janet jackson - "if" / by Zack Free

each one of janet jackson's albums from control to the velvet rope functioned as an explosive personal statement. while control established the singer's newfound autonomy, and rhythm nation 1814 exhibited a militant dissatisfaction with the state of society, 1993's janet. was a radical declaration of sexual freedom. "if," released as the album's second single (following the brilliant "that's the way love goes,"), shattered jackson's sexually abstinent, "let's wait awhile" image to pieces. "if i was your girl, oh the things i'd do to you," the singer croons atop a bone-rattling groove that introduced trip hop to pop radio. along with its spectacular video, "if" helped to usher in a new wave of sex-positivity for women. she would further explore the theme of sexual liberation on 1997's the velvet rope (my personal favorite of janet's albums), but none of those future breakthroughs (such as "free xone" or "tonight's the night") would have been possible without this jam right here

 

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