Featured, Music, Pop Culture

Janet Jackson’s Albums Are Better Than Michael’s. Fight Me.

Look. I realize that Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is like the fourth best seller in the world behind The Bible, Qu’ran, and rice. I also realize that Michael Jackson is the gold standard for entertainment. Nearly every person who has decided to become not just a singer, but an entertainer, has in some way traced an outline of Michael Jackson as the consummate performer and entertainer.

Michael’s dance steps are ubiquitous: people will Moonwalk forever, grab their crotches while doing a sideways knee-high kick, and hit that standing jump while pushing their hat to the side while throwing an arm out hitting Heisman’s on all the hoes. Michael Jackson is Michael Jackson and will always be the greatest to ever have done it.

With that being said, Janet Jackson’s albums are better than Michael Jackson’s albums, and by a pretty long shot. As a point of note: I’m mostly talking about albums folks will consider their best which typically includes for Michael: Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous; and for Janet: Rhythm Nation 1814, Janet, Velvet Rope, and /or Control. I did a scientific poll on Facebook and those were the prevailing best albums. So I’m sticking with those.

I hear you looking at me sideways. You might even think I’m smoking some of that boat or maybe a hit a nice rock this morning just after my morning constitutional. You’d be wrong. I’ve never used drugs. Okay, maybe not never, but mostly not most of the time have I ever, and more importantly, I definitely didn’t when coming to this very true and livin’ realization. Zion I, bitches.

Let’s pull over because that ass is too fat for a minute, and revisit how I came to and accepted this discovery. Also, let me say this upfront: nothing about this is a disparagement of Michael Jackson. In talent shows, I performed Michael songs and just like you do, I own Thriller, have Michael Jackson posters, say mama say mama sa mama coosa at red lights, and still think of big-nosed Michael when I pick flowers outside. I love MJ and cried when he passed away. I’m not taking shots. Saying Janet’s albums are better is an opinion that’s like saying pizza is better than Popeye’s chicken: they’re both great and pain is love.

What? Exactly.

Back to the lecture at hand. I was rolling down the street in my ’13 one day and perusing my Spotify for the next new thing to listen to. I realized at that point that I’m old and hate new things so I did what I always do, try to think of something from my youth to appease my ear canals. Now, I almost never want to listen to Michael’s albums, much in the same way that I always skip “What You Know” off of TI’s King album. That song, multiplied by infinity to equal Thriller’s impact, was so big and so omnipresent that I’d just rather not hear it again while recognizing its greatness. I almost NEVER feel a need to listen to anything off of Thriller unless I’m playing a video game featuring Michael Jackson.

That is not the case with Janet Jackson, and specifically the Rhythm Nation 1814, Janet, and The Velvet Rope triumvirate. Those three albums are damn near flawless. In fact, if not for the fact that the first two feel like the longest albums known to man, I’d say they are explicitly perfect. Right UNDER those three, but not that far behind, to me, is Control, which features one of my top three favorite songs, “When I Think Of You”. This song makes me happy. It makes me say shit like, “I like good things” and mean it.

Anyway, so I started listening to Rhythm Nation, and was like, you know, as an album, this shit is great. Then I upped Janet. Then, The Velvet Rope. And I though to myself, as albums, these flow well, there’s a theme and ultimately, as an entire body of work, it’s an album. Then because why not make comparisons, I listened to Michael’s albums and it turns out that Janet’s are just…more listenable and, well, better.

Now, there’s a caveat: Michael Jackson was making albums full of singles on a quest to clearly body the game. Shit, Thriller was supposed to be exactly what it was, the biggest album of all time. But it wasn’t a concept album, or a theme album. The entire purpose of Thriller was largesse. Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton, and MJ set out to create the greatest collection of singles ever created. Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel followed the same format to a scaled back version of the Thriller success. Just make the biggest records possible and do it like you’re doing it for TV. Well, Off The Wall is similar, and while not selling as much as Thriller ALSO sold a gazillion copies. Same with Bad and Dangerous, which each spawned HUGE chart hits. All great albums in their own right, but mostly single driven works.

Janet on the other hand clearly sat down with her producers, mostly Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and decided to craft themes that could also create some similarly huge sounding records. Which she did tremendously, except they weren’t all just pop singles, there are mood records and transition records and down-tempo. She created full albums. And most importantly, they actually SOUND better than Michael’s. There’s more feeling and mood to them.

