Janet Jackson was born Janet Damita Jo Jackson on May 16, 1966. Fame was in her blood. She is the youngest member of the famous Jackson family. She started her career at a young age when she appeared on variety shows with her family. Unlike her brothers who we all knew as the Jackson Five, she started out as an actress before she became a singer. She appeared on Good Times, Different Strokes, and Fame. She signed a record deal in 1982. Jackson released her first self-titled CD in 1982. It was a minor r&b hit for the singer. She released her second CD Dreamstreet in 1984. The album had a little success on the r&b charts. She proved to the world that she could become a pop icon with her third release titled Control in 1986. She did what the title of the album said, and had control over her music.
Janet Jackson had six singles that appeared on the top 20 list. Jackson’s fourth album, Rhythm Nation 1814, was released in 1989. The album performed even better than the previous one. Jackson had seven top five singles from the album. She’s one of the only artists to achieve this goal. After the success of Rhythm Nation 1814, Jackson went back to the studio to record the Janet album in 1993. This was her best-selling CD to date. The singer had six top 10 singles from this album. Jackson also starred in her first movie during the time the CD was released. She starred in the movie Poetic Justice.
The triple threat took a break from recording studio albums and released a compilations CD called Design of a Decade: 1986 – 1996. This album would eventually go diamond on the charts by selling over 10 million copies worldwide. It produced the hit single, “Runaway.” Jackson dealt with personal demons before she released her sixth studio album. She released The Velvet Rope in 1997 and took the world by surprise when she changed up her style. The album contained one of her biggest singles, “Together Again.” In 2000, Jackson co-starred in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps with Eddie Murphy. She sang a song on the soundtrack titled, “Doesn’t Really Matter.” The single became another number one hit for the singer/actress. The track was also featured on her next album, All for you in 2001. She had two songs in the top 10 on the charts. In 2004, Jackson released her eighth studio album titled Damita Jo. The album would go on to sell over three million copies worldwide.
The singer released her ninth studio album in 2005 titled 20 Y.O. to celebrate her years in the business. It was number one on the r&b charts and number two on the pop charts. It sold over a million copies worldwide. Jackson’s tenth studio album, Discipline was released in 2008. This was the first cd Jackson had released without her writing team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis since her second album was released. She scored a hit single, “Feedback.” Jackson released another compilation cd in 2009 titled, Number Ones. The album features her 19th hit single, “Make Me” written by Rodney Jerkins. During the years, Janet Jackson starred in more movies. She worked on three Tyler Perry films throughout the years. She starred in Why Did I Get Married? (2007), Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010), and For Colored Girls (2010). Unbreakable was released in 2015 and was Jackson’s eleventh studio album. She reunited with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for the album. Jackson had her 40th hit song on the charts with, “No Sleep.”
Janet Jackson has several hit songs that debuted at number one over the years. She also has a lot of gems that weren’t released as singles or didn’t make it to number one on the charts. This top 10 list is about the songs that didn’t make it to number one and should have made it.
# 10 – Island Life
This track is from Janet Jackson’s Damita Jo album. The song wasn’t released as a single, but it should have been released. The midtempo jam has a fantastic island and reggae beat to it. It sounds perfect for chilling on the beach. Jackson’s singing about relaxing on the beach. This song was a rarity for her because she didn’t sing songs like this one in the past. She sings the song in her natural tone. Her soprano voice works well with the track. She does sing in a higher key in the hook. Her harmonies are excellent on this track. Jackson used a double in the hook and it’s perfect. One of her vocals is in her lower register while the other one is in her upper register. She wrote the song with Scott Storch and Cathy Dennis. They did an excellent job with this song. She hadn’t worked with this duo before so it could have been filler, but it turned out to be a good match. They were able to capture her sound the same way Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis did.
# 9 – Truly
The song is from the Damita Jo CD. This is an r&b ballad. The song is a love song about dreaming of the person you want to be with someday. The song is stripped down with low guitars and strings. The keyboard is the main instrument on this track. It sounds like a quiet storm song. Jackson sings the song softly to match the soft music. She almost sings the verses with a whisper in her tone. She sings it in her lower register and it’s a match for the music. It’s easy to get lost in the harmonies in the chorus. She sings the chorus alone, but her voice is layered sounds as if there is someone else singing with her. The song is flawless and is one of the best tracks on this CD. The song should have made it to number one on the charts because the song is as close to perfection as you could get. Jackson worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on the song. They proved why they’re a dynamic trio when they wrote songs together.
# 8 – Spending Time With You
This track is another one featured on the Damita Jo CD. The song is a contemporary slow jam. It’s a ballad, but you can move around it. It’s a love song about being able to spend time with the person you love. Jackson worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for this track. They brought out the best of her once again. She sings the verses in a higher octave and the hook in a lower octave. She utilizes both pitches in the song. This song is a perfect marriage both vocally and musically. She sings the song with a lot of soul and passion. She sounds very similar to her famous brother on this track. Jackson’s harmonies on this track are through the roof. There aren’t too many artists who have the ability to harmonize the way she does. She has a knack for creating effortless harmonies.
