People of the world unite, strength in number we can get it right…
In 1989, Janet Jackson released her fourth album, the socially conscious ‘Rhythm Nation 1814.’ Given recent political events, we thought there was no better time to spotlight the album’s title track as our From The Vault pick.
Released as the LP’s second single, ‘Nation’ was – once again – the result of the work between Jackson and legendary duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. It contains a sample from Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Thank You’. Like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell before her, Jackson used this track to urge the youth to join forces and work together in order to improve their way of life.
A Pop-song-with-a-message, the release caused a colossal storm on a global scale. And although it missed the top of the US charts by one position – peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it still it reached #1 on the Hip-Hop/R&B tally.
Dominic Sena took the directorial helm of the anthem’s Grammy-winning video – which skewed more mini-movie that any of Jackson’s prior or subsequent efforts.
Set in a post-apocalyptic warehouse, it is arguably one of the most iconic dance videos and sequences in Pop Culture. Influenced by brother Michael’s own short film ‘Captain Eo’, the hard-hitting choreography remains a staple and an inspiration for even today’s biggest stars.
Ever the idealist, Janet’s idea behind shooting the video in black and white was so that everybody had the same skin color: grey. A minor detail to some, but the semantics of this reaffirm how well-thought-out the message and execution were.
From the US President-elect, to the BREXIT, to the one year anniversary of the Parisian terrorist attacks, it tends to be complicated to keep a positive outlook on life in such uncertain times.
Songs like ‘Rhythm Nation’ are what the world at large needs at this very moment; songs about hope, love, peace and unity.
Unfortunately, over 25 years after its release, the need for people to unite is stronger than ever. Hopefully 25 years from now we’ll finally be singing another tune.
More than ever, Janet, we salute you!