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Rhythm Nation Import
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Album le plus vendu aux États-Unis en 1990, Rythm Nation 1814, produit comme son prédécesseur par le tandem Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, est celui par lequel Janet Jackson entre dans la cour des grands, éclipsant même son prestigieux frère Michael Jackson au passage.
Plus sombre que les précédents opus funky de la chanteuse, Rythm Nation 1814 présente une Janet lookée façon « US Army » et évoquant des thèmes autrement moins légers que ceux jusqu’alors traités par les chanteurs de soul et de R&B. « State of the World » ou « Black Cat » ou « 1814 » sont autant de morceaux qu’on pourrait qualifier de matures en comparaison avec la production antérieure de l’artiste, prouvant ainsi qu’elle n’était plus la gentille petite fille des albums passés. - Copyright 2015 Music Story
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L'album se termine par trois slows consécutifs (on retrouvera cette tendance dans l'album "Janet").
Les arrangements sont très réussis et Rhythm Nation 1814 fait partie des incontournables de la soeur de Michael Jackson. A redécouvrir !
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The title track opens the album with a real kick, with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' mighty rhythm track, the massive backing vocals and the stunning chorus. "State of the World" was a deserved radio hit (which but for the lack of a commercial release would've been the album's *eighth* Top 10 single); "Miss You Much" added a maturity and a harder-edged sound to her Control dance formula and triumphed in spades; "Come Back to Me" and "Lonely"'s Spanish guitars and moody keyboards helped Janet achieve her first good ballad performances ("Let's Wait Awhile" from Control came tumbling down into the syrup jug); "Black Cat" was "Beat It" updated with snarling guitar riffs and a growling Janet Jackson lead vocal; and "Escapade" proved that Miss J. hadn't lost her sense of fun.
Sonically this is the only Janet Jackson album that doesn't sound dated at all -- even The Velvet Rope and janet. heralded to an '80s sound, looking back instead of forward. Rhythm Nation: 1814, on the other hand, was a prophetic and important work, and ten years after its release holds up to scrutiny on all fronts -- vocal performance, arrangement, recording, groove.
The 'Rhythm Nation' project had it all: substance, style, pop appeal, energy, and a socially conscious message. Amazingly, seven top five singles (U.S) were released during the 'Rhythm Nation' campaign, spanning from September 1989 until January 1991, when the majestic "Love Will Never Do Without You" became the album's fifth #1 single (something no other album has done since). Also, there was a double meaning to the "1814" tagged on to Janet's album. The well-known meaning is the fact that Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" in 1814. The lesser known meaning is that "R" is the 18th letter in the alphabet, and "N" is the 14th letter. Although these facts may seem trivial, I mean to include them to illustrate that RN 1814 was much more than a "pop" album in the traditional sense. Rather, the 'Rhythm Nation 1814' album (and tour) was a shining portrait of a caring individual employing her influence as a recording artist to spread an honest, pro-social message a la Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder.
Now, let's get to the music:
True to the mysterious cover art (black & white), the album begins with a tolling bell, a door opening, and then a recitation of the 'Rhythm Nation' pledge, ending with the line, "pushing towards a world rid of color-lines". An elevator sound descends into Janet's famous "5,4,3,2,1" -- and then we're off into the title track (2nd U.S. single), a gloriously funky anthem that still sounds as fresh, exciting and inventive as it did back in 1989. I really can't say enough about this song...
Next up is an interlude that introduces the listener to "State Of The World", an urgent dance number (almost the 8th single) addressing societal ills such as homelessness, violence, and world hunger. Following another interlude, we are led into "The Knowledge" which musically has Janet chanting over a wonderfully produced 'new jack swing' beat provided by Jam & Lewis during what I consider their creative peak.
After a "get the point?" interlude, we're off into dance-land with "Miss You Much" (1st U.S. single), a confident, carefree jam that nicely recalls her earlier 'Control' material. We hear a somber "Come Back To Me" interlude before going into "Love Will Never Do Without You" (7th U.S. single) perhaps one of the most beautiful midtempo R&B/pop songs ever recorded. The background vocals on "Love Will Never Do Without You" are incredibly uplifting, and make me miss the days when Jam & Lewis vocally contributed to Ms. Jackson's music.
"Livin' In A World (They Didn't Make)" is a powerful ballad primarily inspired by the Stockton school playground killings of 1989, and the last full-length song to address social issues on the album. Its message -- addressing youth violence, adult hypocrisy, and protecting children -- is as relevant today as it ever was. One word: "colors" (a reference to gangs), is censored from the album; this was an interesting move by A&M Records...makes me wonder why?
Then we get to dance again in the form of "Alright" (4th U.S. single), a new-jack-swing number in every sense -- so much so that rapper Heavy D contributed to the video (along with legends Cab Calloway, Sid Charese and the Nicholas Brothers). Next we go into the explosively fun "Escapade" (3rd U.S. single), which I still hear quite often. Both "Escapade" and (especially) "Alright" had great videos.
