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They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Episode 27: Janet - Ms. Jackson If You're Nasty

This week, we're discussing one of the most well-rounded entertainers of all time. She started as a child actress in the '70s and '80s on such shows as Good Times, A New Kind Of Family, Diff'rent Strokes and Fame. Her musical career started as a teen in the '80s and since then she's released 11 studio albums and has sold well over 100 million albums worldwide. She continued her acting career in the '90s and 2000s in films like Poetic Justice, Nutty Professor II, the Why Did I Get Married series and For Colored Girls. And if you didn't know, her "first name ain't 'baby.' It's Janet."

Transcript

Christina: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I’m Christina.

Miguel: And I’m Miguel. I know we say this all the time but this week I mean it. This is one of my all time favorite entertainers. We’re talking about someone who comes from a family full of entertainers. She’s a former child star who made it. Actress, singer, songwriter, producer, LaToya and Tito’s little sister. Her first name ain’t baby, it’s Janet.

Christina: Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty.

Miguel: But before we get into the episode, we’re going to do a little bit of housekeeping. So first of all, thank you for coming back and listening to They Reminisce Over You. We appreciate everybody who does. We’ve been looking at our stats and they’ve been climbing consistently. So shout out to my people in the UK, over in Brixton. My peoples are checking us out.

Christina: I was about to attempt an accent and decided…

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Probably not.

Miguel: Yeah. I’m not going to be throwing on any accents because they’re going to stop listening.

Christina: Yep. It could always go higher.

Miguel: It could, it could, they might like my fake British accent. So maybe at the end of the episode I’ll give it a shot. Another thing I wanted to mention is the best way to listen to this particular episode or our other music based episodes is to search They Reminisce Over You: Music + Talk Edition[1] on Spotify. That way you can listen to this and the other episodes with music in it, with an integrated playlist.

Christina: We also have playlists[2] of just the songs if you want to dig into that later.

Miguel: So if you want to check that out, go to our website or click on the link in the show notes. With that said, do you want to get into talking about Ms. Janet Jackson?

Christina: Let’s do it.

Miguel: Okey-dokey.

Christina: So as you mentioned, Janet has been around forever. I mean she grew up in a musical family and they were already famous when she a child.

Miguel: Yeah. She was like three when they blew up. So all she knows is success.

Christina: Yeah. Of course one would expect that she would get into the family business as well which—

Miguel: Eventually.

Christina: Which she did. Cher, The Carol Burnett Show[3]. The Jacksons had a variety show, Good Times and some show called New Kind of Family.

Miguel: Yeah, I had never heard of it until I saw it on the IMDb.

Christina: Me either.

Miguel: I searched for a video. It doesn’t exist anywhere.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: But Rob Lowe was in it.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And originally it was about these two families. They were neighbors. About three episodes into it, they got rid of one of the families and brought in Telma Hopkins and Janet Jackson to replace them.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I don’t know how good it was. It only lasted one season, I guess it wasn’t too good.

Christina: I don’t know too much about this era of Janet because I was also... wait, I don’t—was I? When did this stuff come out?

Miguel: Good Times?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: That was like ‘78. So that’s definitely before you were born.

Christina: Yes I wasn’t even born yet so I know of this stuff now, but this wasn’t something I grew up watching.

Miguel: And the New Kind of Family aired in ‘79. So same time.

Christina: Okay. So this was before my time. I knew she was in Good Times. And there’s that sketch in the variety show where she’s dancing all sexy...

Miguel: Yeah, doing her Mae West impression.[4]

Christina: Yep. So I’ve definitely seen it, but this is something I saw as I was older. We did watch a couple episodes of Good Times.

Miguel: Yeah I grew up watching Good Times.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: Because I’m a little bit older, so I got to see it.

Christina: Smidge older. Plus you like to watch old stuff anyway.

Miguel: I do. I used to watch reruns as a kid.

Christina: And Good Times is uh... wow. They really get to the hard hitting topics.

Miguel: Yeah they didn’t play around.

Christina: I watched baby Janet get burned with an iron.

Miguel: She was getting burned. She was getting beaten. They thought she had a broken arm. There was a lot going on in those episodes. She played Penny who was their downstairs neighbor being abused by her mother. Willona ended up taking her in and adopting her.

Christina: At least there was a happy ending.

Miguel: Yeah, it was a happy ending.

Christina: So she continued to do work as she grew up into a teenager. She was on Different Strokes. Which I, that was something I did watch a little bit, but I don’t remember anything cause I was still a small child.

Miguel: Yeah, you were young.

Christina: And Fame, like I’m familiar with those but I don’t remember much.

Miguel: Yeah. Like on Fame, she wasn’t there very long. She only did one season and I think she was only maybe four or five episodes. But I remember the episode where there was kind of a dream sequence. She performed “Dream Street,” which was a single from her album that was out at the time. So that was pretty funny for me. On Different Strokes she played Willis’s girlfriend for a few seasons. She wasn’t in that much either. She would pop up every few episodes or so. Hang out with Willis. But at the same time is when she started her singing career as well.

Christina: I knew these albums existed, but not familiar with them either. I listened to them in full for the first time just this past week. And um.... not really a fan. It’s not bad but it just sounds like some ‘80s songs. Like there’s nothing really particularly special about them.

Miguel: Right. The first one, the self-titled album, I remember playing that a lot as a kid because when my aunt would go to school, because she’s 10 years older than me, I would sneak into her bedroom and then play this record. So listening to it is more nostalgic than actually liking it. If that makes any sense. I do like “Young Love” though. That one was pretty good, at least to me. And like I said, I just used to sneak and play at when my aunt was at school and then sneak out of her room when she came home. Even though she probably knew I was doing it.

Christina: Yeah. I mean it’s possible that it being before my time and stuff, but yeah, I just didn’t really, nothing really stood out for me. I also found it hilarious that around this time too, when I was looking at her IMDb, she’s listed as “uncredited zombie” in “Thriller.”

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: Her other brother, Michael, his “Thriller” video. Apparently she was a zombie in there, but uncredited. So we don’t know which one she is.

Miguel: We don’t. It might be in the making of the Thriller[5] DVD.

Christina: I want to figure out which zombie she is. Did she at least get like, to stand up front? Or she just one of the ones just in the graveyard? Or—

Miguel: Right.

Christina: ‘Cause she would have been pretty young at this time. Maybe like 16?

Miguel: She’s about between 15, 16. something like that. Thriller came out in ‘82. So she was 16. And it’s funny you bring up Thriller because her first album came out two months before Thriller. And it had a couple of hits that— I wouldn’t say hits. So let me take that back. It had a couple songs that got airplay. Looking at it now I don’t see why it flopped because it sounds like a lot of stuff that was out at the same time.

Christina: Right. I can’t remember where I read this, but it says something like she was coming off of a TV show she didn’t even really like being on, which was Fame. And then she was kind of hesitant about going to a singing career too. So you can kind of tell, I think, when you listen to those first two albums versus Control. This is where Janet was like, “I’m here.”

Miguel: Cause the second album, it was produced by Giorgio Moroder. Who is like, they call him the “Godfather of disco” or whatever. Like he produced Donna Summer, Blondie. But in the eighties he was known for producing soundtracks. So he did the Top Gun soundtrack, he did Flashdance. And he produced most of the Dream Street album. So that’s why a lot of that stuff doesn’t sound as R&B as the first album. It sounds like it should be on a movie soundtrack. And it just seems really cheesy and corny to me. It’s not “Danger Zone.” It’s not that level. Cause a perfect—

Christina: I liked that as kid.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: Some “Danger Zone.”

Miguel: And that’s what this album sounds like, but on a lesser scale, because she was 16 and—

Christina: Right.

Miguel: She shouldn’t be out here singing these power ballads. And songs with all these hard guitars in it. The worst one for me though, is a song called “Two to the Power of Love.”

Christina: I don’t even remember.

Miguel: I had never heard this song or didn’t remember it. It’s with a guy named Cliff Richard. Didn’t know he was who he was until yesterday. Here’s who Cliff Richard was. Now mind you she’s 16, no 15 at this point. “He dominated British pop music scene pre-Beatles, late fifties to early sixties.” This is in 1982. Basically, it’s like if somebody put Morris Day on a Olivia Rodrigo record today.

Christina: Like why is this old ass man helping this teenager?

Miguel: Like, why are these two working together? And that’s basically what it was. So that says everything about her career pre-Control.

Christina: Right. I don’t know if also, because I know her for Control first, that hearing those albums, like, who is this? Because on Control it sounds like “I’m making this for me.”

Miguel: Yeah

Christina: It sounds like this is what she wants to do.

Miguel: Right. And since we brought it up, let’s just get into Control.

[music break]

Miguel: Like you said, it sounds like she’s taking control of her career. And I saw an interview with Jam and Lewis, basically Terry Lewis was just sitting there. So it was a lot of Jimmy Jam talking.

