20 Lessons in Love & Life as Told by Janet Jackson's Biggest Hits

Today is not only Tuesday, May 16, but the day music and pop culture icon Janet Jackson was born. Over her lengthy career, the entertainer has blessed the world with endless Billboard chart-topping hits, visually stimulating music videos and songs that have made us hit the dance floor or set a serenading mood.

Her discography has managed to drop many crystal gems on love, life, confidence and fighting the powers that be. Get caught up in a Janet dance party while catching these truth bombs below.

20. “Miss You Much” (1989) Rhythm Nation 1814

“I’ll tell your mama, I’ll tell your friends. I’ll tell anyone whose heart can comprehend. Send it in a letter baby tell you on the phone, I’m not the kinda girl who likes to be alone.” 

Translation: Don’t be afraid to be direct with your feelings.

19. “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” (1986) Control

“You ought to be thankful for the little things, but little things are all you seem to give. You’re always putting off what we can do today, soap opera says, ‘You’ve got one life to live.’ Who’s right, who’s wrong?”

Translation: It takes two to make a relationship work.

18. “Control” (1986) Control

“Got my own mind, I wanna make my own decisions. When it has to do with my life, my life, I wanna be the one in control.”

Translation: Live life by your standards, no one else’s.

17. “Let’s Wait A While” (1987) Control

“Let’s wait awhile, before it’s too late. Let’s wait awhile, our love will be great, let’s wait awhile, before we go too far.”

Translation: I rather not live with regrets so let’s hit the pause button before we toy in the sheets, okay?

16. “That’s The Way Love Goes” (1993) janet.

“I’m gonna take you places you’ve never been before and you’ll be so happy that you came”

Translation: If you need a translation, you don’t deserve this love fam.

15. “Got til It’s Gone” feat. Q-Tip & Joni Mitchell (1997) The Velvet Rope

“If I could turn back the hands of time, I’d make you fall in love In love with me again.”

Translation: We’re not perfect, especially in the parallels of love but it doesn’t mean we should give up either.

14. “Go Deep” (1998) The Velvet Rope

“We go deep and we don’t get no sleep cause we be up all night until the early light.”

Translation: A lit life is the best life.

13. “Doesn’t Really Matter” (2001) All For You

“Doesn’t really matter what the eye is seeing cause I’m in love with the inner being, and it doesn’t really matter what they believe. What matters to me is you’re in love with me.”

Translation: People will always talk but what truly counts is the love and respect that lies in you and your partner.

12. “Call On Me” featuring Nelly (2006) 20 Y.O.

“It don’t matter near or far -- It’s like anything you say I’ll do.”

Translation: Love means having each other’s backs no matter what.

11. “Rock With U” (2008) Discipline

“I wanna rock with you, let’s converse. Talk with your body, don’t say anything at all.”

Translation: Don’t take life or this love thing so serious.

10. “No Sleeep” featuring J. Cole (2015) Unbreakable

“Stay wide awake for every moment we spend together, ‘cause every second you’re away feels like forever.”

Translation: Dreaming of love means nothing when you have the real thing in front of you. Own the moment.

9. “If” (1993) janet.

“If I was your woman, the things I’d do to you, but I’m not… so I can’t and I won’t, but if i was your girl.”

Translation: We can’t give into temptation, no matter how good it looks.

8. “All For You” (2001) All For You

“Can’t be afraid or keep me waiting too long, before you know it I’ll be outta here…Don’t try to be all clever, cute, or even shy. Don’t have to work that hard, just be yourself and let that be your guide.”

Translation: Don’t ever be afraid to be yourself. You never know where it can take you.

7. “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” (1990) Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1914

“They said it wouldn’t last, we had to prove them wrong. ‘Cause I’ve learned in the past, that love will never do without you.”

Translation: Some wars in love are worth fighting for.

6. “Nasty” (1986) Control

“‘Cause privacy is my middle name, my last name is ‘Control.’ ‘No my first name ain’t baby,’ It’s Janet, Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.”

Translation: Teach your sons to treat women with respect no matter what the atmosphere.

5. “I Get Lonely” (1997) The Velvet Rope

“You are the one that lives in me my dear, want no one but you.”

Translation: The feels suck but it’s apart of the journey in love.

4. “The Pleasure Principle” (1987) Control

“I’m not here to feed your insecurities, I wanted you to love me.”

Translation: Hold your partner down and check your plights with yourself at the door.

3. “Someone To Call My Lover” (2001) All For You

“My, my looking for a God, guy, I don’t want him too shy, but he’s gotta have the qualities that I like in a man -- strong, smart, affectionate. He’s gotta be all for me and I’ll be too.”

Translation: Standards always weed out the whack ones. Own them.

2. Rhythm Nation (1989) Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814

“A generation full of courage, come forth with me. People of the world today, we looking for a better way of life. We are a part of the rhythm nation. People of the world unite. Strength in numbers we can get it right, we are a part of the rhythm nation.”

Translation: The battle against injustice still wages on but the outcome doesn’t have to be what we fear. Finding that inner courage to speak our truths will only give us more power to overthrow any and every establishment in our way.

1. “Scream” with Michael Jackson (1995) HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1

“Peek in the shadow, come into the light. You tell me I’m wrong, then you better prove you’re right. You’re sellin’ out souls but, I care about mine. I’ve got to get stronger and I won’t give up the fight” 

Translation: In life there are challenges that will make you question everything, even yourself. But with the love and guidance of your heart, family and mind, you’ll come out on top.

This article originally appeared in Vibe.


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