To be clear, I realize Michael had different tempo songs on each of his albums, especially on post-Bad albums that are less poppy and more “artsy”, but even those albums aren’t as good as Janet’s first four. While Janet can’t touch Michael in terms of popularity and sales, amazing considering how huge of an artists she was in her own right, the quality of her albums, if you give them objective listens, is better than Michael’s. On any given day I’d rather listen to The Velvet Rope instead of Thriller. Off The Wall is my favorite MJ album, but I think that Janet is better, and I’ve often been at odds whether I think Rhythm Nation or Janet is better. I’ve had actual blowout arguments with myself about this usually resulting in us not speaking to each other. Twinsies.

I’m not trying to start a riot, and I still wonder if G’z get to go to heaven, because I don’t wanna die, but truth is truth. Michael Jackson is the greatest, but his sister made better music.

And even though they both made their best music nearly two decades before any of us knew his name…

…thanks, Obama.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Vanity in Peril

    I didn’t even read this yet but I needed to say, “nawl”, quick, fast and in a hurry.

    • panamajackson

      Trust in me. I shan’t lead you wrong.

      • Vanity in Peril

        #falseprophets

  • laddibugg

    I won’t pick a side about who is better, but *for me* Janet’s albums feel more timeless.

  • Val

    I mean, if you like whisper-singing then Maybe I can see your point way, way off in the distance. Otherwise, nope.

    • miss t-lee

      Exactly.

    • panamajackson

      Y’all got to listen with your ears and not your hearts.

    • PinkRose

      You and these whisper singing comments. I don’t have words for how thoroughly this annoys me, lol!! I LOVE whisper singing!!

      • Val

        Okay but a downvote? Really? Smh.

        • Epsilonicus

          I gave you one for dissing Janet. Just off principle.

          • Val

            Man, I thought we were cool. Plus, the truth isn’t a dis.

            *walks away in a huff*

            Oh and sorry PinkRose.

            • Epsilonicus

              We cool but you dissed one of my fave celeb crushes. Naw.

        • PinkRose

          I don’t mind you including Ciara in that whisper singing description, but adding Janet is just blastpheming as my Grandmother used to say!

      • outlyer06

        except when ciara or ashanti does it….the swagga jackas

    • But but…I thought we were sisters.

      I’m gonna have to downvote you…lol

  • cyanic

    Janet’s Svengali (Rene Elizondo Jr) is responsible for that trilogy you’re so fond of.

    • panamajackson

      Define responsible.

      • cyanic

        He was responsible for ghostwriting her contributions to songs. Conceiving thematic framing for those projects. He had several ideas used for these projects that made the combination of Janet, Jam and Lewis seem like genius.

        • panamajackson

          I’ve read that. And assuming its true, I’ve no reason to believe otherwise, it makes not one bit of difference. Unless you were just sharing. In which case, thank you.

    • Val

      Was that her secret husband? Or was that DeBarge dude her secret husband? Or both? I’m confused now.

      • cyanic

        She eloped with James and secretly married Rene.

      • miss t-lee

        Both were secret husbands…lol

    • PinkRose

      NOPE!!

      • cyanic

        Believe he had no influence or input. But with him her intro was It’s my belief and after him I know I don’t know that’s what I do know.

  • MsKey

    Sir, your wrong…goodnight.

    • Dustin John Seibert

      I agree with you, but you gotta jump in there to make that edit. You can’t be that person.

      • MsKey

        huh?

        • A.P. Millz-CT

          It’s you’re not your..

          • MsKey

            thanks..

      • Kylroy

        Hey, he could be inquiring about the state of your wrong.

      • MsKey

        Oops my bad…lol

    • panamajackson

      Lucky for me it is the afternoon.

  • cyanic

    I use to Stan for Janet. So I ready for everyone and everything.

  • PriceIsRightHorns

    “Off The Wall,” and “Rhythm Nation” are my favorite MJ/JJ albums. I have to give MJ the edge off of the strength of “Rock With You,” “PYT” and “Baby be Mine.” I also listen to a lot of the music the Jacksons released in the late 70s on CBS records.

    And well…we know the confusion that ensued when I downloaded Jermaine’s greatest hits.

    • panamajackson

      First off, nobody told you to listen to any other offbrand Jackson catalog music.

      • PriceIsRightHorns

        LMAO. Sir, you not gon’ slander Tito, Rebbie and ‘nem.