Christina: I feel like Jimmy talks more.

Miguel: He does.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I don’t think I’ve ever heard Terry Lewis speak.

Christina: Okay. ‘Cause I was just thinking about that and I’m like, you want to call them Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, because they’re a duo. I just feel like I’m always like, you know, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, ‘cause it seems like I see him doing more interviews or just talking more instead.

Miguel: They’re like the Black Penn and Teller. Only one of them speaks. But the video I saw, he was talking about how they spent like two weeks just hanging out with Janet. Like they would go to the movies, they would go to basketball games, they would hang out and talk at the hotel. And finally she asked, “so when are we going to get in the studio and actually start to work?” And that’s when they gave her “Control” and was like, here you go. And she starts reading the lyrics and it’s like, “this is what we’ve been talking about for two weeks.” And he said he could see the switch, just click in her head. And she’s like, “oh, so this is what we’re doing? Alright. Let’s do it.”

Christina: Let’s do it.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So they did most of the songwriting as well?

Miguel: Yeah. The three of them.

Christina: Okay. I feel like having “Control” as the first song, very much set the scene for us of what to expect for the rest of the album. Cause she literally said, “I’m in control and I’ve got lots of it.” And it’s just funny because she’s like 20 at this time, maybe 19-20?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But she was just coming out of an annulment with the DeBarge boy.

Miguel: Yes, with ponytail James.

Christina: Yeah. So she’s young but she has some experience behind her.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But it’s just funny cause she was like, “when I was 17, I did what others told me.” I’m like, this is what most 17 year olds do.

Miguel: Yeah, you kinda had to.

Christina: And “now I’m all grown up!”

Miguel: At 20.

Christina: But it’s just funny when we think about like so many of these artists that have made an impact on us were so young. She was 20. I mean, we talked about Usher coming out at 14.

Miguel: 14-15.

Christina: Monica was like 12 when she first recorded. And like Mary J was, I think 20, when “Real Love” came out too? So many of our favorite artists were babies.

Miguel: Yeah, Nas, Outkast.

Christina: Mobb Deep, Tupac, all of them were babies.

Miguel: Pretty much. Yeah, I also saw that she started drinking for the first time.

Christina: At 23?

Miguel: No, when they were doing the album.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Because the drinking age in Minnesota was 19 at the time.

Christina: Oh ‘cause I saw another interview where she says she did her first real drinking at 23.

Miguel: So she said she was doing a little bit of drinking hanging out with Jimmy and Terry because the drinking age was still at 19. And I think it changed that year.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: To 21 too. So she just barely made it.

Christina: Because I saw another interview of her, I think she was talking about this time. So this was probably her little bit of drinking. I think it was like on Jimmy Fallon[6] or something. And she said she got drunk off of eating ice cream that had liquor in it.

Miguel: Oh man. That’s funny.

Christina: That’s a lot of ice cream or a lot of liquor in the ice cream.

Miguel: Both.

Christina: Or a little bit of both.

Miguel: Yeah. So basically this is her getting out of the shadow of the rest of her family. Instead of just being looked at as the Jackson 5’s little sister here she is establishing a career on her own. Just listening to it, what is your favorite song on this album?

Christina: “Nasty.”

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: The whole album is... it’s so good considering the two albums that came before. But I guess maybe that’s what happens when you get confidence and get control over what you want to do. But out of all the songs I like “Nasty” the best just because I think it encompasses what she was trying to convey, which was confidence, I’m my own boss—like my first name ain’t baby, it’s Janet. Like, and then that’s such an iconic line.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: The same interview I was watching. She was like, that’s the one thing that people always yelling at her.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: “Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty.” And Jimmy was like, did you think that this was going to become such a big deal? She was just like, no, we were writing songs.

Miguel: Yeah, why would it?

Christina: I didn’t think that this was going to be like the thing that people are going to yell at me for 30 years. Most of the album had that kind of same sound. But that one for me was the best one. But the funny thing is too is in that little like breakdown where she’s like, “Who’s that in that nasty car? Nasty boys,” blah blah blah.

Miguel: “Who’s that eating that nasty food?”

Christina: “Who’s that eating that nasty food?”

Miguel: I always laugh at that.

Christina: Because I’m like, what did she say? “Who’s that eating that nasty food?” Well, in the Tidal lyrics, it says fruit. But that’s—I mean, food, fruit. It doesn’t really matter. “Who’s that jammin’ to my nasty groove?” But then okay, that stuff makes sense. But “Who’s that eating that nasty food?” Or fruit?

Miguel: I’m going with food. That’s what I’ve been saying since it came out. It’s always been funny to me like, that’s what y’all chose to throw in there? To rhyme with groove.

Christina: All this—they got nasty car, nasty groove and nasty fruit or food. You know, we talked about how in the nineties, a lot of the music was “In the nineties. We’re doing this, we’re doing that.” But she was doing this in the eighties because even just the part where she says “ladies.” Like that just seems very much like, all right, we—women’s empowerment. Right? Ladies, stand up.

Miguel: And she’s barely a lady.

Christina: Yeah. And she said that this song, in that same interview[6:1], she said that this song came out of her getting catcalled when they were just hanging out. And she came back into the studio and she was just really pissed off and annoyed about these men harassing her.

Miguel: These nasty boys.

Christina: Yep. And that’s how the song kind of came about.

Miguel: Yeah my favorite one on this album, and you’re going to see a pattern developing when we talk about the favorite songs on all of these albums.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: “Funny How Time Flies.” That’s my favorite one on this album. And I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed it, but it has the same melody as Michael Jackson’s “The Lady in My Life.”

Christina: I have not noticed that.

Miguel: I noticed it immediately because even in the song, there’s a part where she kinda mimics Michael as well on I think, what does she say? Something about, stay with me, don’t leave. And he said something similar on “The Lady in My Life.” I found a mashup[7] this DJ did. We will post it on the website, troypodcast.com. So you can check it out as well. But it’s very similar. And you can tell that they used “The Lady In My Life” to kind of build that song.

Christina: All right. This mashup will be interesting to hear.

Miguel: It’s my favorite one on this album.

Christina: Okay. Okay. You’re not all about the nasty boys?

Miguel: No, no. If anything, it would be “The Pleasure Principle.”

Christina: It was hard to pick. Like this was like hit after hit, after hit. There’s probably only... I can’t remember which one, there’s maybe one or two songs that I was like, meh.

Miguel: Yeah. Those are probably the two that weren’t released the singles. I think it was something like all of the songs became top five hits and Michael had some on Thriller—no, I’m thinking about the next album, Rhythm Nation, where she had all the number ones more than him. Like his top tens. Hers were top fives, but we’ll get to that in a second.

Christina: A little sibling rivalry.

[music break]

Miguel: So speaking of Rhythm Nation, let’s just move on to that one.

Christina: Rhythm Nation, 1989. I feel like with this album, now, she knows she’s got everyone’s attention. And the first album felt very much, this is what I want to do. This is what, I’m making this for me. Whereas this, I feel like she realizes she has an audience and a platform. Which is probably why there’s such a social justice element to it. Where she’s like, I know I can speak to a lot of people.

Miguel: I have ears now.

Christina: Yeah. So pretty much the theme of the album is “Rhythm Nation,” “State of the World,” “The Knowledge.”

Miguel: Yeah. The first three songs and skits are all about social justice. We need to change the world. Everything is messed up. And then—

Christina: She gets to the “Let’s Dance” interlude?

Miguel: Yeah like okay, you know what you came here for. Here we go.

Christina: “Get the point? Good. Let’s dance.”

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And then we go into “Miss You Much.”

Miguel: Yeah. So she gives you what you came for for a little bit, but then she also gets back to a little social commentary later.

Christina: So this album also came with a short film, which also featured a young Tyrin Turner.

Miguel: Yeah. I remember that. Because that’s what people were doing back then because of Michael. It’s like, you know what? Somebody is going to give me a budget to do a long form video. Why not.

Christina: This felt very Gotham.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because everything is like dark and rainy. And this is where she, I mean, they played like “miss you much.” So it wasn’t like all social justice stuff, but it was kind of focused around Tyrin’s character, going through some, some stuff.

Miguel: Yeah, he was having some trouble.

Christina: He was.

Miguel: He was a troubled kid.

Christina: And then his friend got shot because they were shining shoes in the rain.

Miguel: Because that’s what you do.

Christina: Who gets their shoes shined in the rain?

Miguel: Stop trying to make sense of it.

Christina: And then like a gangster or whatever came up and shot the guy that his friend was shining the shoes of. And then he got caught in the fray and then he goes to find Janet.

Miguel: Don’t try to make sense of it.

Christina: So that Janet can confront him. And they can talk about the “State Of The World” today. Maybe I don’t understand art, but visually I was still very into it.

