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on June 1, 2000
Hey - I'm a Janet fan, and my favorite Janet album is 'Rhythm Nation 1814'. My favorite Janet video is "Alright". So that might clue you in to what I'm into since Janet has so many facets to her.
As far as this album goes, it's excellent. The best part, however is for those with the ear to notice that some of the 'Rhythm Nation' hits (which make up the majority of this album) are remixed single versions! That is, "Alright", "Black Cat", and "Come Back To Me" are all revised like they were on the radio...improvements on the ones you'll find on the album - especially "Come Back To Me".
But all the 'Control' hits are here (in their original form - get the remix album if you want the single versions) and there's "That's The Way Love Goes" from her 'Janet' campaign that makes you wanna pop that CD in to keep it going. "Twenty Foreplay" is an O.K. song but I absolutely love "Runaway" which seems to go back to her 'Rhythm Nation' days al la Escapade.
I just wish she included "On and On" - the B-side to "Throb", but other than that, this is a must own, especially since Janet is dropping her new album very soon, and her new single, "Never Fall In Love" is off the hook! (I guarantee this one will be a hit, or my name isn't Knyte.)
Trust me.
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on June 9, 2000
Back in 1986 Janet Jackson, with callaborators/producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, set a new standard in R&B, making music that was knee-shakingly funky and still managed to cross over to the pop genre. In hindsight her hits from the late 80's and early 90's isn't so much a dated exercise in nostalgia as it is a measure of how good contemporary soul music can be.
Ok, so she's adorable, sweet as can be, etc...but let's face it. Janet has never possessed the sort of pipes that would steal material away from Whitney Houston. But Jam & Lewis capitalized on the limits of her voice by placing them smack dab on top of the heaviest, thickest grooves you'll ever find in pop music, and the contrast between the two is striking. Her low moans on the likes of "Nasty" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" opposite Jam & Lewis' pounding beats make for delicious ear candy; ditto for her energetic delivery on Prince-inspired dancefloor anthems like "Escapade" and the damn-near-perfect "Miss You Much." Janet even proves that she can flat-out rock on the guitar-heavy "Black Cat."
"Alright" is a brushed-up single remix, which serves the song well, considering it has minimal melody and no chord progression whatsoever. Why then, didn't they include the killer video version for "The Pleasure Principle" or the slick single remix for "Let's Wait Awhile"? The album versions of these two tracks sound a bit empty in comparison. Still, with new material at the level of the funky "Runaway" and the sultry "Twenty Foreplay," there's little to complain about. You're even treated to the best track from her "janet" release ("That's the Way Love Goes") without being subjected to the rest of that album's overheated, Madonna-wannabe sexuality. All in all this is as comprehensive and enjoyable a compilation as any casual fan of Janet or R&B in general could ask for.
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on March 17, 2005
In spite of the misleading title, this collection of pop singles spanning a mere 4 years, 1986-1990, is a far better buy than either of the two albums from which its songs were culled.

Janet Jackson is one of those frustrating performers who has had a succession of excellent pop singles, the majority of which are necessary to own if you want the hit versions versus the more readily available full length releases where these same tracks tend to drag on forever and are locked into their respective albums by pointless, overlapping interludes.

Fortunately this collection presents the seperated mixes and the songs included here are fantastic examples of mid-late 80s pop at its finest.

From 1986s Control: "What Have You Done For Me Lately", "Nasty", "When I Think Of You", "Control", "Let's Wait Awhile" (shamefully not the single remix), and "The Pleasure Principle" (curiously not the Shep Pettibone remix used in the video as well as on the international single release, but an edit of the painfully bland album version).

From 1989s Rhythm Nation 1814: "Miss You Much", "Rhythm Nation" (the album version for which a special "pledge"-less intro has been mixed), "Escapade", "Alright" (fortunately the Shep Pettibone single remix and even more fortunately Heavy D's rap has been removed), "Come Back To Me" (the radio remix), "Black Cat" (ditto) and the edit of "Love Will Never Do (Without You)".

The rest of the album (a whopping 3 songs) is filled out by the lone Virgin Records offering "That's The Way Love Goes" and two at-the-time new cuts, "Runaway" and "Twenty Foreplay".

The US edition of Design Of A Decade is great for what you get. The international edition is even better, boasting two additional tracks ("Whoops Now" and "The Best Things In Life Are Free") and fewer album versions of tracks ("Nasty", "What Have You Done For Me Lately", "Miss You Much", "Control" and "Rhythm Nation" all appear in different versions...improved, concise edits originally found on their respective singles). The cover artwork also differs from country to country.

