"No, my first name ain't 'baby', it's Janet! Miss Jackson if you're nasty!" This agreeably badass offering from Janet Jackson features the pop talent telling off creeps with undeniable visual flair. It also didn't hurt that this promo features some first-rate choreography (courtesy of Paula Abdul, no less), a trait that has always been a reliable weapon in Janet's visual arsenal. This clip also deserves bonus points for inspiring Sondra Prill's completely bonkers "Nasty" cover.
The Pleasure Principle
Who needs co-stars when you can captivate the screen with a dazzling dance routine and a Jackie Chan-esque talent for making the most of the props around you? "The Pleasure Principle" isn't the most complex video on the planet (in a nutshell: Janet gives a five-star dance performance in a people-free building) but it certainly excels as a compelling five-minute slice of visual accompaniment. This Control-era clip scooped the Best Choreography Moonman at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards (a repeat win following her victory for "Nasty" in 1987) and has been ripped off wholesale by pop acts ever since. (To be fair, "The Pleasure Principle" is the sort of clip that has a bit of previous influence in its DNA, too.)
How many music videos can you think of that have inspired their own Walt Disney World statue? Janet Jackson's ambitious and amazing promo for "Rhythm Nation" was more than just a hit video, it was its own pop cultural phenomenon. Crowned by Rolling Stone as "the gold standard for dystopian dance pop music videos," this promo earned Janet a pair of MTV Video Music Awards (Best Choreography and Best Dance Video) and has been a mainstay on "Best Videos Ever" lists since the day it first danced onto television screens with ruthless precision.
Love Will Never Do (Without You)
Janet's mega-selling album, Rhythm Nation 1814, produced a number of classic promos, including this gorgeous offering helmed by legendary fashion photographer Herb Ritts. "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" features a lot of beautiful people (Janet, Djimon Hounsu, Antonio Sabato Jr.) shot in a stylish, sexy and striking manner. The promo went on to earn Best Choreography and Best Art Direction honours at the 1991 MTV VMAs and has scored some desirable real estate on a variety of "Best Videos Ever" lists.
That's The Way Love Goes
Rene Elizondo Jr. (a.k.a. Janet's one-time husband) directed this warmly-received video. "That's The Way Love Goes" was teased heavily in 1993 before making its eventual debut. Once it arrived, the promo raised a few eyebrows with its sexy (but certainly not smutty) on-screen content, marking another clip that had Janet showcasing confidence in her sensuality. Adding a touch of rearview glamour to the proceedings is a pre-fame Jennifer Lopez playing a minor role in the video.
Provocative for its day and... well, still provocative now, this 1993 visual offering pushed the envelope for its sultry content and earned raves for its pseudo-futuristic look. Set in an Asian nightclub located somewhere in the not-too-distant future, Janet and her dancers launch into some sex-positive choreography and deal with themes of voyeurism and lust. The steamy visuals were too much for some music video outlets, which led some networks to spring for the version that focused solely on the clip's choreography. The controversy didn't hurt "If" in the eyes of critics. The promo earned VMA honours for Best Female Video and Best Dance Video. (The clip also notched the Playboy Magazine Entertainment Award for Music Video of the Year.)
In 1995, Janet Jackson lent an assist to her brother Michael (who was no slouch in the video department either) on MJ's event single "Scream". The accompanying Mark Romanek-directed video features the siblings in sync and tackling some interstellar dance moves with a fiery intensity. "Scream" was an extremely pricey promo to produce. Clocking in at a whopping $7 million in costs, the video still reigns as the heavyweight champ for most expensive clip of all time. The end product wound up pulling in three Moonmen at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards.
Janet Jackson's critically fawned over 1997 album The Velvet Rope ushered in a variety of fantastic videos, including this beautiful promo for "Together Again". Set in the Serengeti, Janet is positively beaming as she participates in some lovely choreography and chills out with local wildlife. This Seb Janiak-helmed video gave the pop superstar the Best Dance Video crown at that year's MTV Video Music Awards. (In case you missed it, Janet has made a habit of winning TONS of those things.)
Another offering from The Velvet Rope, "Go Deep" ranks as one of Janet's least labour-intensive videos. (Good for her! She's earned a break.) In the clip, Janet's the object of a daydreaming teen's affections, serving as the focal point at a surprise house party that quickly gets out of control. The promo (directed by 'Little Miss Sunshine' duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris) is frothy fun and you can't help but feel for the clip's hero when he realizes that Janet was never really there.
All For You
Yes, this is the one with the "got a nice package alright" bit in the song. "All For You" features Janet smitten with a cute commuter in a pop art version of Los Angeles. The cheerful clip has a lot of charming moments, but it's the back catalogue-referencing dance break in the middle that sparkles as the crown jewel.