Miguel: Yeah I remember, like I said, that’s when artists were getting budgets to do all sorts of big shit like that. Obviously Michael, her, Madonna, MC Hammer was the biggest culprit around this time because after he blew up he’s getting these huge budgets for like the “2 Legit 2 Quit” video and the “Addams Groove” and all that. So it—

Christina: What about “Pumps and A Bump?”

Miguel: That was a little bit later. That was Death Row Hammer, so—

Christina: They couldn’t give him money for a whole outfit though.

Miguel: They couldn’t. He’s...

Christina: Boots.

Miguel: Got on some Timberlands, some cutoff finger gloves and a cheetah print Speedo.

Christina: Okay. Back to Janet. We don’t need that visual.

Miguel: Yes. This album, Rhythm Nation 1814, was the first album in history to have a number one song in three separate years.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: That’s how long the run for this album was that she could have a hit number one song in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Christina: I was actually going to mention that because “Love Will Never Do Without You” was the last single to be released from this album, which was released in 1991. And even though I loved the first album and this album, this was during a time for me where I was still really like influenced by the people around me. Like my sisters, or top 40 radio and stuff. So even though I loved it, I kind of loved it the way like, a little sister would like it. But I always found it funny that “Love Will Never Do Without You” stood out so much for me, as part of when I had started to develop my personal interests. And when I was reading up on this, I’m like duh, because it was released three years later.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So for me, 1989 still kind of influenced by others. But by the time 1991-92 came around, that’s when I started to form my own opinions.

Miguel: Yeah. And even with that three year run, just the different types of videos that came from this album. So you got the “rhythm nation” video, you’ve got “Escapade,” you got “Miss You Much.” You’ve got the one you were just talking about and they’re all different.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And it’s coming off of the same album. I always thought that was an interesting. You got “Alright” as well. So there was a lot going on. It was very theatrical sometimes. And then other times it’s just her.

Christina: A little fun fact I also saw in another interview, but you know how she always wear that earring with the key? So she said—

Miguel: With her chores as a child.

Christina: Her chores. Yes. So it was molded from a real key that she used to wear all the time cause her chore as a child was to take care of all their animals. And when we say animals, this ain’t just your run of the mill dogs, cats, maybe some chickens.

Miguel: Yeah not a couple of rottweilers in the back yard.

Christina: Nah. We talking giraffes...

Miguel: Peacocks, monkeys.

Christina: So her chore was to take care of the pets, feed them and clean them and stuff.

Miguel: She was a zookeeper basically, a teenage zookeeper.

Christina: She kept her key on her earrings instead of a key chain.

Miguel: That’s funny. Out here cleaning up giraffe shit.

Christina: Back to what you were saying about all these different videos. They were different but “Love Will Never Do Without You” was the most different.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because all the other ones is a lot of black. It’s a lot of suits. It’s a lot of very like strong energy, boss bitch kind of energy.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And then “Love Will Never Do Without You” came out. She’s in the sun. Out in like the desert or something.

Miguel: Just smiling and happy.

Christina: Her hair’s flying in the wind. She’s got this little crop top on.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And it was so light and carefree. And to me, I don’t know if this was planned, but it kind of gave us a glimpse into where she was going with the next album.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: We start off with Control, which is like, I have the power now. I have control. And then it went into Rhythm Nation where she’s like, I’m going to use my powers for good. And then you get “Love Will Never Do Without You” and it’s like, I’m just going to be carefree and have fun. Which is basically the next album.

Miguel: Yeah. But before we move on...

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: What’s your favorite song on Rhythm Nation 1814?

Christina: I want to say “Love Will Never Do Without You” because I think personally, that just kind of stayed with me the longest because like I said, this was kind of where I was developing my personal taste. So I’m going to go with that. It was hard picking songs because there’s so many that I love, but I’m going to stick with that.

Miguel: All right. So I told you there was a theme developing when it comes to my favorite Janet Jackson songs. On this one, it’s “Come Back To Me” and I will explain to you why “Funny How Time Flies” and “Come Back To Me” are my favorite Janet Jackson songs from this era. Because when I was 9 to 11 is when these albums were coming out.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: This was a time when I went from “eww girls, nasty” to like “oooh girls.”

Christina: Nasty!

Miguel: Nasty. So you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t going to grow up and marry Janet Jackson.

Christina: Oh see she, you thought she was singing to you?

Miguel: Yeah. I was supposed to be René and James DeBarge. That was going to be me when I turned 18. That’s how 11 year old Miguel was thinking. So that’s why these are my kind of favorite Janet songs.

Christina: Okay, okay.

[music break]

Miguel: So moving on to the next album just called janet. So the Janet that we met on “Funny How Time Flies.” She here now.

Christina: Yes. And “Love Will Never Do You.”

Miguel: Yes, she’s here now.

Christina: So this is 1993. She releases janet. And I think of this, after listening to it in present day, I’m like, this is hot girl summer.

Miguel: Yeah yeah, it is.

Christina: Because it’s all about hanging out with my girlfriends, as you hear in all the interludes. Meeting guys.

Miguel: Yep.

Christina: Catching flights, not feelings. And, the only thing is she threw in “New Agenda” just to let you know, I still care.

Miguel: Yeah, like I’m still thinking about y’all.

Christina: But... where the men at?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And it’s very much me and my girls want to have fun. The visuals were that way. The songs are that way. Like even the last song, I think it might’ve been a bonus song, the “Whoops Now.”

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: The song is literally, I’m going to call my boss and tell him I can’t come into work because I’m hanging out with my friends. Like she—

Miguel: I have something better to do.

Christina: She literally says I’m hanging with my friends and lists all their names at the end.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So if you liked what you saw in “Love Will Never Do Without You,” this is the whole album of that.

Miguel: So when this came out, I was 18. I was just about to graduate high school. And this—

Christina: You still thought you could marry her?

Miguel: No, this is when I kind of realized it wasn’t going to happen. Reality had set in. So I can only love her from afar.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: But, same thing. I still like these songs though. My favorite one though, continuing the theme, is “Any Time Any Place.”

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Followed closely though by “That’s The Way Love Goes.”

Christina: Of course.

Miguel: Just her grinding around in the video with her belly out.

Christina: And all your fave dancers that we’ve gotten to know and love too, were in the video. And it was very—

Miguel: Was J-Lo in that one?

Christina: Chill vibe. She was. J-Lo and the girl with the braids that we seen in like a bunch of other videos too. And of course her choreographer, Tina. And a few other of her regular dancers. Yeah, I love “That’s The Way Love Goes.” It’s really hard to separate the visuals from the songs with Janet because the videos and the choreography and stuff is so ingrained into her music.

Miguel: Yeah and that’s huge element of it.

Christina: Yeah. So my favorite song is “If” and I think it’s because—

Miguel: The dance sequences.

Christina: Not just the dancing, the whole vid– like, I literally get chills or a little excited every time I hear that little opening [mimics song]. You know? And you see the guys coming down from the ceiling.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And then they got the dancers coming out and tons of Asian people too. Like, look Asians! Even though they were just peripheral characters. But you got the girls dancing and then the doors open. There’s red ribbons flying. She comes strutting out, hair flying in the wind. And this choreography... So I haven’t done a little story time in a while.

Miguel: Story time.

Christina: So she performed like, a medley of “That’s The Way Love Goes” and “If” at the ‘93 VMAs[8], and as everyone did at this time, we all tried to learn the choreography.

Miguel: I didn’t.

Christina: Well, you too busy dancing to “If It Isn’t Love.”

Miguel: That’s true. And I was just watching her dance. I wasn’t trying to dance.

Christina: So of course I learned the choreography and then managed to talk some girls at school to learn with me.

Miguel: Because that’s what you did back in those days.

Christina: Not only that, we talked some teachers into letting us 14 and 15 year old girls perform it.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: At a pep rally.

Miguel: Sounds like high school to me.

Christina: And I’m pretty sure the teachers weren’t really paying attention to the lyrics—

Miguel: Of course not.

Christina: Except I had one teacher where he was like, “Y’all going to let them do that?” And now I’m thinking about it. It’s so weird being a teenager because you understand things, but you don’t understand things.

Miguel: He saying, we’re about to get fired.

Christina: Yeah ‘cause, “you’re smooth and shiny against my lips.” I mean I knew what she was talking about, but when you’re a teenager, you think you’re grown. You’re like, it’s fine.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But you don’t really realize how bad it is. “You are on the rise as you’re touching my thighs.” We were dancing to this in front of the school.

Miguel: It’s like Ice Cube performing “We Be Clubbin’”[9] on Nickelodeon.

Christina: Exactly. But I was the lead choreographer/Janet.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So I did have the presence of mind to at least not try to recruit any boys. So there was no simulated sex.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: As the choreography—

Miguel: You weren’t slapping dudes on the head left and right?

Christina: No. Or like grabbing their crotches. There was no crotch grabbing. And I did tone down a few things to make up for not having male dancers and we avoided the crotch area. But there was shaking and grooving.

