Today marks the 16th anniversary of the release of Janet's most critically-praised album--the introspective, dark "The Velvet Rope". Widely considered her masterpiece, topics covered on the album ranged from sexual bondage, domestic violence, bisexuality and homophobia to the examination of self-worth, depression and the celebration of loved ones who've passed away. Janet stated that she was exploring the need she feels we all have to feel special--that we belong--and likening it to the velvet ropes that seperate the "VIPs" at a club from everyone else.
The album came after a renegotiation of her Virgin Records contract (after a bidding war that included everyone from Walt Disney Co. to Polygram Records)--resulting in an historic $80 million deal, making her, for the second time in five years, the highest-paid recording artist in history. "The Velvet Rope" is listed on several All-Time Greatest Albums lists, including Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album was banned in Singapore for its lyrical content depicting homosexuality--the first of Janet's albums to be banned there. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, charted in the top 5 of many other countries, was Janet's fourth consecutive #1 album in the US, and went on to triple-platinum status in the US, with total worldwide sales of over 10 million copies.
"If Janet Jackson made much ado of janet being the Let's Get It On to Rhythm Nation's What's Going On, then 1997's The Velvet Rope is clearly her I Want You, respectively Jackson's and Gaye's best and least-heralded albums...The Velvet Rope is a richly dark masterwork that illustrates that, amid the whips and chains, there is nothing sexier than emotional nakedness."--SLANT magazine--****1/2
Rolling Stone magazine--***1/2
"'The Velvet Rope' picks up where 'janet.' left off, in both its themes and its textures; this new collection of songs and "interludes" addresses the social, emotional and sexual politics of relationships, peppering the wistful, spirited pop melodies and sinuous R&B rhythms that are fundamental elements of the Jackson-Jam-Lewis sound with compelling jazz, folk and techno nuances."--Los Angeles Times
"In the end, the most daring thing about The Velvet Rope isn't its sex talk but its honesty. Tempting as it may be to compare the album to similarly sultry stuff like Madonna's Erotica, it's much closer in spirit to the unabashed emotionalism of Joni Mitchell's Blue. That's because the most revealing moments here have to do with loneliness and vulnerability, not sexual preference."--Entertainment Weekly
"...her most daring, elaborate and accomplished album"--New York Times
"Jackson shows once again that she can compete against any of the lightweight, mega-selling pop divas and hang them out to dry".--Craig S. Semon of Telegram & Gazette
She wasn't the youngest to have a #1 after Stevie, and she isn't even 3rd now.
I like Janet but honestly I didn't love this album. I liked her 80s and early 90s stuff better. Even her 2000s stuff...for me The Velvet Rope just wasn't IT.
[quote]She wasn't the youngest to have a #1 after Stevie
At the time of the release of her first #1, 1986's "When I Think of You", Janet was 20 years old, making her the youngest artist since Stevie Wonder to top the Billboard Hot 100. Fact.
Haaay Janbot, with your fine ass! I missed you boo :)
I find that only Janet's hardcore stans really appreciate this album. I just not my tea either, compared to her others.
I always thought 'Go Deep' was a brilliantly crafted song that was ahead of its time. So smooth and slick that only Janet could pull it off. Its pretty overlooked in her body of singles.
I like this remix of it the best.
I've already dipped in there and set them straight, R8!
[quote]Oh janet has been irrelevant for 16 years?
No, darlin'. After TVR, Janet would go on to have her biggest first-week sales and the longest-running #1 song of 2001 with the ALL FOR YOU album and single, do more world tours, make more films, win more awards (Grammys, Billboard Awards, NAACP Image Awards, etc.), pen a bestselling book and put her stamp on every young pop artist that would soon come. And you were saying?
My favorite song on the album is "Every Time". I love Janet but the rest of this album didn't do much for me.
I love the "Tubular Bells"-sampling title track
she moved to India so that she can wear a burqa and hide all that hideous plastic surgery she's had done. can't we please just let her rot in peace?
I wish she had released the title track. Certainly a better single than "I Get Lonely."
Of all her albums, this one holds up best.
