It's Superbowl weekend, and this year I'm picking sides.
The woman with 28 top ten singles, 8 platinum albums, world tours that grossed more than half a billion, a videography to die for, the only artist to win Grammys in 5 different genres, and the one who released my favourite record, The Velvet Rope.
I started developing my musical taste around eleven or twelve years old. My home may have been the only place where music discovery was an activity in the suburb where I grew up. My dad was, and is, the biggest music fan I know, and our house was stacked with shelves and shelves (and shelves) of CDs, vinyls, in the living room, in the basement, everywhere. Day in and out, I'd sift through them for anything that piqued my curiosity or looked familiar.
I knew, kinda, who Janet was—via the "All For You" video and more broadly as part of the Jackson dynasty. She seemed to me more pop than my dad's taste, so I was surprised to find The Velvet Rope on one of the shelves. What I heard was a slap in the face to everything I thought I knew about her, an incredibly ambitious, inspired, lush piece of work that felt as natural as it felt unusual.
The album was my gateway to a discography with much more to offer, and to the entire genre that has since become the cornerstone of my musical world. Less than two months after the halftime show, I bought Damita Jo. Today I feel the same sense of loyalty I felt then. So this weekend, I'm keeping this medley of "That's the Way Love Goes" and "If' at the '93 VMAs on loop.
Thanks, Janet. Can't wait to see you next.