Miguel: This is another one of those moments where I wish you had video of this—

Christina: I do!

Miguel: Oh?

Christina: There’s a VHS in our storage...

Miguel: Alright.

Christina: Tape that has it. But the problem is...

Miguel: We don’t have a VCR?

Christina: We do.

Miguel: You still have it?

Christina: It’s all in the storage.

Miguel: I thought we got rid of the VCR?

Christina: I told you about this but I never want to show you because while you were thinking you could marry Janet, I thought I could dance for Janet. And I’ve never showed you because I’m embarrassed because I realize I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.

Miguel: So we have to watch it.

Christina: I’m not bad but I’m not great.

Miguel: We have to watch it and we should post it on Instagram too. I just—

Christina: Oh there’s a couple other routines on that VHS tape.

Miguel: Oh yeah. We gotta dig this out.

Christina: I thought—I was ready to become one of Janet’s dancers. Because I remember in the performance, there was one dancer who was always just, she was kind of off. She just wasn’t as on point as everyone else, so I’m like, if she can can do it, I can do it.

Miguel: Hey, it’s not too late.

Christina: Oh, it’s too late. Like I said, I was like Abbotsford good. Yeah. So just as you realized you couldn’t marry Janet, I also realized I would never be a professional dancer.

Miguel: I got you.

Christina: But I was watching it in preparation for this and I still somewhat remember the choreography.

Miguel: Ok so when we’re done—

Christina: But like 80% of it.

Miguel: I want to see it. I want to see you pull off a little bit of it, ‘cause I’m always pulling out routines around here. So you need to as well.

Christina: Uhhhh, we’ll see.

Miguel: C’mon, man. Just do it.

Christina: Maybe I’ll just do a little. Show you some arms.

Miguel: Alright.

Christina: [mimics “If” instrumental]

Miguel: I’ll take it.

Christina: Yeah, so I have a very special relationship to “If.”

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Because again, like I said, this video blew my mind. We’re used to seeing her doing a lot of dancing and stuff. We’ve come to expect that for her. But something about this, the way the song sounds, the visuals, the routine. It was so hard and soft at the same time, the choreography.

Miguel: I get what you’re saying.

Christina: There’s this one part where in the lyrics, she says, ”you looking at me” and in the routine, she just does a simple pointing at you and me, but it is so perfect[10]. And I’m like does she just do a simple pointing, you, me and make it look so cool?

Miguel: I don’t remember that specific point.

Christina: I do.

Miguel: I’m going to have to go back and look at that.

Christina: But you’ll see what I’m saying when, when I say that, like somehow they made it very hard and soft at the same time.

Miguel: That I can see.

Christina: Okay. And I just, I love it so much. And I definitely know I love it because of the accompanying visuals. Because I watched a couple of concert performances of that song and you know, when you do concert performances, sometimes it sounds a little different, right?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Or there was one performance where they wore like costumes that I didn’t really like in comparison to how they were dressed in the video. And I was like, oh, some maybe I only like this song when it’s exactly like this.

Miguel: That makes sense.

Christina: Yeah. So I feel like, I would say that’s my favorite song because it left such an impression on me, but I do love “That’s The Way Love Goes” and “Again” are pretty close seconds.

Miguel: “Again” that was nominated for an Academy Award, but somehow it isn’t on the Poetic Justice soundtrack.

Christina: Yes. So that is—

Miguel: That makes no sense.

Christina: Hilarious. Because, so Poetic Justice came out same year, 1993. And we rewatched— we rewatched this—why am I talking like Elmer Fudd?

Miguel: We watched it last night.

Christina: We watched it last night. And it’s just funny that they played “Again” throughout the whole movie. And then it wasn’t even on the soundtrack.

Miguel: But something I noticed as the credits were rolling, that wasn’t “Again” that they were playing. That was “Justice’s Theme”[11] that they were playing throughout the movie.

Christina: Yeah. They had it like, it was, you know, slightly different in terms of the instruments, but it’s kind of like in Star Wars where they keep playing that march song.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And they’ll have like all different versions of it. That was basically what they were doing.

Miguel: Just like the Tupac “Pain,” not being on a cassette, but it’s on the CD version of the Above the Rim, which still bothers me.

Christina: But at least we can stream it now.

Miguel: We can. “Pain” is now on streaming services. Yay, raise the roof!

Christina: Speaking of Tupac, he was also in Poetic Justice.

Miguel: Yes playing Lawrence “Lucky.”

Christina: Aw, they were so cute. It was very a very cute movie.

Miguel: This was my second time seeing it. And I still have the exact same questions that I had back in 1993, when it first came out.

Christina: What’s that?

Miguel: Same thing I kept telling you the entire time we’re watching it. It’s like, what route are they taking from LA to Oakland?

Christina: We looked it up.

Miguel: We did. And it seems that they were driving from north of Oakland, south down to Oakland, rather than driving north up to Oakland.

Christina: Yep. They’re supposed to go north from LA to Oakland. But they were already past Oakland and ended up having to drive south back down to Oakland, but—

Miguel: Like all the places that they were stopping at, we looked up the locations and they were all north of Oakland.

Christina: Maybe they just made for a better shooting scenes...locations.

Miguel: It did because they’re just driving on this little two lane highway, which probably would take an additional two hours to get to because it’s already a five hour trip from LA to Oakland. And I’m like, where in the hell are they going? Why are they not on the freeway?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: At least take Pacific Coast Highway if you’re going to do this, but they driving through the goddamn mountains.

Christina: I don’t know.

Miguel: It made no sense me.

Christina: They needed the backdrop.

Miguel: I think that John Singleton just couldn’t get a permit to shoot on the freeway.

Christina: It’s possible, but the freeway wouldn’t be as picturesque.

Miguel: It wouldn’t. And people would be stopping and looking at Tupac and Guy Torry fighting.

Christina: And how could Tupac try to throw his brush over the side of the mountain if they were on the freeway?

Miguel: That’s true.

Christina: He still wasn’t able to, but he tried.

Miguel: He wasn’t because it flew out of his hand when he tried to throw it, but still.

Christina: Well, this movie coming out the same time basically as the album. Like the two things are kind of ingrained together for me.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And at the fact that they kept playing quote “Justice’s Theme” throughout / “Again” also makes it seem like they’re one and the same, but I definitely enjoyed the rewatch of the movie. And this was not really a re-listen of janet. I listen to this, not as often as some other stuff I listen to, but it wasn’t like, ooh, haven’t listened to this in a while.

Miguel: Yeah, this was the first time I listened to this album in years. I don’t even remember the last time I listened to it before this week.

Christina: I would say I probably listened to it at least sometime in the last six months or at least...

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: a couple of songs.

Miguel: Yeah. It’s been a while since I listened to this album.

Christina: Or maybe watch some videos or something. I’m sure I’ve probably gone down some, I’m going to watch some Janet choreo on YouTube. What’s it called when you go down...?

Miguel: A rabbit hole.

Christina: Rabbit hole, yes. I think I check in every now and again and see if I still remember the choreo.

[music break]

Miguel: Also around this time is when she did The Velvet Rope. And if we’re talking about the Janet from “Funny How Time Flies” wason the janet. album, the Janet on The Velvet Rope, it’s something completely different. It’s a whole different animal on this album.

Christina: She’s grown up some more.

Miguel: Yeah. That’s one way of putting it. The freak has come out, completely.

Christina: This is Miss Janet if you nasty.

Miguel: Like I am nasty. I just didn’t know it back then, but I’m nasty.

Christina: Well, I mean, we saw it in janet. as well, but this was like...

Miguel: Yeah. It’s out there.

Christina: It’s all out there. Yeah. This was like, nipple ring Janet, tie me up Janet.

Miguel: All that. She was here for all of it.

Christina: And this was also red hair Janet.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I love red hair Janet.

Miguel: That’s when we got our first glimpse of that. And just listening to the album. What was it yesterday or day before? The fact that she’s on the phone calling her homegirl and flicking the bean at the same time.

Christina: Ooooh. And her friend is just like, girl, you nasty.

Miguel: Like, what are you doing?

Christina: She was not quite unfazed, but she wasn’t as fazed as she should be.

Miguel: Which tells me that this happens all the time.

Christina: What’d she say? “Your coochie gon’ swell up and fall apart.”

Miguel: Something like that.

Christina: Like, why are you calling me right now?

Miguel: You couldn’t wait to go ahead and finish this off? You trying to have a conversation about “we going out tonight?” This is unnecessary. We didn’t need that. But that’s the Janet that we have at this point in time.

Christina: Well I was telling you, I saw someone say on Twitter, Janet, well Janet loves her interludes.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: Her interludes is either “racism is bad” or “I need some sex.”

Miguel: Either or.

Christina: There’s nothing in between. Really.

Miguel: Either or.