This may not have done the overall units-moved business that Rhythm Nation or Janet did, but I *****love***** this record. This was fine art.
And thank you, Janbot, for representing fine art!
Loved the Joni Mitchell sample.
Loved Free Xone.
Love, love, love this record.
Oh, to live off of past glories.
[quote] Oh, to live off of past glories.
We can't all revel in being a busboy at the Bravo Italian Cucina and living in our mother's basement.....
Wow, R17, that's not what Janet is doing now, is she?
I heard Randy had fallen on hard times, however.
"The Velvet Rope" was her masterpiece. She finally received a lot of respect from critics. She was never able to top that album. The crap that came out after it in the 2000s is shocking. She sold out like Madonna who released "Ray of Light" around the same time as "The Velvet Rope." Janet had finally grown up.
"My Need" and "Anything" not to mention her cover of "Tonight's the Night"... sigh. I miss THIS Janet. It's what she should be doing now. It was a risky album that paid off. The photography and music videos were stellar too. After the late 90s, all these pop acts that had just put out their best, most popular work, took a detour to bubblegum pop.
"janet." was the most successful album of her career. She sold shitloads.
Does she have a new nose now?
You guys better watch it. When Janbot comes on today and sees all this mess y'all are posting, his sexy ass is going to SLAY each and every one of you with the truth.
[quote]"janet." was the most successful album of her career.
Yeah, but it sounds very dated. VR is timeless.
This was a remarkable album in every way. The underrated "Empty" touched on electronica and internet relationships before either were a major thing. Even Rihanna during her red-haired "Loud" era copied Janet's Velvet Rope era look and style.
[quote]The photography and music videos were stellar too.
They would have to be, since the vocals were so medicore. One needs something to take ones mind off the weak singing and lack of range.
Janbot, I ff'd R21 for you!
R27 had been ff'd too
But I am only giving my opinion like everyone else here...I don't understand the hatred.
Keep your opinions to yourself, R30. This is my thread, and your negativity is not wanted or needed. Thank you.
Don't be so harsh on your mother, R21.
[quote]Wow, [R17], that's not what Janet is doing now, is she?
You know just as well as I do that Janet is a jet-setting billionairess who is in the process of making a new album.
The video for I GET LONELY was iconic. It inspired so many future performances by pop/R&B divas. The video for Faith Evans' ALL NIGHT LONG was a veritable scene-for-scene rip-off of IGL, down to Faith's flowing red tresses and cleavage...
Jsnbot rocks. Please don't ever stop your JJ stannery! Did you get any action this weekend?
Not this weekend, R47 (I stayed in all weekend and watched movies), but I plan on it next weekend!
The concept of the I Get Lonely video perfectly fit the message of the song. Janet described it as herself traveling to a better place in life. I thought that was so poignant at the time, and it still translates so well through the video. All we have now is people like Rihanna twerking for singles.
It seems like Janet spent a lot of her life trying to find happiness, but not really being able to fully experience it like a normal person as hard as she tried to. Michael as well. That's really what connects her to her fans, especially the gay fans.
Janbot, what did you watch?
Janbot what sort of movies? You must have watched them a with date or a best girlfriend?
What do you think of the criticism of Janet's singing in the "worst voices" thread? She got listed a lot in there.
R51 - Janbot has already responded to those criticisms AT LENGTH. I'll sum them up: Janet can go from rock n roll vocals ("Black Cat"), to sexy r&b ("Love Won't Do Without You"), to sleek r&b ("I get so lonely), to mournful ballads ("Again"), and to futuristic pop ("Scream"). Janbot believes, with these examples that Janbot is one of the best, if not THE best, pop vocal artists.
Not a hardcore fan of Janet's, sorry Janbot, but most of her music didn't do it for me. However, Janet's "borrowing" of Big Yellow Taxi on Velvet Rope was absolutely spectacular. I still listen to it, all these years later.
Janet Jackson was always the class act of that godforsaken family. Sadly it's been clear, from so many things in her life, that she did not escape their fuckery unscathed. I blame her parents - both of them - just as I blame them for Michael and the rest of the Jackson clan being such appalling people.
