on November 18, 2009
So, I've been waiting for a new Janet collection for awhile, so when she announced "Number Ones", I was super excited. I was even happier when she announced the official track listing. I thought, except for the exclusion of "You Want This", it was perfect. And when I got the CD, it even exceeded my expectations. The remastering is superb! You hear it as soon as you put in the first CD and hear the very beginning of "What Have You Done For Me Lately". It really stands out on the first disc, especially songs like "When I Think Of You", "Let's Wait Awhile", and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)".
Another thing I like is the rare tracks, or at least rare versions. Thankfully they included the Single Remix of "Let's Wait Awhile" unlike on "Decade". Another great inclusion is the video mix of "All For You", which includes the dance break and was originally only available on the CD Single. I DO wish they would have just used the single edit for "Any Time, Any Place" instead of the R. Kelly Remix, which it didn't even say it was. Another 'false labeling' is the fact that it said "Janet feat. BLACKstreet" on "I Get Lonely", but was actually the solo album/radio edit instead. I like the solo version better, but I hate that they put one thing and it says another.
Overall, I would suggest this collection to major fans, minor fans, and everyone in between. It covers her past 23 years of music so well.
Here is the track listing including which version it is: (PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG)
1. What Have You Done For Me Lately? - Album Version w/o Spoken Intro
2. Nasty - Album Version
3. When I Think of You - Album Version
4. Control - Album Version
5. Let's Wait Awhile - Single/Remix Version
6. The Pleasure Principle - Album Edit
7. Diamonds - Main Version
8. Miss You Much - Album Version
9. Rhythm Nation - Single Edit with Pledge Intro
10. Escapade - Album Version
11. Alright - Video Edit (aka 7" Mix) with Heavy D Rap
12. Come Back to Me - The 12" I'm Beggin' You Mix
13. Black Cat - Video Edit
14. Love Will Never Do (Without You) - Single Version
15. The Best Things in Life Are Free - 1992 Soundtrack Version
16. That's The Way Love Goes - Album Version
1. If - Album Version
2. Again - Album Version
3. Because of Love - Album Version
4. Any Time, Any Place - R. Kelly Remix
5. Scream - Radio Edit
6. Runaway - Album Version
7. Got 'Til It's Gone - Clean Radio Edit
8. Together Again - LP/Radio Edit
9. I Get Lonely - LP Edit (*NOTE: Does NOT feature BLACKstreet)
10. Go Deep - Album Version
11. What's It Gonna Be?! - Radio Edit
12. Doesn't Really Matter - Full Soundtrack Version
13. All For You - Video Version with Dance Break
14. Someone to Call My Lover - Single/Radio Edit
15. All Nite (Don't Stop) - Album Version
16. Call On Me - Album Version (Including a 10 second intro from the end of "With U" on 20 Y.O.)
17. Feedback - Single Version (Almost same as album version, except with an extended outro)
18. Make Me - Single Version
on November 17, 2009
34 tracks on 2 discs remastered to perfection. I have fallen in love with Janet's music all over again.
1. Excellent Remasters of all her classic hits!
- "That's the Way Love Goes" sounds brilliant.
- "When I Think of You" never sounded better.
2. This is truly an almost all encompassing and comprehensive collection of Janet's career spanning hits, including duets she has done through the years! (Diamonds,Best Things In Life,etc)
3. New track - Make Me (Produced by Darkchild/Rodney Jenkins) Disco House/Pop Janet is Back. This song is a major stand-out.
1. I am not a fan of some of the versions chosen to be on this collection. The one that is really glaring is the hip hop sounding version of "Best Things In Life Are Free" Would have much preferred the more popular radio version which was also used in the music video over the one chosen to be on this hits set.
2. Album cover = Thought Janet's smile is a classic visual and just about everyone knows her and that beautiful smile, I think a more iconic image should have been used, either from the past or a new pic shot just for this album cover.