Christina: Yeah. This was also a great album. The hits continue. This was released in 1997. So by this point she’s had quite the run. Because you have Control coming out 1986. So this is like 11 years after Control and she’s still up here. That’s what happens when you get to do what you want?

Miguel: Basically. It’s like I don’t need to follow the Jackson blueprint that Joe laid out for me over here. I’m going to go over here and do my own thing. And it worked.

Christina: This one felt like she was experimenting a little bit more with like, I wouldn’t say hip hop sound, but like she had the “I Get Lonely” remix with Blackstreet. She had Q-Tip on “Got ‘til It’s Gone.” So I feel like she was kind of toning down the pop a little bit on this album.

Miguel: Right. Well with “Got ‘til It’s Gone,” there’s a little bit of controversy over this.

Christina: Oh?

Miguel: J-Dilla says that they produced the record, him Ali and Q-Tip and not Jimmy and Terry.

Christina: Hmmmm.

Miguel: He’s always stood by this. He can’t prove it. And Jimmy says that they heard one of his remixes for The Brand New Heavies[12] that had Q-Tip on it. And they were inspired by that. So they tried to make a J-Dilla type beat. I can’t confirm what actually happened. And I love Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Anybody who has heard this podcast, know I’m always singing their praises. They hadn’t made anything before that, that sounded like this song or anything since. That’s all I’m saying.

Christina: Well, all I’m going to say is that’s my favorite song on this album.

Miguel: Me too. Because it sounds like the stuff that, well, they called their production team, The Ummah. J-Dilla, Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. So all of the Tribe Called Quest stuff and the Busta Rhymes stuff and the D’Angelo stuff that they were doing, sounds like this.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So that’s why I think he’s telling the truth about it. They just didn’t get the credit for it.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Because it’s really coincidental or not even coincidental to have that sound and you just happened to say, let’s put Q-Tip on it too. If Q-Tip wasn’t on the song and they just made it, I’ll give it you. But it sounds like that and Q-Tip is on it? Just saying there’s, there might be something there.

Christina: Okay, okay.

Miguel: And then him making a remix to it, an official remix too. And it’s called “Jay Dee’s Revenge Remix[13]” That tells me he might be telling truth.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: But he’s no longer with us to confirm.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: But the interview I saw, he was adamant that they did that beat.

Christina: Okay. Well, this song, as I was saying, had more of like a hip hop influence to it. Janet is one of the very few artists that I like that are not more traditionally hip hop/R&B. But of course, when she does dabble in that, I’m going to like it.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: So, because that’s where I usually live. So it’s no surprise that this one would be my favorite song of this off of this album. But the fact that Janet is, to me, she’s more of a pop artist, but that I just loved her through my, you know, not really knowing what I like to being firmly into knowing what I like. But somehow Janet still makes her way through there all the time. And I like songs that I normally wouldn’t like. Like her, club hits and stuff.

Miguel: Yeah there’s a lot of stuff that I shouldn’t like but I do.

Christina: Yeah. Was it The Velvet Rope where she has that [mimics song]. What’s that song called?

Miguel: I don’t know what you’re doing right now.

Christina: I don’t have the listing in front of me. But anyway, she has like, you know, those club hits. I think back in those days they called them “club kids.”

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Where they’d wear like crazy outfits. I remember she performed it on, I think on Saturday Night Live[14] and this one guy had the hat with the horns on it.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Just had all these wacky outfits.

Miguel: I don’t remember that. So I’m going to have to look this one up.

Christina: Oh, yeah, you need—”Throb.” That’s what it’s called. And normally I hate songs with moaning and groaning on it, but I’ll make the exception for Janet. It seemed to fit. I mean, the song is called “Throb.”

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: And it’s meant for those kinds of environments where people don’t mind hearing this stuff.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But yeah like, I would never like a song, like “Throb.” It’s rare that I would like a song like that.

Miguel: Yeah, same.

Christina: Even just like, “What’ll I Do.” I think that’s on the janet. album actually, but it has more of like a rock-ish sound.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Like I usually don’t— “Funky Big Band.” Like she has a lot of just songs in genres that I would normally not like, but I like it.

Miguel: Yeah, same. There are a whole lot of songs that I only accept from her.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And I don’t know why I like them. I just do. But also, you know I have this weird fascination with Kylie Minogue’s Fever album. And I can’t understand why. It makes no sense to me, but I love that damn album.

Christina: I don’t—

Miguel: Way more than a Black man from Los Angeles should.

Christina: Who grew up listening to Run-DMC, NWA and such.

Miguel: Who grew up listening to NWA, loves Kylie Minogue’s Fever album.

Christina: Your musical interest is actually wider than mine, but that’s a little bit weird.

Miguel: Yeah. That one even surprises me. And I don’t know why I love it so much.

Christina: Am I going to catch you doing some dancing to “Throb?”

Miguel: No, no, you’re not going to see doing any oontz, oontz, I’m in the Ibiza club—

Christina: With your shirt off.

Miguel: Just swinging it over my head and sweating.

Christina: Some shorts, little booty shorts.

Miguel: Yeah. “Popped a molly, I’m sweating.” Won’t be seeing any of that.

Christina: Until they throw on some Kylie.

Miguel: Naw. Even then, no.

[music break]

Miguel: So also around this time is when she did The Nutty Professor Part II.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: Even though she’s in the movie, the movie is basically Eddie Murphy playing 80 different people.

Christina: As he does.

Miguel: Yeah, so she didn’t really have that big of a role, even though she’s the second star in the movie. It’s all about him and his multiple characters. To me anybody could have been in that role because the movie before it was Jada Pinkett playing his love interest. And now it’s Janet Jackson. So she really didn’t have much to show, but it was still a cool movie.

Christina: I don’t remember if I watched it. I think the most I remember of that movie was her song, “Doesn’t Really Matter.”

Miguel: It was on a couple of weeks ago when you walked through and it was on TV and I was looking at it.

Christina: Right, right. But I don’t think I’ve personally watched the movie. I’m not sure.

Miguel: I’ve seen it a few times. I shouldn’t say this, but if you’ve got nothing else to do, and this movie is on, don’t watch it. You can find something else to do. Don’t watch this movie. It’s not worth your time or effort to track down Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

Christina: Just go listen to “Doesn’t Really Matter” instead.

Miguel: Yeah. Just skip straight to the soundtrack.

Christina: And then you can see some clips in the video.

Miguel: Yeah. You can just listen to the soundtrack. You don’t need to watch the movie. It’s not very good.

Christina: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I had the soundtrack and that’s probably why I feel like I might’ve watched the movie, but I don’t think I did.

Miguel: Yeah. If you want to see Eddie Murphy play several people, watch it.

Christina: I guess.

Miguel: But if you want to see a movie with a good plot, no, this is not it. The first one was way better.

Christina: So with The Velvet Rope, as I said, this is like a 11 year reign.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And when I say 11, I mean from her independent career.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Because as we said, she’s been doing stuff way—since she was born, basically.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So right from Control, she was already, breaking barriers, right? But at this point, she is set in the game, which of course is going to influence a lot of artists coming after her.

Miguel: At this time, this is what I always looked at as ‘80s, ‘90s, early 2000s, pop music in terms of female artists. Whitney Houston, Madonna, Mariah, and Janet. That’s your Mount Rushmore.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And everything trickles down from them and they’re all different. So each of them influenced different stars that we knew who came after. Who were the people that you think trickled down from the Janet portion of Mount Rushmore?

Christina: Well I think the most obvious is Britney Spears.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because just the, the extensive choreography and the showmanship, especially in her—I mean, I didn’t, I don’t follow Britney Spears career too closely, so maybe not the “(Hit Me) ...Baby One More Time,” since that was her first single and she had dancing and stuff, but it was more bubblegum, I guess. But when you see later on, like when she started doing the major choreography, I’m a “Slave 4 You” and stuff around that time. And probably a little bit before. Like I said, I don’t know her career too much. I actually ended up watching the video for “Boys” because I had read that I’m a “Slave 4 You” and “Boys” was actually written for All For You, but I guess she didn’t want it. And Britney took it. So when I watched the video for “Boys,” I’m like, this is basically “Nasty.” And I think it’s pretty clear. And I think she’s also said that Janet is a huge influence on her, but when I watched it I’m like, this is like me in my living room, pretending to be Janet, is like, that’s what Britney’s doing. Right? Like...

Miguel: In front of people.

Christina: Yeah. Like she, and this is no shade to Britney. I’m just saying when you watch her, like, I can’t unsee Janet.

Miguel: Yeah. Everyone else who I think of it’s just small bits and pieces.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: But Britney basically took the entire Janet package and downloaded it. And again, no shade towards Britney, but she was definitely influenced by Janet Jackson.