Coming back to the title for a moment (and I really don't mean to harp), it's a bit unfair for A&M Records to have titled this Design Of A Decade and worse still imply that it spans "1986/1996" when her 1991 to 1995 output is represented only by "That's The Way Love Goes". The omitted Virgin singles eligible for inclusion are among her biggest and most well known tracks, and at that time were what most consumers were anxious to hear alongside her 80s output, and probably what most (myself included) thought they were getting.

Furthermore, no attempt is made at including material from her first two A&M albums (1982s Janet Jackson and 1984s Dream Street). While this isn't technically a loss, with the limited resources A&M had for compiling a retrospective they could have thrown in a track or two to represent the first half of her time with them. At least then this could have been called Design Of A Decade with the subtitle 1982/1992, stopping just before the Virgin Records era.

Then there is the problem of how to follow up this release. With Fall 2005 (the tenth anniversary of Design's release) fast approaching and Janet Jackson's career in decline, it seems logical that Virgin would want to whip up their own 'Decade', which would have to stretch all the way back to the summer of 1993 to pick up what didn't appear on the first release, making then for an over-inflated thirteen year decade.

*ceases fire*

Though I definitely recommend opting for the better international edition, there is no denying that this is a fantastic collection of hit singles worthy of a place on anyones CD shelf.
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on August 19, 2007
I recently got around to finally updating my cd collection, by ordering a few CD's from some artists I use to listen to - on cassette, in the 80's and early 90's (when I was a little boy and in my pre-teens) know, back when pop music was still good, bearable, and even a little bit meaningful...? Since I obviously couldn't afford to order a whole boatload of cd's, I got the greatest hits versions from some that used to be my favorites from the time - Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince, Madonna, George Michael, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates.
When I popped in this cd (Design of a Decade 1986/1996), it was good to hear Janet Jackson's smooth, beatufiful, soothing voice again, because I'll admit, it had been a very long time since I've listened to anything at all from her. The thing that kind of pissed me off though, and that I really just don't understand is why in the bloody hell did she or whoever put this one together decide to include only ONE song from her "Janet" CD? That and I personally think that the one song, "That's The Way Love Goes" they did include is by far the lesser of the hits she had come off of that CD. My personal all-time favorite song by Janet Jackson is "Again", anybody who has ever heard that song knows it is just simply f'n breathtaking! "Where Are You Now" is another really good song that came off that CD. But yet they're both somehow missing from this CD. I just don't get why she or they would've left those off.
Aside from that, it's an excellent CD, but I simply cannot overlook my personal favorite song by her being flat-out missing from it! If anybody knows of any other Janet Jackson - !!COMPLETE!! Greatest Hits (or anything along those lines) types of CD's, by all means please hit me up, and let me know what it's called and where I can find it - [...]. Thank you.
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on July 24, 2006
This is a fantastic CD. I still like Miss J even after Nipplegate, and while the event was outrageous, the American public failed to realize they were hypocrites. Is it possible that while people really don't notice real issues like soldiers being blown to pieces in Iraq or the AIDS epidemic, they're seriously upset about a simple flash of nudity? And it wasn't even real nudity, considering Janet had a large pasty covering her nipple! And who told Justin Timberlake to rip the cover off anyway? His publicist? But, I guess some people aren't willing to forgive. I SUPPORT JANET, no matter what.
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on August 15, 1998
When Madonna released "The Immaculate Collection", she made the mistake of remixing most of the tracks, which seem to miss the freshness of the originals. With Michael Jackson's "HIStory" the classics got buried underneath the hype of lackluster new material. Seems like Janet is the only modern pop legend to get it right. She leaves the 14 original hits the way they were originally released, and gives them the finest remastering job the record industry has ever seen. These classics still sound as incredible as they did more then a decade ago. What makes the album even more impressive are the 2 new songs; "Runaway", the hit indian-themed dance single, and "Twenty Foreplay", a sexually explicit ballad explaining the joys of real love. They aren't merely just filler tacked on to make the album sell better, these tracks are so professionally made that they actually deserve to be on a "greatest hits album". "Design Of A Decade 1986/1996" shows why Janet is considered the talented artist she is. One-third well produced grooves, one-third deep lyrics, and one-third innocent voice equal the most exciting compilation of the nineties!
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on January 26, 2007
This CD is abslutely incredible. The one and only reason that I took one star off is because of the weird concept. It inclues all her hits from A&M records, as well as two new songs and "That's the Way Love Goes". I understand the reasoning, butit is still a bit akward.

Regardless, that doesn't take away from the fantastic music. It starts off with "Runaway" which is a classic Janet 'holiday' song in the vein of 'Escapade". The camera'click sound on each beat is very catchy and unique.

