Three years later, Jackson asserted herself as a sex symbol, releasing her self-titled album, “Janet,” and promoting it via a sexually charged “Rolling Stone” cover photo.
Professional and sexual peaks aside, a valley swiftly followed “Janet.” Privately, Jackson suffered both emotionally and physically, but mined those experiences to deliver her darkest but most raw record yet, 1997’s “The Velvet Rope.” The album showcased Janet as a voice for sexual poli- tics and was regarded as her strongest artistic statement to date.
A brighter Janet playfully returned in 2001 with “All For You.”
Then, in 2004, poised to capitalize on a Super Bowl performance, Jackson suffered criticism for the infamous breast-baring “wardrobe malfunction.” The controversy and ensuing backlash overshadowed her eighth record, “Damita Jo,” and the album found very little success.
Jackson’s next two albums, including the abysmal “20 Y.O.,” suffered from record label shifts, sinking sales and less reliance on her relationship with Jam and Lewis.
‘Unbreakable’ and beyond
After false starts and rumors, Jackson delivered the “Unbreakable” album and tour news to fans on her birthday. In an age of Internet leaks, it’s surprising very little else is known about the project.
Always careful in what she reveals, and reminding fans that they’ll always hear it from her lips, Janet has staged a brilliantly marketed comeback.
With the “Unbreakable” era descending upon us, Janet looks to be at her wisest yet.
September 18, 2015
Music legend Janet Jackson reinvents her image for the ‘Unbreakable’ album cover. (Publicity photo)