Christina: For sure.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Pretty much, I think any, especially any female artist that dances a lot, they have to be influenced by Janet, right? But I think the difference with her is like, it’s Janet 101.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Even the, this little hip move the Janet kinda always does. Like the non choreographed stuff is Janet. The little hip move, the little “aha ha” that she’s always like laughing through her songs. Just these little, what is the word? Like gestures and stuff is very Janet. And because like I said, I don’t follow Britney’s career that much, I didn’t realize how obvious it wasn’t until I actually sat down and watched a couple videos and watched her I’m like, that’s Janet.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Britney fans don’t come from me. This is no shade. It’s just an observation.

Miguel: It’s true. You, even if you’re a huge Britney fan, you have to acknowledge that’s where she got it from. It’s funny that she has these songs that were originally written for Janet and Justin Timberlake has these songs that were originally written for Michael Jackson and turned down. I’m not saying anything else. I’m just putting that out there. Everything comes from the Jacksons.

Christina: They’re also influenced by other people as well.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So everything kind of, everybody kind of shares whether they want to or not.

Miguel: Yeah. But with Janet it’s a lot more obvious with the people that she’s influenced. ‘Cause you got Ciara who is a definite Janet disciple. J-Lo was literally there studying from the background.

Christina: J-Lo was her dancer.

Miguel: So she had an up close and personal look at it.

Christina: Yeah

Miguel: Christina Aguilar tried it.

Christina: She’s not much of a dancer.

Miguel: Even though when she tried to do the “Dirrrty” song with Redman, that was very Janet. That was her version of trying to be Janet.

Christina: I can see that.

Miguel: The whole Xtina phase, that’s Janet Jackson.

Christina: That’s very “You Want This.”

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: The 1993 Janet.

Miguel: Right. Even Lady Gaga, there’s some Janet there too. Like more people think Madonna when it comes to Lady Gaga but there’s a lot of Janet in there too.

Christina: There’s a lot of Madonna too, though.

Miguel: There’s definitely a lot of Madonna, but there’s a lot of Janet there too.

Christina: Teyana Taylor. That dance she did in one of Kanye videos where she was in the gym.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: That very much reminded me of early “Pleasure Principle” type of Janet.

Miguel: Yeah. And just a couple months ago, Normani performed with Teyana Taylor.

Christina: And did the exact—

Miguel: Strapping her to the cross and giving her a lap dance on stage.

Christina: Which I just showed you earlier from one of her concerts[15].

Miguel: That dude was killing me. He was just shaking.

Christina: So she definitely influenced the girls and probably some boys.

Miguel: Yeah. Definitely. Like you can’t say that Usher and Justin Timberlake and Mario and Neyo weren’t influenced by Janet as well.

Christina: Okay. So she’s had this 10 plus year reign, but she’s not done yet.

Miguel: Nope.

Christina: Because All For You comes out in 2001 and I feel like she went back to that carefree, hot girl summer vibes that we had from janet. in All For You.

Miguel: Because she had just gotten divorced.

Christina: Divorce party!

Miguel: Basically.

Christina: In “Son of a Gun.” Ooh, “stupid bitch, in my beach house.” I think that was Rene she was talking about.

Miguel: Duh.

Christina: I do get some delight hearing her call someone is stupid bitch.

Miguel: I’m pretty sure it’s about him.

Christina: It might not be about him.

Miguel: That’s true.

Christina: “I bet you think the song is about you.”

Miguel: Because it does sample, what’s her name? Carly Simon.

Christina: Yep.

Miguel: “You’re So Vain.”

Christina: “I bet you think this song is about you.”

Miguel: Maybe it’s not about Rene, it’s about someone else, but Rene thinks it’s about him because that’s how vain he is.

Christina: And he’ll never know.

Miguel: Nope, ‘cause she’s not going to confirm it.

Christina: I really like Carly Simon on this song. Like it works. I mean, obviously it’s her song that they’re sampling, but it sounds good to have her also singing on the song. Cause you know, a lot of times samples are generally not used as is. It’s reworked to fit the song, but actually having her come on and sing on the song too. And do her little spoken word stuff. I’m like, this works!

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Oh, “All For You” also, the song, the single broke some more records.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So upon its debut, it was the first song in history to be added to every pop, urban, and rhythmic radio station within its first week of release.

Miguel: Oh, okay. I did not know that.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: And it’s going to tie into something that I’m going to talk about later. So I’m glad you brought that up. That’s very interesting.

Christina: So this one, she had Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, as usual work on it, but she also had some songs with the Rockwilder. The? Or just Rockwilder?

Miguel: No, just Rockwilder.

Christina: Okay. The song, “Da Rockwilder.” I think I’m getting them mixed up. So of course this is delightful for me because then we get a little bit hip-hop-ish, for Janet.

Miguel: It doesn’t go too far.

Christina: Not too far. She’s still in her lane.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But we get a little bit of that influence, which of course I would like.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Which kind of leads into, well, my favorite song, which is “Feel So Right,” which Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis is credited on it, but Rockwilder is also credited on it. And it sounds like him. It kind of sounds like Janet’s version of “Da Rockwilder,” like that kind of, you know, that sound. So that one’s my favorite song on this album though, there’s a bunch that I love. Like I love “All For You.” I love “When We Ooh,” “Son of a Gun.” So there’s some good stuff on here.

Miguel: Yeah, this is probably my favorite Janet album. And you know, the song has been stuck in my head for two weeks, “Come On Get Up.”

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: It’s not my favorite song on the album, but it’s been stuck in my head for two damn weeks.

Christina: It’s your favorite song now.

Miguel: It’s my favorite song now.

Christina: You got no choice.

Miguel: I didn’t want it to be, but it is.

Christina: It’s a good one, though.

Miguel: But it’s just been stuck in my head for two weeks and I can’t get it out no matter how many different Janet Jackson songs I’ve listened to over that same period of time. This one, it’s still in my head. I’m singing it right now.

Christina: Well now I’m singing it cause you put it in my head.

Miguel: It’s not my favorite, but I like it. My favorite is actually “China Love.” That’s my favorite one.

Christina: I like that one too.

Miguel: Like I said, there’s a theme when it comes to Janet Jackson and my favorite songs.

Christina: Mmhmm, ****the ones that you can daydream too.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: Oh, me and Janet.

Miguel: Just hanging out on the beach.

[music break]

Christina: Yeah. So this one... it’s kind of crazy that she just had hit after hit, after hit. Like it’s so hard to stay relevant, but this is how many albums is that now? So we got Control, Rhythm Nation, janet., Velvet Rope, All For You. So that’s five albums in a row.

Miguel: Yeah, and it got to the point where I don’t know if it was this album or the one before it, but she had signed the biggest recording contract in music history. And you just don’t give that kind of money to anybody. That means that she’s a star.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: But what’s funny is I was just looking at Janet’s popularity throughout the years. And I kept seeing people from outside of North America saying that she’s not that big. So my homies in the UK can confirm this, hit me up on Twitter and let us know, that she wasn’t being promoted outside of North America. Which is weird to think because it’s Janet Jackson.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: But there’s so many people that’s like, you know what? She wasn’t really played like in the UK and Australia. Like, you would hear a few things about her, but not like she was getting here in Canada and US.

Christina: Hmm, interesting.

Miguel: Which is surprising considering that you’re paying her all this money, you’re not pushing her out everywhere. I find that to be weird. Or maybe these people were just lying. So if you live in countries outside of North America hit us up and let us know what it was like for you listening to Janet Jackson in those days.

Christina: I’m curious.

Miguel: Me too, because I just assumed that she was everywhere.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: All right so, with that wrapped up, let’s talk a little bit about the Damita Jo album.

Christina: So... this is where it kind of goes off for me.

Miguel: Yeah, same. And it’s not because I didn’t like it. Like you always say, it’s just, it was a different way of us consuming music at the time. So I really only know the singles.

Christina: Yeah. And just like pretty much all the other artists that we’ve talked about that have had careers that have spanned a long time, this is the same timeframe where I just kind of lost interest in general. So that’s that early, mid 2000s. This is probably the first time I’ve listened to the whole album, but again, by this time streaming and stuff was pretty normal. And so we started to become more singles driven. So I have another theory about why I sort of lost more interest in new music. It’s not to say that I didn’t grow and learn and change anymore, but at this age, things in my life didn’t change as much. Whereas you do so much growing from like 10 years old to 30. Right?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And cause so much of music is, as we’ve seen with these YouTube comments, is tied to things that are going on in your life.

Miguel: Yeah, real specific moments. My dog died. And then the ghost came back—

Christina: My husband died...

Miguel: And killed my husband.

Christina: These YouTube comments are wild. Like it’s a therapy session in there.

Miguel: It is.