# 7 – 2 B Loved
“2 B Loved” appears on Unbreakable. This is a return to her pop/dance roots. It’s impossible to sit down while listening to the thumping drumbeat of the track. This is an upbeat and inspirational song about wanting to be in love. It’s easy to tell she sounds happy about singing the song. She tried something a little different with it. She sang the entire song with a double. She mixed her lower and upper registers with the lyrics. She does both vocals well. She sings every note on time with the fantastic beat. Her voice is layered in the song the way it is in her other songs and it’s hard to believe she’s singing alone. Her harmonies are on point once again. The vocals are hard to understand, but it doesn’t hurt the track at all. This song would have been a perfect choice for radio. It’s a very radio friendly song and should have hit number one with a bullet.
# 6 – Livin’ in a World (They Didn’t Make)
This song is from Rhythm Nation 1814. This is a social song about children being treated badly in the world. The song is about children who were murdered. It starts with a very beautiful piano introduction. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis wrote this passionate song for Jackson to sing and it was a good choice. The music is so melodic that the message could almost get lost on you. Jackson sings every verse in time with the drumbeat. She surprisingly holds notes in the song. She’s not known for holding notes in her tracks, but she took a risk and it wasn’t a mistake. She didn’t hold long ones, but she did make the attempt to do it. The singer sings the song as if she wrote it personally. It sounds like it’s very close to her heart. Her harmonies are on point once again especially towards the end of the song.
# 5 – China Love
“China Love” is on the All for You album. The r&b song has Oriental textures to it. The song utilizes chimes throughout the song. The music and verses are similar to A Taste Of Honey’s “Sukiyaki.” Jackson didn’t sing songs with this type of theme before. The song is mostly about a fantasy. She took a risk doing this type of track because it’s about being in love in a past life. It’s a period piece track. This song strays away from anything Jackson recorded to this point. Her songs were about love and social injustice so this one was unique. The uniqueness of the song doesn’t change the fact that it’s excellent. She sings the verses in her upper register and sings some of the harmonies in her lower register. She manages to be in time with the chime beat as well as the drumbeat. Another artist may not have been able to pull this off the way she did.
# 4 – Better Days
The song is featured on the All for you album. The song is the finale of the CD and it’s a perfect way to end it. She mixes rock and electronic music for the verses while switching to up-tempo music for the hook. This could have been a disaster in the hands of another artist, but Jackson pulls it off beautifully. She proved she could mix different types of music. The music speeds up a little in the second verse. Jackson sings the second verse in a lower key. The music dominates her vocals a little in the second verse, but it doesn’t hurt the song. The music changes just before she sings the bridge and features a violin. She’s a little hard to understand, but it doesn’t take away from the inspirational message. Speaking of the message, she is singing about trying to focus on being positive. She wants to get rid of the negative things in her life and focus on the positive things. The song fades out with her fabulous harmonies and it makes the song sound even better.
# 3 – The Body That Loves You
The track was released on the Janet CD. The song has a sexy and sensual vibe to it. It’s a combination of Latin, jazz, and r&b music. The sexy ballad should have been a single. It sounds great for quiet storm radio. The lyrics are about her making love to someone. Jackson sings the song in her upper and lower registers. She has a little grit in her voice as she sings the hook. It’s a nice change for her. She sounds sensual and seductive while she sings the verses for the track. She sings the track with a lot of passion. She does ad libs in the hook that are in time with the beat. She doesn’t hold any notes or belts in the song, but the track is a soft one and doesn’t need it. The song is a little long because she talks at the end of it instead of just fading out, but that in no way takes away from the song.
# 2 – Where Are You Now
The song is on the Janet CD. The r&b ballad starts with the piano and drums as well as her harmonies. The song is about regretting losing a love she could have had. She wasn’t ready to love the person the way he was ready to love her before. The track has an old school feel to it along with an r&b feel to it. She sings in time with the piano just as the verses end. She sings the song in her upper register. She does the double when she hits the bridge. She sings the lead part of the bridge in her upper register and the background in her lower register. The music is a little soft and works with her voice. The music in this track doesn’t drown her out. She utilizes her excellent harmonies throughout the song. The song is hypnotic and should have been released as a single. It’s just as good as the tracks that were released off of this CD.
# 1 – Can’t B Good
“Can’t B Good” is featured on the Discipline album. The song was the fourth single from the CD, but it didn’t make it to number one and it’s hard to believe it didn’t make it to the top spot on the charts. This is the best song from the album. This is a jazzy r&b song about her relationship with her then boyfriend Jermaine Dupri. She was dating the music producer for years so the song is dedicated to him. She worked with singer Ne-Yo on the track. This CD was the first time she collaborated with the singer/songwriter.
She mostly worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis so it was a change to work with Ne-Yo. He managed to capture the type of sound she created with Jam and Lewis. It’s similar to her ballads, “Let’s Wait Awhile” and “Come Back To Me.” The harmonies are similar to her older tracks and sound just as amazing on this one. Jackson sings every lyric on time with the beat. Her harmonies soar in the hook of the song as well as towards the fade out. She’s a little hard to understand, but to quote one of her songs, it doesn’t’ really matter because it’s still an excellent song.