Pros: Janet Jackson is a stunner. Single/video mixes, lots of rarer collaborations.
Cons: The European version lacks All Nite; the American version lacks Whoops Now.
We’re gonna have a good time
You and me gonna get it tonight
Baby, can you groove and
Make me move?
Don’t stop til ya get it up
I’ve been waiting on this one for a loooooooong time.
Janet Jackson is an iconic singer, dancer, songwriter, and performer with her unique sense of style and visual representation. Much like her contemporary Madonna, Janet was always one step ahead of the game with her music and her sound, beginning with her groundbreaking Control era and following-up all the way to her latest Discipline project. Working with producers Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and her former beau Jermaine Dupri, Janet Jackson is what pop music is all about. She’s proven herself time and time again, but there was something missing from her back catalogue. Perhaps mainly due to her record label battles, a complete retrospective CD set had yet to be released, with her only official compilation spanning ten years and consisting of little from the 90s—and while Jan was a hit from late 80s on, her stride was really tested in the 1990s. Number Ones was released in the US on my mother’s birthday, but unfortunately, I had to wait until today get my hands the version issued in Europe: The Best.
I woke up today a little before noon, as it was my day off, and I was already excited, if not a little nervous. Today was the day that Janet’s new release was coming out, but given the mediocre CD selection in Gießen at times, I was nervous I wouldn’t find it—at I didn’t at the first place I went (way to fail, Karstadt). But eventually I found two copies at the Kaufhof down the street, where I bought one and threw the other one into the Top 20 shelves. You gotta be sneaky. So, now I have it. I’ve looked through it, I’ve seen the tracklist, I’ve held the booklet. And as a compilation of Janet’s music, how does The Best hold up? While a lot of my favorite Ms. Jackson tunes were not hits are not present on this collection, I can see how any casual fan would really enjoy everything on this collection. The differences between the US and the International editions are minimal—my version is missing All Nite (damnit…), but adds two bonus tracks in Whoops Now (Janet-penned diddy) and a lame house mix of When I Think of You.
Alright, so, that’s taken care of. The rest of the collection offers a little more than just the obvious hits like Rhythm Nation and If; many collaborations and forgotten gems have been thrown into the mix that maybe even some bigger fans might not have, like her tracks with her brother, Luther Vandross, Herb Albert, Busta Rhymes, and Nelly. This isn’t just for the casual fan who forgot Janet even existed. This collection is one that’s marketed for all fans of Ms. Jackson’s highly stylized beats. Her latest effort is represented solely by Feedback, which may have been the best pop song of 2008, and that’s a little annoying; but then again, I have to be realistic: this collection needs to represent what people expect of Janet and not get too crazy. The best part about this double CD set is the inclusion of Make Me, a brand new neo-disco track that playfully eludes to her brother’s classic Don’t Stop Til Ya Get Enough. Fans have been praising this song as Janet’s best single since All For You, and I think it’s definitely a great party song. Described by the artist herself as “classic Janet,” this track embodies each era of her career, even her pre-Control days, which are obviously not represented here (*sigh of relief*).
While this collection may not perfectly suit my own needs (I’m more album oriented), this collection accurately shows the public just how strong Janet Jackson’s music is. And a body of work, The Best/Number Ones is everything the world well in love with.
Total words: 640
Out of respect for the entire package, I will no longer be individually ranking songs for compilation releases. If you would like to know exactly what I think of these tracks, please refer to my other reviews. The only tracks exempt from this policy are new tracks recorded for the new release.
01. What Have You Done for Me Lately
03. When I Think of You
05. Let's Wait Awhile (Single Version)
06. The Pleasure Principle (Edit)
07. Diamonds (w/Herb Albert)
08. Miss You Much
09. Rhythm Nation
11. Alright (Single Version w/rap)
12. Come Back to Me
13. Black Cat (Video Mix)
14. Love Will Never Do (Without You)
15. The Best Things in Life are Free (w/Luther Vandross)
16. That's the Way Love Goes
17. When I Think of You (David Morales Remix Edit)** - The Best only.
03. Because of Love
04. Any Time, Any Place
05. Scream (w/Michael Jackson)
07. Got Til It's Gone (w/Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell)
08. Together Again
09. I Get Lonely (w/Blackstreet)
10. Go Deep
11. What's It Gonna Be?! (w/Busta Rhymes)
12. Doesn't Really Matter
13. All For You (Video Mix)
14. Someone to Call My Lover
15. Call on Me (w/Nelly)
17. All Nite (Don't Stop) -- Number Ones only.
17. Whoops Now -- The Best only.
18. Make Me [5 Stars]
SCORE: 5 STARS
1982 - Janet Jackson
1984 - Dream Street
1986 - Control
1989 - Rhythm Nation 1814
1993 - janet.
1995 - Design of a Decade (US Edition)
1997 - The Velvet Rope
2001 - All For You
2004 - Damita Jo
2006 - 20 Y.O.
2006 - 20 Y.O. (Deluxe Edition)
2006 - So Excited (CD-Single)
2008 - Discipline
2008 - Discipline (Deluxe Edition)
2009 - The Best/Number Ones
For the Lean & Mean Write-Off: HERE