Christina: And so a lot of—when I think about the songs and the music and the artists that I love, a lot of it is tied to either specific events or even just a specific point in time. Like I remember being a teenager. I remember my first breakup. I remember like in these life events and stuff just didn’t really happen that much after that time period, like things are kind of just the same.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And so I feel like, because I just don’t have this personal connection to a lot of music after that time. That’s probably why it just doesn’t really stick out to me as much. Whereas we bring up “If.” I can’t not try to do the choreography, you know? Because that was a thing that was like important to me at the time. And so all of this music tied with just where I was at in my life, I was just...I dunno, if I was feeling something, I already have a whole arsenal music to go to. But also I think like we grew up with Janet throughout like late ‘80s and ‘90s, and now we’re hitting the 2000s where we expect a certain sound from her, but she’s also trying to stay current.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Now I’m old enough to that, I don’t necessarily want to listen to current music, per se.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So there’s just that like, who’s her audience now? Kind of like when we talked about Usher after he blew up, the music kind of changed.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because now he has a different kind of audience.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And she has like a different audience. Now there are people like us who grew up with her. She’s got people who maybe just discovered her in “All For You.”

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And so I think as an artist, then now they have to try to maybe keep up with their new audience or try to stay fresh and current. Then the sound just kind of changes.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: It’s not what I want to hear from her anymore.

Miguel: Right. Another issue with this album is it came out two months after the Superbowl.

Christina: Yeeeaah.

Miguel: So it didn’t get promoted at all. So the usual channels that we would hear the music on the radio, videos being played, all of that was taken away.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. I knew that people weren’t fucking with her. But I didn’t realize the campaign that Les Moonves had against her.

Christina: I didn’t know either.

Miguel: Basically after it happened, they were supposed to be performing on the Grammys as well. Her and Justin Timberlake. She didn’t perform. Justin did. Even though Les Moonves said they were both banned. Allegedly, he wanted them to come to his office and apologize in person. As if they did something to him personally.

Christina: I’m rolling my eyes.

Miguel: He wanted them to see each individually, come to his office and basically kiss the ring, and she didn’t do it. Justin did. He got to perform on the Grammy’s and we know how his career went.

Christina: Mmmhmm.

Miguel: Les Moonves being the chairman of ViacomCBS basically had Janet banned from all CBS stations. So MTV, BET, VH1.

Christina: Wow.

Miguel: Nickelodeon, Country music channel (CMT). She couldn’t even be on the country music channel, Showtime, all of that. Shut that shit down. All radio stations owned by ViacomCBS. Shut that down. We’re not just talking about the United States. We’re talking globally.

Christina: So did that single[16] come out before all this? Cause I literally only know that one song.

Miguel: I don’t know when that one came out, but everything he had shut down.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And like I said, we’re talking globally,

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Like all the MTV networks. We’re talking to MTV Australia, Brazil, Europe, anywhere there’s a Viacom property. Janet couldn’t be played on it.

Christina: That’s a lot.

Miguel: All because she wouldn’t come kiss his ass and beg for forgiveness. When it happened to her.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: She didn’t do it. She didn’t rip her titty and show it.

Christina: She didn’t.

Miguel: Justin did it. But she took the blame for it and—

Christina: Which makes no sense because obviously this was a performance they did together and yes, he was supposed to rip off something but—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: She was the one who bore the brunt of this “wardrobe malfunction.”

Miguel: Yep. And he says that she did it on purpose for publicity. And that’s why that and her—

Christina: How did she do it on purpose if he’s part of it?

Miguel: I don’t know. You gotta ask Les Moonves. But he would not allow anything Janet Jackson to be played anywhere. Oh you don’t want to come bow down and kiss the ring. Fuck you. I’m going to end your career. And that’s basically what he did for quite a while. Because it was years before she was...actually, she’s just now getting back to being out in the public eye.

Christina: Yeah, because these next few albums, I just kind of chopped it up to just me. Like I just kind of stopped listening to stuff.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I hear the songs here and there. Like “My Baby” from Damita Jo to “Call On Me.” Like this couple songs here and there in the next three albums, I don’t really know them.

[music break]

Miguel: I remember listening to the 20 Y.O. when it first came out. I didn’t really like it because it basically sounds like The Emancipation of Mimi.

Christina: Mmm.

Miguel: Cause that had just come out the year before.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So it’s the three of them, but they added Jermaine to the mix. And basically he was giving them what sounded to me like Mariah type production.

Christina: Yeah. It’s funny that it didn’t work because I like what he does with Mariah, but I didn’t like this.

Miguel: Yeah, exactly. Like that only works for her, at least in my opinion. Like, it sounds weird with Janet on it, if that makes any sense. ‘Cause he was on the first half of the album and then the second half was just the three of them again. It works for Mariah. It just didn’t work—

Christina: For Janet.

Miguel: For Janet, at least to me.

Christina: Which kind of sucks. Cause this was like her 20 year anniversary album basically.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But she’s a big enough star that it’s not like you’ll write her off for it.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And it wasn’t bad. It just..

Miguel: No just didn’t work for me. Although one of the songs that I do like is “Do It To Me” and that’s one of the JD songs. So I’ll give him a pass on that one.

Christina: Yeah. I normally like Jermaine Dupri’s production, but this just didn’t work for me.

Miguel: And I don’t understand why.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Just didn’t.

Christina: Well the next one Discipline, I don’t know none of these songs.

Miguel: I do. I actually listened to that one because I was curious just to see how it would sound and she hadn’t been around in couple years, so I checked it out.

Christina: Well the one after that, she took a break after this. I’m guessing probably at this point she was just like, let me just regroup.

Miguel: Well, she had gotten married again.

Christina: Oh yeah.

Miguel: And had a baby so she was doing other stuff.

Christina: Living life.

Miguel: She was living like real life stuff.

Christina: Right right right.

Miguel: She had gotten back into acting too. So she was a little busier.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And probably still dealing with the whole Super Bowl mess. Like you know what? This shit ain’t worth it. Let me go and start a family and get back to my first love, acting.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Yeah I didn’t listen to that album at all. I’ve never heard it.

Christina: Yeah. I recognize the album cover.

Miguel: That’s all.

Christina: But yeah. I don’t know any of the songs.

Miguel: So I’m going to listen to it tomorrow.

Christina: Oh, you haven’t listened to it?

Miguel: Nope. I haven’t listened to it at all.

Christina: So this one’s no...Jam and Lewis is not on it. It’s mostly Jermaine and some Rodney Jerkins.

Miguel: Oh Discipline. Oh I we were talking about Unbreakable. So, Discipline I have heard.

Christina: Okay. So Unbreakable is, I guess, can you call it comeback? Because Discipline was 2008. Unbreakable came out 2015.

Miguel: That’s a bit of a comeback cause—

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: That’s what I thought you were talking about.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: So that’s why I said she had had the kid and married and stuff. So disregard everything I said before that.

Christina: All right. Well, I liked this album because...so she’s back with Jam and Lewis for this album. And it feels like what I was saying how when an artist has been around for a long time, you kind of have certain expectations of what they sound like. But she still manages to stay current. So my favorite song on this album, I don’t really know this album well, but I remember hearing “No Sleeep,” with J. Cole.

Miguel: Yeah, that’s only one that I’ve heard.

Christina: Yeah. And I was like, Janet’s back! Because it was like, I loved the song because it sounds like Janet with Jam and Lewis, but I think at this time J. Cole, that was when he was kind like on his rise.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And so she was able to incorporate a current hot artist or whatever and it didn’t sound weird. Like, why is this old lady singing with this young dude or whatever, like, you know what I’m saying?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And I was like, okay, this is the Janet I know and love, but it’s a new song.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But overall again, I think it’s just harder for me to just like the more current music, even if it’s an artist that I’ve listened to for literally decades. But “No Sleeep” definitely encompasses that old sound with the new sound. And that shows that she can still, she still got it.

Miguel: Right. Like she hasn’t completely fallen off and we need to put her in a rocking chair somewhere. It’s not that time yet.

Christina: Nope.

Miguel: Yeah. That’s the only song on the album that I’ve listened to. So like I was saying earlier, when I thought we were talking about it, I will listen to the rest of the album.

Christina: I don’t really remember the songs off the top of my head, other than “No Sleeep.” But I remember thinking like, okay, I could get with this. Like, this is a current version of old stuff, I guess. Kind of like, again, back to when we were talking about Usher, how for us, we had that little drop and then that last album, A…no, not A.

Miguel: A was the one you didn’t like.

Christina: The one with, he was like in a, they made a rock uhh...

Miguel: Oh, Hard II Love.

Christina: Hard II Love. That was the one where I was like, okay, this feels like the Usher I know.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I would say the same for this album. This feels like the Janet I know. Even though it’s 2015.

Miguel: I will definitely check it out. I will add it to my list right now.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Done. It’s downloading.

Christina: All right. So that’s pretty much it for the music. She’s had some singles here and there, but for the most part...

Miguel: No album since then. I read that she is working on an album and it was supposed to come out, what are we in now, 2022? It was supposed to come out two years ago, but COVID.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Because I saw her actually like going on talk shows, promoting it and whatnot saying that the album’s coming. Who knows when it’s going to come out now because...

Christina: COVID.