After an anti-drug interlude, we're led into "Black Cat" (6th U.S. single), a scorching rocker that actually has a much better single version (which can be found on 'Design Of A Decade'); but it's the next song, "Lonely" that I consider a true work of art. It's a misty ballad featuring delicate percussion, a tender spanish guitar, and the most vividly plush background vocals I have ever heard. Jam & Lewis were able to create this 'quiet storm' magic a year earlier in 1988 when they wrote and produced "Can You Stand The Rain" for New Edition. "Lonely" is this reviewer's favorite song of all time.
The beauty continues in the form of the oh-so-somber "Come Back To Me" (5th U.S. single), which follows perfectly in the footsteps of "Lonely". This is the Janet Jackson I fell in love with, and came to look up to during my youth: pure, sweet, caring and beautiful. Right after "Come Back To Me", Janet invites the listener into her bedroom, and sings "Someday is Tonight", a sequel of sorts to her earlier pro-abstinence ballad, "Let's Wait Awhile". Featuring a steamily muted trumpet by Herb Alpert, "Someday is Tonight" is an intensely sensual finale to this long and eventful journey of an album...
We close 'Rhythm Nation 1814' with a 'morning after' final interlude ending with the line, "don't let your eyes deceive you" and a tolling bell - leaving the listener with a haunting, almost disturbingly unresolved ending to a perfect album. 'Rhythm Nation 1814' is a seamless work of pop/R&B brilliance. The subsequent 'Rhythm Nation 1814' world tour still maintains the record of being the most successful debut tour in history.
This is an excellent record, the best comprehensive showcase of Janet Jackson's performing skills, and the best overall concept she ever brought to an album. Whether it is the insistent and heartfelt march of "Rhythm Nation," the skillfull groove of "The Knowledge" and "State of the World" or the wonderful, sweet, and lovely vibe of "Escapade," and "Alright" this album just works from beginning to end. The interludes do not distract from the feel of this record, they are part of the organic whole.
Janet's choreography on this tour is also worthy of note. Hugely influential, there is almost NO video on MTV today that hasn't taken a page out of that book.
This is Janet Jackson's masterpiece, an album that holds up well fifteen years later, and should remind her of the true standard she should be living up to.
Get out of the bedroom Janet, we know you're sexy. Start saying something again and it will all fall back into place.
The music is top-notch with sonic punch, loud slamming beats, strong vocals, both solo and chorus, and amazing and powerful songwriting and her first song she wrote all by herself "Black Cat" is truly angry and powerful especially with the loud crunchy heavy-metal guitars and sledgehammer beats. The albums theme, like we all know, is about how to counteract the wrongs in the world as the title track says. Not all of it is like this as some tracks are on the fun side. Alright fits into this category with it's stunning New Jack Swing beats, and cheering voices. Listening to this song, it makes me yearn so much for the Janet of this era again. Alright is Janet at the apex. The last three tracks are haunting ballads and far surpass almost every ballad she's done since(Not that they're all boring or bad). The first one, Lonely, is a dark haunting song with beautiful Spanish guitars and powerful lyrics and ambient atmosphere. The next one, Come Back To Me, continues the feel of Lonely but adding a bit of a more orchestral sound. There were two version both of which I like. The version on Design Of A Decade has dingling keyboards at the beginning, the parent album version has the haunting multilayered chorus at the beginning. I happen to like both but I like the multi-layered chorus version a little better. The last one, Someday Is Tonight, is Janets first true ... song by Janet. Where as they would get worse with each CD afterwards, SIT works perfectly and benifits by having a ominous stormy atmosphere, eerie melody, multi-layered chorus, drippy trancy beats, and also by not having any ridiculously graphic lyrics like All For You has(Would You Mind & Love Scene made me sick!). I love the muted trumpet playing by trumpeteer Herb Alpert.
....And now for the Rhythm Nation Compilation......
The DVD that comes with this edition of Rhythm Nation is a collection of Janets seven ground breaking videos and are absolutely amazing with the astounding choreography from Tina Landon and also I also loved her clad-in-black image too from this era in her career. In fact, while I might be recieving angry replies but I thought she looked alot prettier during this era than when she became a "...-kitten". My favorite videos are the dynamite Miss You Much with the classic chair routine, the dance army video of the title track, the carnival influenced Escapade, the 1920s Chicago style Alright, and Black Cat(Love those tight jeans and leather boots, Whew!). In fact, every video is classic. I watched the RN compilation in VHS and have worn out like two copies over the years and it's almost on the border of being an honor to have these amazing videos on DVD!
The next album, Janet, while good, was an artistic slide IMHO. The next one, The Velvet Rope, is a little better with some more creativity put into it. All For you on the other hand sounds like sorry excuse for record sales.
Her latter works are good but compared to Rhythm Nation 1814, I'm not nearly as impressed them like I am with this amazing, and unbelievable album. The only other album by Janet that comes close to being this good is Control and I hope they can re-release that album with a DVD of her videos from that era. Overall, while it may cost more with this edition, this CD/DVD set is a great buy. Even if you have Rhythm Nation 1814 already on it's older edition, this CD/DVD set should be bought as a companion to the other version. Don't throw out the older version of Rhythm Nation. Janet, we need more music like this from you again! And also get rid of the hip-hop dreck of All For You and make some more guitar based music. RN 1814, Control, Design Of A Decade, and The Velvet Rope are all you need to hear Janets strongest material. :)