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How SZA’s 'CTRL' Compares To Janet Jackson’s 'Control' Album

 
<p>Janet Jackson and SZA</p>

 

Jessica Littles 

Dec, 01, 2017

The album was too loud. That was the biggest problem Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had when recording Janet Jackson’s 1986 Control.  

“Working with Prince, we would always watch the way he would record,” Jimmy Jam told ESSENCE. "And the machines were always in the red- meaning that he was recording too loud, but that was the way he got the sound. We ended up recording everything too loud because our machines [that we used for Janet] were already set up to record that way, so we were recording our stuff doubly loud. We didn’t realize it until we started mixing and our engineer came in and said,  'Who recorded this?!”

The amplified sound was a foreshadowing for what the album would mean for Jackson’s music career. Prior to Control, Janet was the well-known baby girl of the Jackson clan. She had flourished as a television actress and recorded two notable albums, but hadn’t taken music seriously. In her personal and professional life, things were changing —she had just annulled her marriage to James DeBarge and hired a new manager, relieving her father of his typical business obligations.

Naturally, in the summer of 1985, when she left her family home in Los Angeles to record with Jam and Lewis in Minneapolis, she was ready to do something loud, brave and unexpected. Control was her resounding declaration.  

“The idea for us was to take her out of her comfort zone,” Jam said. “When we started working we didn’t record for the first 4 or 5 days. We would go to the studio and just kind of hang out. She was going through a lot of things in her life. And she finally said, ‘Well when are we going to start working?’  And we said ‘We’ve already started working and we showed her the lyrics that we had started for Control, and she was like, ‘This is what we’ve been talking about.’”

“The albums that she did before —she had no input in them.  It was basically just like someone would give her a song and she would sing it. That was never our philosophy for making records.”  

If the album’s title doesn’t give away the theme, Control’s opening statement says it all: “This is a story about control, my control, control over what I say, control over what I do, and this time I’m going to do it my way.” Hits like “Nasty”, “What Have You Done For Me Lately”, and “Pleasure Principle” reinforced the theme by showcasing a woman, who demanded respect in her relationships and in her work and was willing to get that respect by taking as much personal control as necessary.

Thirty years later, women musicians are still talking about control. While Jackson’s 1986 album is about gaining control, SZA’s 2017 CTRL is about releasing control.

“I wanted to control the way people thought of me… saw me,” SZA told The Cruz Show. “I wanted to control the way life was going, controlling the pitfalls or the pain… Trying to control the pain influx… And it’s just not possible. You can’t control the way other people feel. You can’t control the way they react. And once you lose enough, you allow yourself the space to relinquish control.”

As a result, many of the songs on CTRL feel circular or open-ended. She’s doesn’t commit to a conclusive thesis or hook, but instead questions, prods, reasons and feels her way through old relationships and experiences, channeling the tug-of-war that becomes inevitable when a person who’s accustomed to or comfortable with being in control must give it up.

On “Go Gina”, she sings about a woman who’s learning, or perhaps needs to learn, how to let go. The song is a play on the character Gina from the show Martin, who SZA says is beautiful with a sense of humor, but kind of uptight and “If she lived like Pam she might have more fun.” Like most of the album, the song is biographical, based on her feelings about a past relationship. “I never really talked about relationships in a direct way. I used to be very metaphorical, very figurative,” SZA said. “And also just kind of scared to talk about the way I felt in a literal way or very directly.”

That vulnerability is paying off. CTRL has put SZA on the hearts, ears and eyes of R&B and pop fans across the world and has forced her industry peers to recognize her as an indomitable singer-songwriter. It has also earned her five Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album. Similar to how Control re-introduced Janet to the world and put her in the same conversation as her big brother Michael, CTRL is SZA’s breakthrough moment.

“There are other women’s albums that I really enjoyed this year, but her album is probably the best album of the year, and I think she’s absolutely amazing.” Jam told ESSENCE. “I’ve always loved her writing style anyway.”

And SZA’s writing style is loveable, if not remarkable.

While she doesn’t waste any space being delicate or inexplicit, she still manages to be stylish and emotive. On the album’s most fearless track “Supermodel”, she chases her feelings through a game of cat and mouse, as she admonishes a lover for replacing her with prettier women, sleeps with his homeboy, makes a plea for his validation —before reconciling that she could be free from this tormenting game if she could just learn how to be okay with herself. It’s a bare composition that synthesizes the emotional negotiation in a love-hate relationship between a woman and her lover, and a woman and herself. 

On “The Weekend”, she goes through a similar negotiation. The first verse acknowledges the recklessness of dealing with a guy who is with someone else; she even calls it selfish and desperate, but by the chorus, she is back in control, flipping the narrative of a wounded girl buried in second position, to a satisfied part-time girlfriend with benefits. It’s a provocative, albeit logical proposition when considered within the context of abandoning control.