Miguel: Yeah. But she said it’s called Black Diamond.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And there was a tour planned and all that stuff. So it’s probably still coming.

Christina: We’ll see.

Miguel: We do know that the documentary is airing tonight. So there’s... it’s the 40th anniversary of her first album.

Christina: Tonight as in the night of us recording this?

Miguel: No the night that this is coming out.

Christina: Okay because we record a couple of weeks early.

Miguel: Yeah. So January 28th it’s a two night event. It’s produced by her and her brother. So you getting it straight from her for the first time ever. A two night and we get to find out pretty much everything.

Christina: Okay okay.

[music break]

Miguel: So I want to ask you, now that we’ve wrapped all of this up, actually two things. What is your favorite Janet Jackson moment? And what is your favorite Janet Jackson era?

Christina: All right. I’m going to answer the favorite Janet Jackson era first.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Because that’s going to lead into my favorite moment. So definitely 1993, hot girl summer, carefree Janet. That’s my favorite. I just love it. And also, as I was saying, I think it’s just that emotional attachment to it. I was as a teenager and stuff when this came out and learning all the dance moves, and it’s just all about hanging out with your friends.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And also 1993 for me was kind of like the pivotal year of just coming into my own and stuff too. So it kind of all comes together.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So my favorite Janet moment though, I can’t get over her and Tupac fighting in um...

Miguel: Poetic Justice.

Christina: Poetic Justice. “I betta not see your ass in LA!” I, you know, I say this...

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: All the time, just because.

Miguel: Them going back and forth. “Fuck you!” “Fuck you!” “Fuck you!” “Fuck you!”

Christina: Yes. That is my favorite Janet moment, but definitely the, “I betta not see your ass in LA!”

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And then also after she gets mad and gets out of the car and they eventually coax her back into—or not the car, the postal truck, and she goes to him, “they still gon’ to fuck you up.” And then him and Chicago are making fun of her when they closed the door. “They still gon’ to fuck you up.” I love that so much.

Miguel: And he winked at her when she said it too.

Christina: Oh I didn’t catch that.

Miguel: Yeah. As soon as she said that and got in he just winked at her. Like yeah I’m not taking you seriously woman. Just get in the truck.

Christina: “I betta not see your ass in LA!” and “They still gon’ fuck you up” is my favorite. I don’t know. I love it so much.

Miguel: So for me I’m going to start with my favorite Janet moments.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: So we’re going to take it all the way back.

Christina: Alright.

Miguel: To Good Times. Just those episodes where before she got adopted by Willona. When she was making up all those stories and lies about her injuries and why she was downtown.

Christina: Yep.

Miguel: So just her making up lies and stories like that and telling people stuff like her name was Esmerelda. And she fell on her cat.

Christina: Her pussycat.

Miguel: Yes, her pussycat. She fell over her pussycat. Knocked the Cream of Wheat off the stove or whatever and burned her arm.

Christina: Yep.

Miguel: So that’s my favorite Janet moment.

Christina: [laughing] What? Why?

Miguel: Is that stretch of episodes just because she was lying all the time. And they were bad lies too.

Christina: She was a child being abused.

Miguel: She was. She was a child being abused—

Christina: Trying to protect her mama.

Miguel: But even when she wasn’t lying about the abuse she was lying about everything. About her name being Esmerelda. And JJ saw her, he met her on the bus when she was begging for change to get home. And the reason she was down there she was trying to go see a Mae West movie. But then she tells Thelma that some kids hijacked the bus and it was like “Take me downtown!”

Christina: That was... I couldn’t stop laughing. “Take me downtown!”

Miguel: So just lies like that. Those are my favorite Janet moments.

Christina: Aww, little Janet. Trying to live in her fantasy world.

Miguel: Yes. So that’s my favorite Janet moment. And my favorite Janet era is going to be the Rhythm Nation to Velvet Rope run from like ‘89 to 2000.

Christina: That whole stretch is one era for you?

Miguel: It is, because—

Christina: It was never ending actually It was just bang, bang, bang.

Miguel: Yeah, ‘cause if you look at it, her career is broken down in like 10 year groups.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And that 10, 11 year run is my favorite era because Control is like, “Hey, I’m here. I’m not Michael and Latoya and Tito and Jermaine’s little sister, no more. I’m a real person.” And then she actually grew into the Janet that we know, in that era.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: ‘Cause after The Velvet Rope, like All For You, she was in the stratosphere at that point.

Christina: Yeah, I’m here. This is me.

Miguel: Yeah she’s the biggest star in the world, at least to me. But apparently not. Only in North America.

Christina: Apparently.

Miguel: So that is my favorite era.

[music break]

Christina: Well, I didn’t dive too much into the Billboard stuff just because there’s so much, but I do want to do a little guessing game, trivia with you.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So you know how we always talk about the difference between The Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Right?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So despite her being this huge pop star, she still gets more love on the R&B/hip hop charts.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: Not surprisingly. So in The Hot 100, she had 10 number one hits and 27 top 10 hits. And then the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, she had 16 number one hits and 31 top 10 hits. So of her number one hits, I would like you to guess what you think was the number one hit that charted the longest.

Miguel: The longest?

Christina: On The Hot 100 first and then we’ll do the other one after. So what number one hit charted the longest on The Hot 100?

Miguel: The longest? Hmmm. Let me think about this. Alright, I’m going to pull it up and see if I can guess from her discography here. Longest one...

Christina: And this is Hot 100, so you know what that means.

Miguel: On The Hot 100.

Christina: The general public, wink wink.

Miguel: I’m going to say it’s on either the All For You album or Velvet Rope.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: One of those two. Now let me look at All For You. No. It’s not that.

Christina: Okay, okay.

Miguel: The Velvet Rope we have...I’m going to say “Together Again.”

Christina: You’re right. Ding! Ding! “Together Again,” 46 weeks total on the chart.

Miguel: Boom.

Christina: And then it was her longest plus number one hit on the charts.

Miguel: I didn’t pull it from memory, but when I saw it...

Christina: Yeah I mean—

Miguel: I got it.

Christina: You didn’t cheat in terms of looking at the Billboard though.

Miguel: I didn’t look at, look up the stat.

Christina: All right. So what do you think is the longest number one hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs songs?

Miguel: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. I’m going to say that it’s probably something from ControI. “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

Christina: Nope that was one of the number one hits, but not longest on the charts.

Miguel: It’s not “Dream Street.”

Christina: Nope. So “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” was on the charts for 20 weeks and this one was on for 33 weeks.

Miguel: 33.

Christina: I’ll give you one more guess.

Miguel: “Rhythm Nation.”

Christina: Nope. It’s “I Get Lonely,” specifically featuring Blackstreet.

Miguel: Okay. Yep I can see it.

Christina: I just thought that was interesting because the Blackstreet version is not on the album.

Miguel: No.

Christina: So this has to be the single then.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: ‘Cause I know there’s a video, there’s two versions.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: There’s a video with and without them. So I’m guessing that means there’s probably a single.

Miguel: Yeah I would think so.

Christina: Yeah I mean, she had many other number ones, but those two were the longest on the charts.

Miguel: Well, I got one of them right. 50%. 50 is better than nothing. All right. You got anything you want to add about Ms. Janet before we get out of here?

Christina: The only thing I want to add is, and I will link to it on the website is if you love Janet and the choreography, as much as I do, I found a video to the making of the janet. album[17].

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So it’s all the behind the scenes stuff of the videos and all that. So I will post that.

Miguel: Okay. On that note, we’re going to get out of here because we’re creeping up on an hour and 45 minutes. So this is going to be quite a long episode.

Christina: Well, it will be edited down, but it will still be long.

Miguel: It’s still going to be about an hour and 20 minutes. So strap in folks. Also we would like to thank you again for listening to They Reminisce Over You.

Christina: Wait a minute. There’s no point in them strapping in now ‘cause we’re done.

Miguel: That’s true. That is true. So if you’ve made it this far, congratulations. And like I said, we thank you again for listening to They Reminisce Over You. Make sure to follow us on social media if you don’t already. If you are following us on social media, send our accounts to a friend so they can follow too. We get these jokes off sometimes though. Get in on the conversation on the bird and on Instagram. Also remember to rate and follow on your podcast service of choice. Also leave us a review if you could, because the better reviews we get, the higher we move up in the rankings.

Christina: Or just a rating. You don’t even have to write anything, just click those five stars.

Miguel: Yeah if you don’t want to write anything, just go ahead and—

Christina: Just put “I like it.”

Miguel: Yes. Exactly. **“**I like this shit.” Five stars. Just do that simple. Also, if you want to listen to a playlist that we’ve done about Janet Jackson, and you’re not listening to the Music + Talk episode where it’s embedded, you can find that on our website as well, or just by searching the title of the episode on Spotify. With that said, we’ll be talking to you guys again in two weeks. Deuces silly gooses.

Christina: Bye.

Miguel: Bye.