In a music industry full of dynamite female acts, who reigns supreme
as the ultimate pop goddess? It’s a daunting question, but we
are determined to find the answer. Let’s get ready to rumble, because
the next round of VH1?s Pop Queen Faceoff continues! Today we’re pitting two of music’s biggest divas — Janet Jackson andMariah Carey— against each other for one glitter-soaked cat fight. Who will come out on top? You decide!
[Artwork: Madelyn Somers]
Janet Jackson (1990)
Janet Jackson is clearly the pop queen of the `90s, with the decade
kicking off while her fourth studio album ruled the airwaves. Rhythm Nation
was actually released in 1989, but the groundbreaking LP was still
churning out Top 10 hits through 1991. According to Billboard, the LP
was the best-selling album of 1990.
Don’t act like you didn’t begin your childhood aimlessly dancing to
“Alright,” “Escapade,” and “Love Will Never Do (Without You).” Plus, who
could forget the video from the album’s title track?
The Rhythm Nation formula obviously worked for Jackson, but she completely reinvented herself for her next LP, simply titled janet.
Before releasing her fifth studio album in 1993, she’d switched record
labels. Jackson hopped from A&M Records to Virgin Records with an
estimated $40 million deal. Her contract ushered in a new era of
multimillion-dollar deals, with Madonna, Prince, and even brother
Michael following behind her.
For the janet. LP, Jackson ditched her sexually conservative
style, opting for a more empowering vibe. Songs like “If” and “Any Time,
Any Place” saw Jackson describe voracious sexual appetites while
maintaining her subdued vocal style. She solidified her sex symbol
status with one of Rolling Stone magazine’s most iconic covers.
[Photo Credit: Rolling Stone]
debuted at the top of Billboard’s Top 200 and stayed there for six
weeks. It remains only a handful of albums to achieve that feat. The
lead single, “That’s The Way Love Goes,” was No. 1 on Billboard’s
singles chart for eight weeks, longer than any song from the Jackson
clan. Remember, we’re talking about an insanely talented family here,
and Miss Jackson totally bested her brothers — yes, even Michael!But it’s all good. Janet and Michael didn’t have any bad blood between them, at least judging from their 1995 hit, “Scream.”
Though janet. signaled great heights for Jackson, she
suffered an emotional breakdown ahead of recording her next album. She
began exploring her pain and her self-discovery inspired new music. Her
final `90s release, 1997’s The Velvet Rope, is still hailed as Jackson’s most personal and ambitious album.
Jackson wasn’t afraid to get freaky, with songs like “Rope Burn”
describing her sexual penchants for bondage and candle wax. She also
retained her pop roots with singles like “Together Again,” which wound
up being Jackson’s highest-selling song globally.
Since Janet Jackson managed various personas throughout the `90s and
still came out on top, there’s no way anyone else owned the decade.
Post-Control and pre-Nipplegate was clearly Jackson’s era as pop queen.
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