100 Best Albums of the '90s

From Moby to Nirvana, the records that defined a decade

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Janet Jackson, 'Janet.'

58. Janet Jackson, 'Janet.'

As Black-American-music royalty, Janet Jackson has had every significant moment of her growth recorded. With Control, she had her cotillion. With Rhythm Nation 1814, she announced her political and sexual awakening. And with Janet., she celebrated becoming an erotic being. Using soul, rock and dance elements, as well as opera diva Kathleen Battle, Janet unleashed her most musically ambitious record, guided, as always, by producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Two albums before, she'd innocently sung, "Let's wait awhile." Now she boldly purrs, "If I was your girl, oh the things I'd do to you!/I'd make you call out my name/I'd ask who it belongs to!" Like Gloria Steinem with a six-figure video budget, she shows young women a way to have their sexual freedom and their dignity, to have their cake and be eaten, too.

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