Flying by the seat of my pants is clearly the theme of this year’s blogging project, because as I was doing dishes tonight, I decided to revisit Janet Jackson’s 1993 album janet. What prompted that listening party was an out-of-left-field urge to listen to “That’s The Way Love Goes” – the lead single from the album.
janet. is an anomaly among early Janet Jackson albums because it was the first one I didn’t buy right off the bat. In fact, I don’t think I actually purchased it until 1996, and from a used CD store at that. For some reason, the album did not resonate with me like Control or Rhythm Nation did. Maybe it was the fact that it was less pop and more R&B. Maybe it was because I felt like she was copying Madonna with the overtly sexual material and succeeding whereas Madonna faced bitter backlash when she did the same. Whatever it was I didn’t immediately connect with the album. But time has been kind to it and I recognize it for the iconic record that it is – certainly one of Jackson’s strongest albums and home to some of her most memorable singles.
I can still remember hearing “That’s The Way Love Goes” for the first time during the final few weeks of the spring semester of 1993. I had read about it somewhere – this was pre-Internet so we didn’t know the every move of our favorite artists like we do now and there were certainly no leaks of new material ahead of the release date – and was interested to hear it. I am pretty sure I heard it while listening to the radio on my Walkman and if that does not date me, I don’t know what will. I can’t remember what I thought – I think I was surprised it was not uptempo like “Miss You Much” or “What Have You Done For Me Lately” had been. It subsequently went on to rule the summer airwaves like a juggernaut, inescapable and omnipresent.
(I truly cannot believe the full video is not on YouTube.)
Truth be told, I think it was because I was knee-deep in Reba McEntire’s For My Broken Heart album that I mostly didn’t pay attention to Janet Jackson during that long rainy summer of 1993. Maybe it just wasn’t time for me to connect with the album. It’s hard to know for sure, but it’s also hard to deny the impact of “That’s The Way Love Goes.” I do very vividly remember using the phrase “that’s the way love goes” more than once in journal entries I made during that time – words that would undoubtedly make me shudder with embarrassment at 43 but made perfect sense at 21.
And for my money, the NSYNC version of “That’s The Way Love Goes” is almost as good as Janet’s.
For all the dilly-dallying I did when it came to buying janet., it has now become one of my most sought after vinyl albums. As you can see, it isn’t cheap!