As you can see, we are short on cons here and the fact that you have amazing remastered tracks trumps any of the negatives I have mentioned. A&M and Janet's team have really done a spectacular job on making this a very neat and concise collection. There was another remastered comprehensive greatest hits that came out just a couple months ago from another artist (whose name I wont mention but that I absolutely love) which was disastrous in such a number of ways (production, remaster, artwork) and offensive to her and her fans that I really have to appreciate this strong release from Janet.
This is a real must-have for anyone who grew up in the 80's, 90's and today with Janet's great sounds!
on January 17, 2010
Spanning two full-length discs, Janet: Number Ones (2009) nicely updates Janet Jackson's (that's 'Miss Jackson if you're nasty!') first retrospective Design of a Decade (1996) with a comprehensive review of Jackson's most successful single releases. (The title refers to Jackson's achievements across different charts.) With longtime producers Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam providing the sonic architecture for most of Jackson's career, the music has been consistently big on beats and unmistakable hooks.
Nice surprises on this compilation include the sassy "Diamonds," Jackson's superb, but often overlooked, collaboration with jazz trumpeter Herb Albert, and a generous selection of single/video-only mixes ("All for You," "Alright," "Black Cat," "Let's Wait a While" ). A new song--the club-ready "Make Me"--closes out the set.
Sequenced chronologically, the newly remastered singles catalog shows how Jackson's message has evolved through the years. From the youthful rebellion of Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation (1989) to the coming-of-age sensuality of Janet (1993) and The Velvet Rope (1997), the music has grown and matured--usually in provocative fashion, like the artist herself.
For the most part, the results have been highly satisfying, though some of Jackson's latter, more experimental work can be a little overwhelming. Tracks from the sexually-raw Damita Jo (2004) and production-heavy Discipline (2008) can reveal too much of a good thing. But these are creative risks to be expected from an artist who set the ground rules years ago when she affirmatively declared to the world "I'm in control, and I'm never going to stop."
on April 30, 2010
I have been in nearly two minds on Janet in the last 12 years since I bought Rhythm Nation 1814 on January 12, 1998 at a used CD Store somewhere in Bethesda. I literally loved it and it literally altered my view of life as I knew it. To this very day, it remains by and large not only my favorite album by her but also my favorite album ever by a female artist and even my favorite by any of the Jacksons, even more than "Thriller". It was very painful, even angering, watching Janet literally crash from the heights of RN, and even Janet and "Velvet Rope" into the awfulness that marred huge chunks of "All For You" and literally soiled my respect after the God-awful "Damita Jo" before undergoing a drastic improvement with "20 Y.O." and even "Discipline" even though neither are superb but nonetheless decent albums, considering how they show out of the shadows of the earlier part of the 2000s. But that's not the point of this review. My point is that "Number Ones" while slightly misleading, is a marvelous successor to the superb "Design of a Decade" and showcases the tremendous rollercoaster ride of Janet's career since 1986's "Control".
Justifyably so, this spans two discs, both of which I enjoy. They span from Janet's first major hit single "What Have You Done For Me Lately", and the adolescent fun of "Nasty", to the dizzying pinnacle that made up the seven top-ten singles from the 1989-90 "Rhythm Nation 1814", all of them which got all the chart success they deserved, and more. An even better treat is how the songs on here are in their single versions. For example, I am so thrilled that they finally added the Heavy-D rap section to "Alright" that was absent on the "Design of a Decade" version. Perhaps my favorite hit song by Janet, "Alright" is perhaps the closest to, if not absolute perfection by any of the Jacksons. The version of "Black Cat" here has a far more live-concert feel with real-sounding drums as opposed to the original studio album version. Many are going to disagree with me on this review but I thought Janet looked really attractive as hell with her attitude and rebellious persona that she exhibited in the video. The right combination of attitude and beauty all culminated with this track and it's subsequent video. I'm sorry but "If" pales in comparison, no offense. Although I find the parent album version with the metallic drums superior, I love all the grinding guitar riffs and the sparkling rock lick from 2:19 to 2:22. The "Rhythm Nation" era is by and large my favorite era that sadly, I doubt, will ever be rivaled again.
