Permanent Records: Janet Jackson’s Janet proved authenticity can hold its own against artistry

Permanent Records is an ongoing closer look at the records that matter most.

Consider the era in which Janet Jackson’s seminal and sexy album Janet was released: In 1993 the No. 1 song in the country was Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and the No. 2 song was Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is).” This pairing perfectly represents the dichotomous soundscape of early ’90s R&B. At one end there is saccharine balladry, at the other bawdy boasting. And right on their tail at No. 3 is Jackson with her mellow testament to intimacy, “That’s The Way Love Goes.” Looking beyond the top three songs, the pattern persists with Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” and Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rumpshaker” rounding out the top 10. All of this chart-recapping is to make the case that Janet Jackson’s Janet was a game-changing album when it was released. It …

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