        • panamajackson

          Is it slander if nobody cares? LOL

        • Val

          Don’t forget Randy. The most off-brand Jackson there is. Lol

          • PriceIsRightHorns

            He is…but I will admit that I have a couple of songs from his album that came out in the New Jack Swing era. “Love You Honey” by Randy is my favorite off-brand tune, lol.

            • Val

              I had no idea Randy released any solo albums. Lol Wow.

              • PriceIsRightHorns

                Lol. He had an entire band – Randy and the Gypsys.

    • Val

      That’s “Jermaine’s greatest hit”. Fixed it for you. :-)

      • PriceIsRightHorns

        LOL. Val coming through with the weeping willow shade.

    • Jacqueline

      Off the Wall was Michael’s last great album. It was consistent and felt more authentic.

      • PriceIsRightHorns

        Definitely.

  • Dustin John Seibert

    You out your gotda#@ mind, player.

    Love you, doe.

    • panamajackson

      I am not. I stand on truth.

      • Nik White

        Naw dogg. Love will never do – forreal.

      • Ess Tee

        #IStandWithPanama

  • miss t-lee

    Trying to think if I ever cared enough to listen to a Janet album in its entirety?

    Gonna go with no.

    Singles, sure. Albums–I’m all the way good on that.

    • panamajackson

      how is that possible? her albums are wonderful.

      • miss t-lee

        It’s very possible. I’m a fan of voices, not whisper singing.
        So…yeah.

        • ShutEmDown

          Janet sings on RN1814, Control, The Velvet Rope and the Janet album, hater. Michael screams, altered his nostrils so he sung better and cha mone cha mon he heeee aint singing, sorry.

        • Kae

          Whisper singing *cackling**

          There’s a lot of breathy breathing singing In her tracks. I mean she can sing sing too….but yeah.

          • miss t-lee

            Her and Mariah these days…I just can’t take it.

    • ALM247

      If you have Amazon Prime….check out “Unbreakable”….she experimented with some sounds similar to the Jackson 5.

      • miss t-lee

        Thank you.
        I’m seriously good though.

        • ALM247

          Ok…..LOL

        • Kas

          Like, really really good

    • ShutEmDown

      I love Michael, but he doesnt have one album I listened to all the way through

      • Hazel Amarie

        No Off the wall/Thriller or Bad album? Interesting….I can listen to all three of those without skipping….I’ll even add Dangerous in there.

        • Barbara

          Me too. And listen to all 3 at least once a week.

    • catgee12

      Cosign … she never moved me like that.

      • miss t-lee

        You feel me.

    • Dustin John Seibert

      This is exactly what I told him.

      • miss t-lee

        *daps*

    • Conrad Bess

      Agreed. She, like her brother, were singles king/queen. I have Spotify, and I got Alright, Let’s Wait A While, Rhythm Nation, Escapade, That’s The Way Love Goes, Got til It’s Gone, Control, When I Think Of You, Anytime Anyplace, Rock with You, Go Deep, Don’t Sleep, et al. on my playlist. Not one full album. Neither of Michael. You could say they were the precursor to ringtone rappers.

      • miss t-lee

        I’m not even sure I have any of her stuff saved on my spotify, and I’m like 4k songs deep.
        Not sure I’d call either of them a precursor to “ringtone rappers”–they both have had careers spanning great lengths of time, them other folks? Not so much.

        • Conrad Bess

          By ringtone rappers, I mean singles driven music. Before technology got involved, you had to buy the album. So if you wanted to hear Beat It, you had to buy Thriller. You don’t have to buy an album anymore to get a single that you want.

          • miss t-lee

            Ahhhh.
            That makes sense. Thank you for clarifying.

          • Bob Sacamano

            Not exactly true. With the exception of the late 70’s and 90’s, Black music had been very ‘singles’ centered, throughout most of the music industry’s existence. Not saying artists didn’t create cohesive albums or the public didn’t bye them, but much of the invested energy and dollars was on singles (45’s, cassingles, etc) for the majority of Black artists, according to the charts.

    • Nicole

      My favorite Janet album was the Velvet Rope. That is the only Janet album I can listen to in its entirety.

      • miss t-lee

        I know everyone loved it…it just didn’t resonate with me.

  • A.P. Millz-CT

    *sigh*

    • panamajackson

      What if I told you that you’re wrong too.

      *mind blown*

    • ShutEmDown

      He was right. Janet made better music.

      • A.P. Millz-CT

        lol

      • Maestro G

        I think Janet told better stories via the themes in her albums. Better music? (Stops train, gets off while shaking head…)

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