The next few tracks are from Janet's 1986 breakthrough "Control": "What Have you Done for me Lately", "Nasty" and "When I Think Of You". All classic singles that have the most seductive dance beats and attitude that makes Janet who she is.

It continues with four tracks from "Rhythm Nation 1814": "Escapade", "Miss You Much", "Love Will Never Do...", and "Alright" They all have futuristic, yet 80's pop beat to them which is the tone for the RN1814 album. Of course, they'll all extremely catchy. "Alight" appears in it's radio remix form, which is a nice little treat.

The album continues with two more "Control" tracks: The amazing "Control", and "The Pleasure Principle". Jimmy, Terry and Janet did great job on these. They are R&B classics that sound even better today. Next are "Black Cat" and "Rhythm Nation. The former is also in radio remix form which is a nice luxury. "Rhythm Nation" is basically the same as it's album verison, with the excusion of Janet's 'pledge speech' at the beginning.

The last four songs are slow jams, each from a different album. "That's the Way Lvoe Goes" from 'janet.' is J's biggest hit, and with good reason. The beat is so sexy, as are Janet's vocals. The groove is absolutely blissful. Next is "Come Back to Me" (RN1814), a fantastic soothing R&B ballad that sounds ahead of it's time. "Let's Wait A while" is Janet's first hit ballad (from "Control"), and it's a very sweet song about waiting to have sex. Last but not least is anoher new track "Twenty Foreplay" which starts off as a sweet slow ballad, and then changes it's tone to a straight-up funky, love-making jam.

All-in-all,this CD demonstrates what an amazing talent Janet Jackson is, and what pleasure it is to have her as part of he music industry.
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on July 11, 2004
"Design of a Decade 1986-1996" is a compilation of most of Janet Jackson's hits within that time span. Every song plays a great role in music history. This presents listeners how she evolved as an artist within that time. Through strong independence, fighting against discrimination, and sex, she became more than a musician and a dancer. She's influenced a generation of pop musicians that came after her. The variety of music genres give listeners the added pleasure: pop, R&B, rock, and funk. Her great talents prove that she greatly deserves the recognition she's received.
Janet Jackson took her tracks from her previous three albums: "Control" (1986), "Rhythm Nation 1814" (1989), and "Janet" (1993). All three albums reached #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Charts. Despite the long time span between albums, the quality proves worth the wait. Every track through her career tells a story and gives listeners the amazing emotional pleasure. Therefore, they take them on a musical journey through her life, trials, and beliefs. Through every release, she amazed fans with her changed style, attitude, and looks. Within 1986-1996, she won four Grammys and several other awards.
Before 1986, she starred in two sitcoms briefly: "Good Times" (1978-1980) and "Diff'rent Strokes" (1981-1982). She also released two albums: self-titled (1982) and "Dream Street" (1984). Unfortunately, both albums flopped. "Control" is when her career lauched to enormous levels. She released six hit singles from this album, starting with "What Have You Done For Me Lately", all which are featured on "Design of a Decade". These tracks define her strong-willed independence. She fired her father manager before recording began. Her lyrics are accompanied by wonderful funky pop backgrounds. With the help of longtime producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the dance beats give listeners great dancing pleasure. Through the dancing, she expresses her more sensative side on the ballad "Let's Wait a While". Such quality proves that her success is only the beginning.
Her album "Rhythm Nation 1814" expresses her strong political beliefs, namely racism. This launched seven hit singles, all which are featured on "Design of a Decade". Musically, she explores more pop/dance rather than pop/funk. The occasional various genres keep listeners interested. The dance beats continue to attract audiences. She performs every track expressively and beautiful, offering a deeper look through her words. Through the signature dance music, she manages to record a rock song "Black Cat". Her final single from this album "Love Will Never Do Without You" readies listeners for her next album.
Janet Jackson's biggest selling album "Janet" surprises listeners most. Her previous well-known conservative look transforms to a sexually charged image. She launched six hit singles from this album. Due to record company contracts, "That's the Way Love Goes" is the only one featured on "Design of a Decade". This calm, groovy R&B song partially introduces listeners to the album's theme. This remains her most successful single to date. This was written and performed beautifully. Her voice perfectly matched with the intimate theme.
Through the career journey on "Design of a Decade", Janet Jackson rooms two new singles: "Runaway" and "Twenty Foreplay". The musical quality proves that she continues to evolve as an artist with this album release. "Runaway" is a great pop single that explores her career times. She quotes that through all of her success, her then-husband (in secret) was missing. The ballad "Twenty Foreplay" is a great song to relax to.
"Design of a Decade 1986-1996" is a great album for all Janet Jackson fans. This is sure to please listeners for a long time. Every song featured will become classics in the following years. Her successes after this prove that "part two" will come shortly. Go Janet!
Janet Jackson's albums after "Design of a Decade" (all recommended):
---"The Velvet Rope" (1997)
---"All For You" (2001)
---"Damita Jo" (2004)
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on July 16, 2014
Janet Jackson and company ruled the charts for years. This CD album shows why. Miss Jackson presents a variety of tunes. Many are danceable, many make for beautiful listening, or for both. This album represents Miss Jackson during her most productive and influential era. It is a joy to hear such consistent perfection from such a talented artist!!!
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on October 16, 2005
I got this album as a Christmas gift in 1996 and I've been playing it since..There's only one thing...Why did she leave out some of the hits like If,Again,Because Of Love,You Want This,Anytime Anyplace,and Best Things In Life Are Free??Maybe we can expect another Hits collection in the future.