A really nice bonus are the tracks "Diamonds" which is on Herb Alpert's "Keep Your Eye On Me" and "The Best Things in Life Are Free". The former is a great song with a somewhat atmospheric feel that feels kind of like the previous year's Human League's "Crash" album era but with Janet's vocals in the background. I find this song to be lots of fun to listen to. The second is "The Best Things Are Free" which is a fast-paced song with a beautiful sunny atmosphere which features a duet with the late Luther Vandross. I think this song helps to make a better transition from the austere heights of "Rhythm Nation" to the "Janet" era.
The final song on the disc is "That's The Way Love Goes" which was far removed from anything she had done before, replacing the intensity of 1989-90 with a slightly mellower, more sultry mood and jazzier production, much more romantic lyrics and calmer feel. I have a lot of great memories of hearing this during the summer of 1993 when I was ten years old. A nice track to close out the first disc.
I have mixed feelings towards the second disc of this album, not so much aobut there being subpar tracks present but primarily because it documents the severe decline in musical quality that dragged one of my favorite female singers so much it damaged my respect for her for years afterwards. Thankfully, the bad material is thankfully overlooked on it and I can actually enjoy it all the way through, even "All Nite (Don't Stop)" is bearable most of the time.
The disc starts of very strong with "If" which is an intense, high-energy song that incorporates rock, R&B, hip-hop, and dance all into one song. For some odd reason, it completely left off "You Want This" which was a top ten single that should've been included on here. Why they overlooked it is beyond me. Oh well. A real treat though IMO is the inclusion of the R. Kelly Remixed version of "Anytime Anyplace". I had been yearning to hear this version of an already sensual classic and having it here is a musical dream come true. This version is a little more energetic, with a slightly brighter, more daytime feel than the original. I've always thought this was great music for rainy afternoons, whether alone or with someone. Of course, who can forget the marvelous duet between Janet and her late brother Michael Jackson on "Scream" from 1995? It's very hard listening to this classic knowing how big a hole was torn with his departure in 2009. "Scream" was backed up by one of my favorite music videos of all time and this ranks perhaps as my favorite duet by any sibling pair and perhaps my favorite brother-sister duet of all time. On the other hand, "Runaway" is a very colorful, very worldly classic that incorporates Japanese, Chinese, African, and her multi-layered vocals layered over the entire track. I love listening to the famous "Yeah....yeah....yeah....yeah!!" chorus throughout the song. After the world tour of "Runaway", we enter the underrated Velvet Rope era with four songs from this era beginning with "Got Til It's Gone". The version on here features Q-Tip's rhyming in the intro as opposed to the normal version on its parent album. Who can forget "Together Again" with it's marvelous video with her red hairdo and the Savannah landscape as the main backdrop. This has such a beautiful blend of jazz, dance, R&B, and pop that stands out all on it's own. It was also a tribute to friends of hers that died of AIDS. "I Get Lonely" and "Go Deep" were the remaining charting singles from this era. Although I did not like Velvet Rope right away and it took nearly a year to finally get into it, it has since gone on to become among my favorite albums of hers and is a marvelous classic.
We then progress onto a marvelous duet with rapper Busta Rhymes with a really great and intense song called "What's It Gonna Be?" which was backed up by one of the best music videos of the late 1990s and arguably among my favorite Janet videos of the last 15 years. Following that is "Doesn't Really Matter" although it is weighed down somewhat by being a rather commercial-sounding song that didn't stick very well in my memory over time and although it's okay, it hasn't aged very well over time. It's not a bad song by any means and at times can be good but when stacked against "Together Again", or "If", or even "You Want This", it leaves a lot to be desired. I do however like it's message about how there's more than what meets the eye and trying to look past superficial appearances. This helps the song IMO.
