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Janet Jackson’s ‘Control’: 32 Years On

Considering ‘Control’ celebrates its 32nd birthday this year, it still sounds fresh and remains an iconic album.

On February 4th 1986, an album under the name of ‘Control’ was released in America. That album would be released by Janet Jackson, and it would ultimately become the album that made her a household name – being her breakthrough release, despite being her third album.

‘Control’ spawned seven singles in total, which is pretty commendable considering the album consists of nine tracks. The first five releases all went top 5 in America, her first ever top 50 singles. Her first number one on the US Billboard charts would come in the form of ‘When I Think of You’.

With an album cover designed by fashion photographer and illustrator Tony Viramontes and an album crossing genres such as R&B, disco, funk and rap, it was her most creative and visual piece of work yet. Not only did the album become a staple release of the 80s, but it was also one of the most important releases in her career.

At the end of 1986, the album was the sixth best-selling album of the year. This set Janet Jackson off onto a 30-years-and-counting music career and countless other number one records.

“This is a story about control – my control, control of what I say, control of what I do and this time I’m gonna do it my way.”

The album saw Janet Jackson collaborate with songwriters and record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on a fresh sound which spoke about regaining control and finding independence. In the process of setting the charts on fire, the album received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Producer of the Year.

‘Control’, ‘Nasty’ ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’ and ‘The Pleasure Principle’ all feature on the album. The legacy of just these four tracks means that many people could be mistaken for thinking the ‘Control’ album is in fact a greatest hits release.

Just some of the many accolades the album has received since its release include being featured within The Guardian’s 1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die and Spin Magazine’s The 300 Best Albums of 1985-2014.

In 2018, ‘Control’ still remains one of the best-selling albums of all time with Billboard Magazine even citing is at the fourth best-selling R&B album by a female.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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