1. Runaway 10/10

A classic Janet song..She really takes the cake on this one..The video is awesome too...It's very diffirent from all the other videos. Pop #3 R&B #3 (Gold Single)

2. What Have You Done For Me Lately 10/10

This is what started me out with Janet..When I saw the video and said man this girl is really talented...and realzied that this is Michael's sister of course she has talent..So I bought Control and was blown away by the hole album...Pop #4 R&B #1(1 week) (Gold Single)

3. Nasty 10/10

One of Janet's signature songs...A classic and one of my favorite songs...I was blown by this video and realzied there was another star in the making of this video,Paula Abdul who made the dance moves for her...This song will be rememeberd from Janet. Pop #3 R&B #1(2 weeks) (Gold Single)

4. When I Think Of You 10/10

This is my favorite track from Control..It's smooth and the video is outgoing..its awesome...This song is also Janet's first number 1 single...Pop #1(2 weeks) R&B #3 (Gold Single)

5. Escapade 10/10

If your looking for true it is...A great Janet song and its really poppy...A classic even..I had a huge crush on janet in this video....Pop #1(3 weeks) R&B #1(2 weeks) (Gold Single)

6. Miss You Much 10/10

The lead off single to her classic album Rhythm Nation 1814...The song jumped to #1 quickly and becoming Janet's first platinum single...This song also blocked Madonna's Cherish hit from hitting the top spot....This is one of my fav's...Pop #1(4 weeks) R&B #1 (2 weeks) (Platinum Single)

7. Love Will Never Do (Without You) 10/10

This is the first song and video where janet got to be sexy...Showing off skin and one of my favorite tunes...The video is a classic black and white film...Pop #1(1 week) R&B #3 (Gold Single)

8. Alright (9/10)

The video for this song is a classic and the way she performs it live is timeless...but the song itself is not all that great..its a good song but not one of my favorites..Pop #4 R&B #4 (Gold Single)

9. Control 10/10

A great dance song from Janet...This song has great beat to it and you can't help but dance...another one of my fav's Pop #5 R&B #1(1 week) (Gold Single)

10. The Pleasure Principal (8/10)

The last single released from Control and not really one of my favorites...The video is totally awesome but the song itself does nothing for me...Pop #14 R&B #1(1 week)

11. Black Cat 10/10

A classic song from Janet and I love the guitar solo...I saw her live and when she sang this...I was just blown away...This is a classic song....Pop #1(1 week) R&B #8 (Gold Single)

12. Rhythm Nation 10/10

This song changed alot of people's lives...Dividing racial backgrounds...The video is just a great piece...The miltary style works good for Janet...Pop #2(4 weeks) R&B #1(3 weeks) (Gold Single)

13. That's The Way Love Goes 10/10

Janet's biggest hit ever...The song debuted at #14 and shot to #1 the week after...The video is awesome...Janet changed her look alot but still looked great...Pop #1(8 weeks) R&B #1(5 weeks) (Platinum Single)

14. Come Back To Me 10/10

One of my favorite Janet slow songs...This song was a huge hit and introduced me to a more softer janet. Pop #2 R&B #2 (Gold Single)

15. Let's Wait Awhile 10/10

Another classic slow ballad for janet...This song sounds like it was made yesterday and remains one of my favorites...If janet ever doesn't sing this at one of her shows...I'd just be disappointed...This introduced the world to a slower janet...great song Pop #2 R&B #1(2 weeks) (Gold Single)

16. Twenty Foreplay 9/10

Great ballad but I get tired of it from time to time....Wished it would of been a single though...

Great album from janet and hope she will release a another hits collection in the futre with recent hits such as All For You,I Want You,Together Again,Doesn't Really Matter, and more
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