Like her content, SZA’s approach to music-making is equally concerned with releasing control, “I’m making things that feel good, trying to connect to the part of me that doesn’t think as much,” she said, “Trying to focus on honesty, living with honesty. I’m trying to figure myself out through my music, which is taking so long.”

No matter how long it takes, we have a feeling the world will be listening.

https://www.essence.com/news/sza-janet-jackson-and-legacy-control

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Why does Janet's impact transcend generations?

 

 

Edited by hotboy06

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Why does Janet's impact transcend generations?

Why does mixing blue and yellow make green?

Why does the Roman Colosseum still stand as one of the world's greatest structures?

Why did that girl have to call in and get a bitch together for Rihanna and Cisus?

You're asking a question that science can not answer. 

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Why does mixing blue and yellow make green?

Why does the Roman Colosseum still stand as one of the world's greatest structures?

Why did that girl have to call in and get a bitch together for Rihanna and Cisus?

You're asking a question that science can not answer. 

You didn't have to scold me like that..I was just wondering..

pKapsZx.gif

 

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Why does mixing blue and yellow make green?

Why does the Roman Colosseum still stand as one of the world's greatest structures?

Why did that girl have to call in and get a bitch together for Rihanna and Cisus?

You're asking a question that science can not answer. 

I need receipts-_-

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I need receipts-_-

The funniest shit I've ever heard.  He/She gathered the Bey stans effortlessly. :lmao:

And he/she inadvertently started the God-like names we give our faves.  :cheer: Once I heard Cisus, I was done. :tear:

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The funniest shit I've ever heard.  He/She gathered the Bey stans effortlessly. :lmao:

And he/she inadvertently started the God-like names we give our faves.  :cheer: Once I heard Cisus, I was done. :tear:

I wanna hear it!!! lol

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Three reasons why “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” is one of the most relevant albums of 2018

Janet-Jackson-Rhythm-Nation-e15175964875

 

Every couple of months, I’ll think to myself, “Why is no one realizing that Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation is the most relevant album ever?”

The album–it’s full name being Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814–is one of my all-time favorite albums ever. I have personal reasons as to why I always found it relevant, as this was one of first albums I ever remember listening to as a kid. Thanks to my dad’s love of music, I grew up classics from the past (as we all do) as well as much of the day’s contemporary music. The albums I remember the most from my childhood are from En Vogue, Toni Braxton, and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation. I also remember my dad always skipping certain songs; for Rhythm Nation, the song to always skip was “Someday is Tonight.” If you know the album, you’ll know why this song was always skipped; a 5-year-old shouldn’t be hearing Janet Jackson moan and talk about sex on a song. True fact: I only started listening to this song just a few years ago. Thanks to a childhood full of skipping this song, I still feel like I shouldn’t be hearing it.

But aside from my childhood reasons, why is this album relevant to 2018? Why should you care to go back to 1989 when there’s tons of relevant music in 2018? Here are three big reasons.

1.  New jack swing is back: If Bruno Mars’ Grammy win for 24K Magic didn’t solidify it for you, the sounds of the late ’80s and early ’90s are back, and that includes new jack swing, the genre Mars used for his award-winning album. Mars name-checked Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in his acceptance speech, and if you’re wondering who those people are and what the original new jack swing sounds like, Rhythm Nation is a great example.

Jackson worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, legendary producing team and two of the key architects of the New Jack Swing sound, to create the album. The sound was initially perfected on Jackson’s Control album and their signatures, which musicologist and author Richard J. Ripani PhD described as “creating a fusion of R&B, rap, funk, disco and synthesized percussion,” paved the way for Teddy Riley, who led late ’80s/early ’90s group Guy and coined the term “new jack swing,” to define the genre even more.

2. It’s socially conscious: If you listen to the album, you’ll find it hauntingly familiar. Jackson’s talking about issues that we thought we only deal with in the 21st century–mass shootings, extreme poverty, disillusionment, and violence. If Jackson was talking about these issues around 30 years ago, it says a lot about how much America hasn’t changed at all. If anything, you could say we’ve gotten worse.

The key song that drives this home is “Livin’ in a World (They Didn’t Make).” The song is all about children who are thrown into a world that teaches them one thing, but acts the complete opposite. Instead of finding opportunity, children find violence and fear. The chilling ending to the song has the children’s choir backing Jackson’s vocals sound as if they’ve been shot in a mass shooting. It’s a song that will leave you thinking, even as you move onto the album’s more club-ready tracks.

3. The revolution won’t be televised; it’ll be sung in the club: While Rhythm Nation is a great time capsule of new jack swing, it’s a protest album at heart. The main goal for Jackson was to impress upon the listener why the issues of the day must be met with urgency and passion. The song “Rhythm Nation” is all about people of all races and backgrounds coming together “to improve our way of life.” There’s no division in protest, as long as the protest is about everyone ultimately living in harmony and peace. All are welcome to the table as long as all are willing to stand up for each other.

