Saturday, August 23, 2014

rhythm nation 1814

Janet Jackson sought a better way of life in the socially conscious soulful swing of this anthemic escapade.  With the massive success of her third album 'Control', Janet became a household name; but she was determined to follow her own path with her next album:    "A lot of people wanted me to do another album like 'Control' and that's what I didn't want to do. I wanted to do something that I really believed in and that I really felt strong about...[With 'Control',] I wanted everyone to know how I felt and my views on certain things that happened in the past and how I felt about it; what happened with my life and how I changed my life...'Rhythm Nation' is about what's going in the the world around us...The theme of the album is people united through dance and music, and we've tried to address some important social problems - bigotry, illiteracy, drugs, violence, the homeless - as well as the issue of leaving these problems behind for the next generation, which has no control over any of them...I felt that there are a lot of socially conscious albums out there.  The people that sing the socially conscious songs like Tracey Chapman and the Bob Dillions, are singing them to people who are already socially conscious.  I feel that the people who listen to our music, a lot them are younger.  They are kind of carefree and go from party to party and they don't really stop and look at what's all around them.  I wanted to capture their attention through my music...I think we are doing that...To write these message songs, it was not necessary to do a lot of reading.  It was right there on our face every day on the news. ... I'm not naive—I know an album or a song can't change the world. I just want my music and my dance to catch the audience's attention, and to hold it long enough for them to listen to the lyrics and what we're saying. Hopefully that will inspire them, make them want to join hands ... and make some sort of difference."

She stuck with the production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis that had piloted 'Control' at their Flyte Tyme Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The album make extensive use of synthesizers and sampler, drawing heavily from the funk sound that Prince made famous.  Jam would consider:  "When I think of the Minneapolis sound, really Prince is the one that I think introduced it. I think that it has a lot to do with the diffusing of rock elements, guitars, and that type of thing against synthesizers. But synthesizers not as a solo instrument – a lot of synthesizer work was either a solo instrument or it was a sound effect type instrument. I like to think that in the time of Prince, people in Minneapolis really pioneered the idea of having multiple keyboard players, and having keyboard players playing lines that normally would be reserved for horn sections, but doing them on keyboards, but doing them with sounds that were different. I can't explain it, but Terry always says synthesizers to him always were the instruments...They were just making noise. I think that has a lot to do with it.  And I think the idea that Prince, being the genius that he is, coming from Minneapolis, really put a lot of attention on the city, and everybody said, "Wait, he's from there? What else is up there?" And we were the recipients of the "What else is up there?" thing. There wasn't black radio in Minnesota growing up, and in Minneapolis, there was a sunup to sundown AM soul station that you could maybe get if you were in the right part of town. We didn't really grow up with a lot of that music; we grew up with pop music or rock music. So when we started making our own music, we had no influences naturally with it. But funk was always mixed with the rock, and the rock was always mixed with the keyboards and the synthesizers. And our synthesizers were even different. Rather than using the Moog or the ARC Synthesizers, which were popular in the day, we used Oberheim synthesizers, which had a different sound and a different sonic palette than the Moog. So I just think we just – it was just different. But we really didn't know any better. It was just the way we played and went about it."

'Rhythm Nation 1814' became an international phenomenon, going to thirty-nine in Germany, twenty-eight in the Netherlands, twenty-three in Switzerland, nine in New Zealand, eight in Japan, five in Canada, four in the UK, and number one in Australia and the US.  It became the first album ever to have seven singles all make it to the top five of the Billboard 100 chart.  It was nominated for nine Grammys and won one for Best Long Form Music Video.  'Rhythm Nation 1814' has sold over fourteen million copies worldwide.  

Regarding the 1814 in the title, 'R' is the 18th letter in the alphabet and 'N' is the 14th; but Janet says:  "What actually happened was that while writing 'Rhythm Nation' I was kidding around, saying, 'God, you guys, I feel like this could be the national anthem for the '90s.'   Just by a crazy chance we decided to look up when Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem, and it was September 14, 1814."

'"Pledge' starts out the album with an optimistic declaration:  "We are a nation with no geographic boundries, bound together through our beliefs.  We are like minded individuals, sharing a common vision, pushing toward a world rid of color lines."  'Livin' Complete Darkness' closes on a bleaker note:  "In complete darkness, we are all the same.  It is only our knowledge and wisdom that separate us.  Don't let your eyes deceive you."

"Rhythm Nation"  short film

'Miss You Much' was a number one smash. 

the B-side "You Need Me" was written about Janet's father.

"Rhythm Nation" marched to number two. 

"Escapade" was another chart topper.

"Alright" peaked at number four. 

"Come Back to Me" made it to number two.

"Black Cat" was written and produced by Janet with production assistance from Jellybean Johnson, another former member of The Time who was called in when Lewis and Jam were too overwhelmed with finishing the rest of the album before their deadline.  It became another number one single from the album.  

"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" also went to the top of the charts.  The video shows Janet revealing her sexy side for the first time.  

Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do Without You by jpdc11

'Rhythm Nation 1814' 
full album:

1. "Interlude: Pledge"     0:47
2. "Rhythm Nation"   Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis 5:31
3. "Interlude: T.V."     0:22
4. "State of the World"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis 4:48
5. "Interlude: Race"     0:05
6. "The Knowledge"   Harris, Lewis 3:54
7. "Interlude: Let's Dance"     0:03
8. "Miss You Much"   Harris, Lewis 4:12
9. "Interlude: Come Back"     0:21
10. "Love Will Never Do (Without You)"   Harris, Lewis 5:50
11. "Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)"   Harris, Lewis 4:41
12. "Alright"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis 6:26
13. "Interlude: Hey Baby"     0:10
14. "Escapade"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis 4:44
15. "Interlude: No Acid"     0:05
16. "Black Cat"   Jackson 4:50
17. "Lonely"   Harris, Lewis 4:59
18. "Come Back to Me"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis 5:33
19. "Someday Is Tonight"   Jackson, Harris, Lewis 6:00
20. "Interlude: Livin'...In Complete Darkness"     1:07

the interludes

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