The disc now takes us into the tremendous slide that became the "All For You" era although thankfully, it focuses on the better songs of this era with the marvelous title track. Although I found the album to be a letdown on my part, the title track is a very catchy, fun song that brilliantly samples "The Glow of Love" and became one of my favorite Janet songs from the 2000s. It's a pity that it was the only single that I ended up liking a lot. The version on here is the video version with that famous break that momentarily morphs into a slightly altered sample of "Pleasure Principle" from 15 years earlier before morphing back into the normal track. I especially love the chime effect that runs from 3:11 to 3:14. "Someone to Call My Lover" is a good song that brilliantly samples "Ventury Highway". We then take a brief trip though the filthy gauntlet that became the "Damita Jo" album which really made turn away from Janet's music for more than a year after that crushing disappointment. Thankfully it gets little representation on this compilation with "All Nite (Don't Stop)" although the cooing and uhhhsss gets really irritating and disgusting for me. The musical aspect of the song is good though. "Call On Me" from the vastly improved "20 Y.O." album has great melody but to me, it was a very poor choice for a first single and the song feels like it was rushed at the very last minute and feels like wasted potential. It's not a bad song IMO but it feels far more like a work-in-progress recording that was suddenly rushed out before it could be developed more. Still, it's a good symbol of Janet making tremendous recovery from the low of the preceding album. As of this review, I haven't really been able to get my hands on a copy of "Discipline" so I can't really give any opinion on it yet as of this review but "Feedback" is a good song with a bit of an experimental dance quality to it although it makes for poor club music but good headphone music IMO. I really liked the solar system-themed video that accompanied.
We finally close this collection out with a frantic, and energetic piece entitled "Make Me" which is a really good song that holds promise for perhaps Janet finally releasing another great album in the near future. This song is very good and definitely a danceable tune with a funky style to it. While far from superb at this point, it holds promise for a return to greatness.
Overall, "Number Ones" is a marvelous retrospective of Janet's first 23-years of superstardom from 1986 to 2009. This collection documents the dizzying heights of 1980s Janet, the chameleon of 1990s Janet, the tumble of early 2000s Janet to the rebounding of "20 Y.O.". Highly recommended for both the "Rebel Janet" camp which I lean towards, and the "Sensual" Janet of 1993-onwards.
Janet Jackson's career has seen mostly highs and a few lows (that would be the last 3 studio albums). In 1995, the best-of "Design of a Decade" was released. Fourteen years later, this updated "best of" is issued.
"Number Ones" (2 CDs; 34 tracks; 150 min.) collects 33 tracks that have reached number 1 in some chart, plus one new track "Make Me" to close the collection. CD1 (16 tracks; 76 min.) goes up to 1993. Rightfully so, the 2 classic albums "Control" and "Rhythm Nation" each get 6 and 7 tracks, respectively. There are a couple of nice additions from that era, in particular the Herb Albert track "Diamond", and the duet with Luther Vandross "The Best Things in Life Are Free" (from the "Mo' Money" soundtrack). Somewhat unfortunately, CD1 closes with "That's the Way Love Goes", the first single from "janet.", rather than lumping it with the other selections from that album on CD2. CD2 (18 tracks; 74 min.) continues with 4 more tracks from "janet.", and then rolls on with the duet with Michael "Scream", and one of the then-new tracks from Design of a Decade" ("Runaway"). "The Velvet Rope" gets 4 tracks; and more than halfway through CD2 we are still only up to 1997. The last 12 years are covered quickly, as Janet's commercial success drops off steeply in the last 10 years or so. The last 3 studio albums each get 1 track, that's it.
Listening to this collection, you come to the realization that this is truly an impressive string of hits. Thankfully, the entire collection is brought in strict chorological order (which was not the case on "Decade"). The liner notes are quite helpful as they bring full information which song was number one on what chart (it is here that we find out that all-but-one of the songs here have charted on Billboard, the lone exception being "Got 'Til It's Gone", which is credited as "#1 Japan, 1997". While "Decade" was a good compilation, this one is better yet and therefore the recommended way to go.