I hated to see Janet selling herself to this billionaire asshole. It's the sort of thing that should have been beneath her. Still, I hope she gets what she needs and then gets the hell out of it.
Just my opinions, Janbot, love you - don't get it twisted.
R52, I just think she's more versatile and better than she gets credit for. Take the underrated ballad "Where Are You Now" from the 'janet.' album. It's an honest, emotional vocal with feeling--no autotune needed.
Janbot didn't you almost die laughing about 20 years ago when Janet implied that Vadge is not classy? Janet's quote was something like "I keep my music classy" after the interviewer asked her about Vadge.
I love me some Janet - and some Janbot!
And I've had some chats on here where we exchanged our opinions. I happen to love early Janet, loved "Make Me" (more recent) but was disappointed at a few early 2000's works (the remake of the Carly Simon song was dreadful). The well was running a bit dry there for a while.
I've also suggested to Janbot that I would love a Janet record where she went slightly more jazz, or perhaps in the Erykah Badu-ish direction or a Corinne Bailey Rae sort of sound. I'd like to hear her vocals outside of the disco dolly dance tracks.
Janet may not have a belter's voice but when all the noise is out of the way, her voice conveys a lot of feeling.
How about "Diamonds"?
Thanks R58! I think she sort of went that route with TVR, but from what I've read she may be revisiting that genre with the new record. She's also into Brazillian Jazz, so I'm thinking she'll explore that as well.
R57, I totally LOLd at that (the interview is somewhere on Youtube). That's what I loved about her during the 'janet.' era--she wasn't afraid to tell it like it was, even if it was about her family (she came for LaToya in a few interviews back then, too).
[youtube]How about "Diamonds"?
Are we too look for another ridiculous post like this for her "17th birthday"? Why not do it every 6 months, Janbot? You are a consummate asshole!
LOL, R63. Because of your blatant dickheadish douchebaggery, I will not only do an annual Velvet Rope anniversary thread, but I will also do one for every Janet Jackson album on the date of their anniversary (DREAM STREET's is coming up on the 23rd...)
I knew a girl who dissed Janbot once.
And then she died.
R64---BRING ON THE RAGING MENTAL ILLNESS, BABY!
TrollDar R1 and board lights up like Times Square!
R66/R67 is the idiot over in the Gig Young thread who interjected himself into the conversation with a "tidbit" that had already been discussed about two times upthread. Illiterate loser.
UH-OH! JANBOT is going to start chewing on her tampon now!
Go Janbot! fuck the haters.
[quote]Go Janbot! fuck the haters.
It is my joy to fuck with their miserable heads.
No one is fucking with Janbot.
Anyone who posts a Happy Birthday to a 16 year old album is fucked enough.
They're All Laughing At You!
[quote]Anyone who posts a Happy Birthday to a 16 year old album is fucked enough.
And anyone who keeps coming back into a thread about said 16-year-old album to make a general ass of himself is the epitome of desperate. Is it our fault that you have no friends, family or life? We pity you.
But you're still an illiterate loser.
Oh, another "LOL" from the early 90s. How quaint. It certainly fits in with high pitched, limpy, wizened thing you've presented to us.
EVERYONE: The thing at R74 is a MANdonna stan, over in the Madonna's Fey Son Dial's With A Pencil thread. She's insulting anyone who makes a negative comment about that old sea hag, and playing it off like she's not various unhinged people responding to various insults. To say she's cray-cray is putting it mildly.
Please, give us more LOLs!
R74 Please die in a grease fire.
Keep the faith R63. Everytime Janbot and her minions do an anniversary thread, we'll be there too. We're strong and resilient - unlike Janet's voice.
You and I see eye to eye, R77. Love it!
As for you, R78, please do what R77 suggested that other nutcase do. Immediately.
To me, this is the last great Janet Jackson album back when her album releases were major events. However, it's not one of my favorite Janet albums.
