Rolling StoneRanked #28
in Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums Of The Eighties" survey. (November 1989)
Vibe - 12/99, p.157
Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century - "[Janet] demands respect, draws her boundaries, and kicks some nasty butt....bringing a new wealth of range, power, and grace."
Personnel: Janet Jackson (vocals, keyboards, bells, background vocals); Jellybean Johnson (vocals, guitar); Jimmy Jam (vocals, piano, synthesizer, drums, percussion, background vocals); Terry Lewis (vocals, percussion, background vocals); Jerome Benton (vocals); Monte Moir (guitar, synthesizer, drums); Spencer Bernard (guitar, synthesizer); Geoff Bouchieiz (guitar); Nicholas Raths (acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar); Troy Anthony (saxophone); Mark Cardenas (synthesizer); Roger Dumas (drums, programming); Hami Wave, Gwendolyn Traylor, Lisa Keith, Melanie Andrews (background vocals).
Recording information: Flyte Time Productions Studio, Minneapolis, MN.
Unknown Contributor Role: Janet Jackson.
Although Janet Jackson had released two records in the early 1980s, they were quickly forgotten, and notably shaped by her parents' considerable influence. Janet's landmark third album, 1986's CONTROL, would change all that.
On the opening title track, Jackson vents at her parents, and, with passion and grace, declares her own independence, moving out of the gargantuan shadow of her brother Michael and on to the business of making her own classic pop record. The true genius of CONTROL lies in the marriage of her extremely self-assured vocals with the emphatic beats of R&B production wizards Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The duo was already well established in the music industry, but the practically flawless CONTROL showcased Jam and Lewis's true studio mastery. For the better part of two years, Jackson remained on the pop charts, with a full two-thirds of the album's tracks released as singles, including the ever-quotable "Nasty," the assertive "What Have You Done for Me Lately," the frenetically danceable "When I Think of You," and the smooth, message-oriented ballad "Let's Wait Awhile." With CONTROL, Jackson achieved long-awaited superstar status and never looked back.