While music has always had a foot in the political space, Rhythm Nation is the most prominent political album of the late-’80s, continuing the path set by political music of the past while forging a new path for political albums in more modern times. While the protest music of the ’60s was often made to deliver a message and not get played in clubs, Rhythm Nation fused both frivolity and serious together in a package that certainly spoke to me as a child, and I believe it spoke to a lot of people who weren’t use to having politics intertwined with their dance music. Jackson’s decision to divide the album between message music and love songs by saying, “Get the point? Good. Let’s dance,” let the listener know it’s okay to feel sympathy about all of these issues and still have fun, because life goes on regardless. You can be both serious-minded and fun and funky too. Today’s popular albums, like Beyonce’s Lemonade, Kendrick Lamar’s D.A.M.N. and To Pimp a Butterfly, and Jay Z’s 4:44 all owe a debt to Rhythm Nation in that regard–they follow in the album’s footsteps of meshing radio-friendly beats with serious discussions about serious issues.

In short, Rhythm Nation is an album we should bring back into the national conversation. It’s relevance hasn’t faded over time; if anything, it only seems more poignant today–it’s not like there wasn’t a reason for Jackson naming her latest tour after one of the album’s songs, “State of the World.” With the state of the world being what it is, we need someone like Jackson to help us get through the tough times while helping us get our groove on, too.

http://colorwebmag.com/2018/02/02/three-reasons-why-janet-jacksons-rhythm-nation-1814-is-one-of-the-most-relevant-albums-of-2018/

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http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/realestate/jackson-technical-puts-fun-in-new-downtown-workplace/article_eb0f59e0-9769-5354-b0ec-028a443b2ed9.html

IT Service Owner puts a Janet reference on doorplate... cute read

“Sprinkled among nameplates are references to pop culture, such as Ashley [Jackson]’s door, which reads "Miss Jackson (if you're nasty)," a reference to a 1986 Janet Jackson song.”

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On 3/22/2018 at 12:32 PM, State of the Game said:

Janet follows 14 people on Instagram... Britney Spears is one of em :lmao: 

We're about to get a collab. :cheer:

 

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7 minutes ago, Mr. Wonder said:

We're about to get a collab. :cheer:

 

:umm: 

i wouldn’t mind 🤷🏾‍♂️

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12 hours ago, State of the Game said:

:umm: 

i wouldn’t mind 🤷🏾‍♂️

And let Britney get embarrassed? :umm:

 

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23 minutes ago, Mr. Wonder said:

And let Britney get embarrassed? :umm:

 

Yes 

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13 hours ago, MorganR said:

 

Mother Janresa.

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44 minutes ago, hotboy06 said:

Mother Janresa.

Created feminism. 

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http://www.thisisinsider.com/this-aspiring-janet-jackson-dancer-delivered-a-traffic-stopping-audition-with-help-from-an-unlikely-source-2018-4

#Commanet

D'iore [Janfam] was filming her audition in the middle of the street in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday when a police officer stopped to ask what she was doing. Instead of making her move to the sidewalk, though, something amazing happened — the police actually helped her film the video.

Officer: Ma'am , you can't dance in the middle of the street.
Me: I'm sorry sir, I was just trying to shoot a online submission video for Janet Jackson.
Officer: So you are risking getting hurt for this.
Me: Sir I really just want to get a good shot, I promise I'll be out the way.
Officer: OK, I'll stop traffic for you and cut my lights on, show me what you got.

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7 hours ago, State of the Game said:

http://www.thisisinsider.com/this-aspiring-janet-jackson-dancer-delivered-a-traffic-stopping-audition-with-help-from-an-unlikely-source-2018-4

#Commanet

D'iore [Janfam] was filming her audition in the middle of the street in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday when a police officer stopped to ask what she was doing. Instead of making her move to the sidewalk, though, something amazing happened — the police actually helped her film the video.

Officer: Ma'am , you can't dance in the middle of the street.
Me: I'm sorry sir, I was just trying to shoot a online submission video for Janet Jackson.
Officer: So you are risking getting hurt for this.
Me: Sir I really just want to get a good shot, I promise I'll be out the way.
Officer: OK, I'll stop traffic for you and cut my lights on, show me what you got.

She's was only doing the LORD'S work. That police officer knew not to intervene or face HER wrath.

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1 hour ago, Mr. Wonder said:

Both of them did what they had to do. 

:lmao: I'm dying @ how SAFETY was an afterthought for an online video for Janet Jackson. :lmao:

 

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1 hour ago, hotboy06 said:

:lmao: I'm dying @ how SAFETY was an afterthought for an online video for Janet Jackson. :lmao:

 

“Oh you’re doing this for Music’s Lord & Savior.. fuck traffic”

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