Throwback Thursday ‘Rhythm Nation’ by Janet Jackson (1989)
Usually, I try to keep my Throwbacks in the '90s and 00's, however, I made an exception for Janet. I mean, "Rhythm Nation" is amazing and its lyrics and themes still resonate today! Plus, 1989 is almost 1990.
"Rhythm Nation" was the second single from Janet's fourth studio album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814.
Where to start with this song. It's so epic!
According to Wikipedia, Janet said this about the song, "I realized that among my friends, we actually had a distinct 'nation' of our own. We weren't interested in drugs or drinking but social change. We also loved music and loved to dance... that's how Rhythm Nation 1814 was born...I thought it would be great if we could create our own nation. One that would have a positive message and that everyone would be free to join. I found it so intriguing that every one united through whatever the link was. And I felt that with most of my friends. Most people think that my closest friends are in the [entertainment] business, and they're not. They're roller-skating rink guards, waitresses, one works for a messenger service. They have minimum-wage paying jobs. And the one thing that we all have in common is music. I know that within our little group, there is a rhythm nation that exists."
She thought the smartest way to get the youth's attention was with music. Especially an up-tempo song.
Her record label didn't want to release the song or make a music video. Silly record label. The music video for "Rhythm Nation" received a Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video. It also received two MTV Video Music Awards for "Best Choreography" and "Best Dance Video."
The video/song is so iconic that the outfit and handwritten lyrics are included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power" exhibit and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Janet Jackson started the Rhythm Nation Scholarship to help students excel in academics. The award is given to students who have demonstrated high academic achievement or have been actively involved within their school or community. In response to a critic who said her socially conscious lyrics could accomplish "nothing", Jackson invited two high school graduates to the stage, who both had previously credited the song and its music video as the motivation for staying in school. So there. It's Ms. Jackson if you're nasty.
Again, according to Wikipedia, " In the United States, it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Dance Club Songs charts. It also peaked within the top 40 of most singles charts worldwide. "Rhythm Nation" received several accolades, including BMI Pop Awards for "Most Played Song", the Billboard Award for "Top Dance/Club Play Single" and a Grammy nomination for Jackson as "Producer of the Year." It has been included in two of Jackson's greatest hits collections, Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 (1995) and Number Ones (2009)."