After Velvet Rope, it seemed like Janet started getting desperate to compete w/ the younger pop tarts (i.e. Brit & Chris) & was constantly selling her sexuality instead of making good music like she made throughout the 80s & 90s.
The superbowl fiasco was the final nail in the coffin and as we all know, her music career never recovered. Of course, it doesn't help that she no longer collaborates with her dream team anymore (Jam & Lewis and Tina Landon). I really miss old school Janet :-(
I actually love All For You, R82. Janet had been expressing herself sexually on wax from as far back as Control ("Funny How Time Flies..." is still one of her sexiest songs).
The SuperBowl cooled her music career, but it wasn't a nail in the coffin situation. She still put out records and toured. Ironically, AFU gave her her biggest first-week album sales ever. I chalk up her sexy, youthful exhuberance on that album to her being a newly single, newly svelte woman at the time.
Janbot, you've probably opined on this before but I didn't see it - what is your view of Justin Timberlake?
Do you accept his apology for leaving Janet twisting in the wind on her own, post-Super Bowl fiasco? Actually, I'm not sure it was an actual apology or if just said that he wishes he'd "been there for her more" or some shit.
Anyway, as Janet's chosen representative here on Earth, or at least on Datalounge, what say you re Timberlake?
My loss of enthusiasm for Janet's work circa early 2000s didn't have anything to do with the Super Bowl fiasco.
It just felt like that particular well had been gone to one too many times. It happens.
I would love to see her do something that's still electronic based but more electronica. More Zero 7ish, or have Mark Ronson produce her and update her sound.
I agree R83 that there was always an underlying sexuality in her music, but it was always classy and tasteful. Beginning in the 2000s though, her sexuality seemed really desperate and forced to me - like she was trying really hard to keep the public's attention and stay on top in a changing music industry.
R86, you're right. The sex did get more heavy handed, if you will, as the albums progressed. I think it was her inner freak just bursting forth!
R84, I think he was a cooze when it happened. He apologized, and years later he said that he really didn't like the way he handled everything back then. He also said something about how women and minorities are always treated unfairly, etc., etc. I was never a big fan of his to begin with, but the SB thing cooled me completely (although I do hate to admit that, with the right lighting and angles, he can be hot.)
Her new CD will likely harken back to a Velvet Rope-ish vibe.
[quote]as Janet's chosen representative here on Earth
This made made me laugh!
I loved "Feedback" and think it should have been at least top 5 on the hot 100. It was a hot track.
Janbot I can't believe you think TimberFake is hot. Can't stand that slimeball.
I only think he's hot because he's got a nice ass, R88. Other than that, I think he's pompous scum.
FEEDBACK did get slighted, for sure. MTV had come around by that time, but radio still had a bug up its butt about the SB. It did get more airplay than ALL NITE (DON'T STOP) got (which, IMHO, is an even hotter track than FEEDBACK), but still not as much as a new Janet track should.
The Feedback video was weird...a space theme and then you saw dust in the frame. It was all very deliberate but way too above the "lowest common denominator" who watch videos like that.
I do like that song, though.
Opinions varied upon what the white stuff was. People whose minds lean more towards the dirty said she was dancing in cum, while others thought they were boogying in a giant bowl of milk and ceral. I did like the cool, interplanetary parkour in the first half of the video, though. And her solo dance in the red catsuit at the end with those orbs of light was the business.
I really enjoyed Janet's first Oprah interview for TVR. Janet was very candid with all of Oprah's questions and talked about her legendary coffee enemas! lol
This was around the time when Michael really was tabloid fodder because he was having white children. Janet pretty much cut him out of her life for a couple of years, and shut Oprah down when she kept asking questions about him.
I liked that interview too. I believe that was the first big interview she ever did on network TV. At the end of the show, Janet got her dancer Shawnette to recite one of Oprah's famous lines from "The Color Purple".
[quote] would love to see her do something that's still electronic based
She does. It's called Autotune, dearie.
[quote]I would love to see her do something that's still electronic based
"Empty" from The Velvet Rope is an awesome track with electronica overtones. It's one that I keep on repeat whenever I have TVR on.