September 19, 2019, marks the 30th Anniversary of Janet Jackson’s legendary album Rhythm Nation 1814. It’s a record that covers an incredible variety of themes: socio-political issues ( i.e. racism and classism), love, and heartbreak.
The music is R&B/Soul. Depending on the song, the tempo of the beat varies accordingly. The songs that focus on racism and socio-political issues have a faster pace to them. That’s the case for Rhythm Nation, State of the World, The Knowledge, and Livin’ In a World (They Didn’t Make). The love songs, however, are upbeat and have fast, but smooth rhythm to them. Miss You Much, Love Will Never Do (Without You), Escapade, and Alright are fantastic examples of the upbeat sound. The tunes that cover heartbreak have a substantial and intense tone to them. Examples of this are Lonely and Come Back to Me. The song Black Cat has a powerful sound because of the frustration and anger the protagonist feels. I will describe more in the lyrics. It’s incredible! Someday Is Tonight has a slow beat that is sweet and romantic. The interludes are great segues between songs for a smooth transition in the subject and music. The tempo and rhythm give the album an incredible mix of musical flavours.
Janet Jackson sings with passion, emotion, grace, combined with attitude. Her vocal style can change from fierce to romantic and sweet, to sad smoothly.
The lyrics of the songs are descriptive and capture a specific emotion or subject. They reflect on the issues of the time. Rhythm Nation, State of the World, The Knowledge, and Livin’ In a World (They Didn’t Make) focus on social issues, including racism and improving life for future generations through story-telling. Miss You Much, Love Will Never Do (Without You), Escapade, Alright, and are love songs that are cheerful and give hope of finding true love. Someday Is Tonight also has a romantic feel to the lyrics. Black Cat is about a girl whose partner is up to no good and is angry about it. The music has a powerful sound because of the frustration and anger the protagonist feels. Lonely and Come Back to Me express the pain of heartache meticulously. The interludes with lyrics gave the tone to the next song, flawlessly. The ones that do this are Race, T.V., Hey Baby and No Acid are the interludes. Pledge is an introduction to Rhythm Nation. Livin’… In Complete Darkness is an outro that leaves you thinking after hearing the album. The words are full of feeling and passion.
My favourite songs are Rhythm Nation, Miss You Much, Love Will Never Do (Without You), and Escapade. Rhythm Nation 1814 is my favourite album for Janet Jackson.