10 Underrated Janet Jackson Singles

By Patrick DeMarco

Oh, Ms. Janet. Where do we truly begin? For over three decades, the dearly departed Michael Jackson’s kid sister has delivered killer singles, fantastic records and Tina Landon-licious dance moves for days. However, not all of Janet’s singles have taken “Control” of the charts, and there are some out there that we can’t seem to figure out as to why. In fact, Philly Mixtape took some time today to get lost in Janet’s music vault (best day ever!), and take a closer listen to those singles that should’ve done some major chart damage. Want to know which underrated Janet tracks are being served up for you guys? All you have to do is…get lost in the Mixtape. 

“Young Love” 

The one that started it all…almost. This disco-kissed gem was Janet’s first single as a solo artist, but it stalled on the charts, landing at a not-so-great #54.  If you want to see a young Ms. Janet turn it out, watch this classic ‘Soul Train’ clip.

“Diamonds” (w/ Herb Alpert)

While this sax-y number hit top 5 on the pop charts, it’s still vastly underrated due to the fact that it was released between Janet’s smash albums, ‘Control’ and ‘Rhythm Nation 1814.’ Oh, and THIS video…..keep in mind, it was the ’80s….

“The Pleasure Principle” 

When you think of Janet’s landmark ‘Control’ album, several tracks might pop into your head such as “Nasty Boy,”  “What Have You Done For Me Lately” and the albums keytar-tastic title track. Even the virginal, “Let’s Wait Awhile” charted higher than “Principle,’ as Janet’s tell-it-like-it-is tune landed at #14. Another reason to get lost in this tantalizing track? Its accompanying video is one of her best….

“State of the World” 

Let’s talk about Janet’s epic ‘Rhythm Nation 1814’ album for a moment. The 25 year old set simply put Janet on the music map, with seven single releases and videos that still hold their timeless look today. When “State” was released, “Nation” was cooling off a bit (and so were we after seeing Mr. Sabato Jr. in the preceding video for “Love Would Never Do(Without You)”) so it never got the chance to do any major chart destruction. Also, its powerful message still holds VERY true today…

“The Best Things In Life Are Free” (ft. Luther Vandross, Ralph Tresvant & BBD)

Oooh…Luther. Do we really have to say anything else? Well, maybe that I bet you guys haven’t werked it out to this classic jam from the ’92 ‘Mo Money’ soundtrack.

“Anytime, Anyplace” (R. Kelly Remix)

Now, we are all familiar with the slinky, sex-coated beat of the original, as you probably broke some headboards to it during your last baby makin’ session. However, this remix is the one that helped Janet’s fifth single release from her ‘Janet’ album to slink it up to the #2 position on the charts. Mr. Kelly’s rewerk is just as sinfully delicious as the original, if not better. 

“Runaway”

Sadly, the only place these days you may hear Janet’s sunny tune off of her ‘Design Of A Decade’ greatest hits set is at your local supermarket. Oh, and remember her other ‘Design’ track “Twenty FourPlay? Well, you don’t hear that one…at all. Lucky for you guys, it’s right here.

“Got Til’ It’s Gone”

Perhaps the most underrated Janet single…on the list. In 1997, the diva released, ‘The Velvet Rope’ to glowing reviews and chart success. However, when lead single ‘Gone’ was released, it turned out to be more of a buzz single for the album that led up to follow-up track, the #1 hit, “Together Again.” While “Got” charted moderately around the globe and on the R&B charts, it failed to gain any steam on the Hot 100. It should also be noted that the African inspired video for the clip is truly Ms. Janet at her artistic best. Actually, come to think of it, we can probably throw every ‘Velvet Rope’ single on this list. Ask yourself, when’s the last time you musically went behind ‘The Velvet Rope?’

 

“Son Of A Gun”/”Come On Get Up”

How about two underrated Janet singles for the price of one? In 2001, Janet came roaring back with chart destroying single, “All For You, ” as well as the (vastly underrated) album of the same name. While “All” follow up, “Someone to Call My Lover” charted at #3,  follow up singles “Son Of A Gun” (Missy…haHA!!) and “Come on Get Up” did barely anything. Now, that’s not only a travesty but a big ol’ music crime as well as their chart positions were clearly robbed. If you want a big ol’ serving of ’01 Janet music truth, get lost in both of these delectable ditties.

“Just A Little While”

I’m trying to remember what happened in 2004 in Janet’s world that would make her ’04 ‘Damita Jo’ lead single not do so well…I just can’t put my pastie on it. Maybe you guys will remember as you get lost in this tasty and delicious amped up romp..

“Rock With You”

The second single unleashed from her ‘Discipline’ set, not only is this Janet gem hugely underrated, but THIS video is absolute perfection. 

“Make Me”

Her last bing single release and also the lead cut from her double-disc ‘Greatest Hits’ set, “Make Me” will indeed make you shake that ass all…night…long. While it was a smash club hit for our girl, on the charts it only went to #….nowhere. It’s a music mystery we’re all still trying to figure out….

 

 Category: 8 Essential Tracks

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