racism, poverty, and substance abuse in a very blatant manner. Sonically speaking, this album is harsh and industrial and also uses the New Jack Swing seen in her previous album, Control. The songs are mostly upbeat and straightforward and are heavy on the harsh instrumentals. But there are some softer moments found throughout the album which are an ease to listen to and are also some of Janet's biggest hits. This album inspired a generation of musicians, activists, and actors, and should not be looked over. The production can sound dated at times, but the message is so strong it doesn't matter.Favorite songs: "Escapade," "Black Cat," and "Come Back to Me" 2. Janet. (1993) Virgin This was the album that really made her distinct from the rest of the Jacksons. She made that clear in the title Janet., adding the period because she was her own and didn't want to be known as Michael Jackson's little sister, just Janet. It's very profound and she does this by being her own artist without any previous labels holding her back. She created some of the most provocative songs and music videos of the time, while incorporating her own R&B sound and voice, where she couldn't be compared to anybody else. This was a departure from her earlier work, but this really created her into the R&B powerhouse that we know today. And she wouldn't be Janet without this piece of work. 1. The Velvet Rope (1997) Virgin This is it. This is Janet's magnum opus. Janet tackles so many issues in this album it is unreal. She talks about domestic violence, BDSM, homosexuality, mental health, and death all in one album. Each song has its own distinction and biome that has a unique production and vocal style. She tackles so many taboos in this album that it's easy to understand why it got so much pushback, but in the end it showed Janet off to be the legend she is. Janet is able to weave songs together through the interludes and connect them all to the bigger theme which is "The Velvet Rope," the barrier in our mind which we are able to see over but can't quite manage to get over. This album will go down in history and should be studied in school. No other album can compare to how amazing this one is.Favorite songs: "Together Again," "I Get Lonely," "Empty," "Velvet Rope," and "Got 'Til It's Gone"