Here’s a guide to Janet Jackson’s albums, most popular singles, and noteworthy accompanying remixes:
“Janet Jackson,” 1982
In a nutshell: Sweet and spunky post-disco pep.
Songs you may know: You’ve probably caught a vintage clip of her performing the sassy, wide-eyed single “Young Love” on “American Bandstand.”
Choice album track: “Come Give Your Love to Me,” a cool splash of new wave that foreshadows Jackson’s future genre-stretching excursions.
Must-hear remix: “Young Love” (12-inch mix), simply more of a very good thing.
Rating: ** 1/2
“Dream Street,” 1984
In a nutshell: Budding R&B rebel searching for a sound.
Songs you may know: Perhaps you caught her singing the Euro-pop title track during her short stint on TV’s “Fame.”
Choice album track: “Pretty Boys,” a flirty slice of Minneapolis funk produced by Jesse Johnson, former guitarist with the Time.
Must-hear remix: “French Blue,” a zany effects-laden combo of “Pretty Boys” and “Fast Girls,” another cut produced by Johnson.
In a nutshell: Funky anthems of self-reliance and romantic restraint.
Songs you may know: “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” “Nasty,” “Let’s Wait Awhile.”
Choice album track: “Funny How Time Flies (When You’re Having Fun),” a dewy slow jam that reveals Jackson as a burgeoning sensualist.
Must-hear remix: “The Pleasure Principle (The Shep Pettibone Mix),” a zippy electro throwdown.
“Rhythm Nation 1814,” 1989
In a nutshell: A threefold message – dance hard, change the world and hold tight to love.
Songs you may know: “Miss You Much,” “Come Back to Me,” “Love Will Never Do (Without You).”
Choice album track: The plaintive ballad “Lonely.”
Must-hear remix: “State of the World (Make a Change Dub),” a rousing chant-propelled call to action.
Rating: *** 1/2
In a nutshell: A slick and euphoric sexual awakening.
Songs you may know: “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “If,” “Anytime, Any Place.”
Choice album track: The smooth Stevie Wonder-influenced “Where Are You Now”
Must-hear remix: “Because of Love” (Frankie & David Classic 12-inch), a lush house music twirler that expertly matches the song’s tenderly exuberant sentiments.
Rating: *** 1/2
“Design of a Decade 198 6/1 996,” 1995
In a nutshell: Greatest hits, no fouls.
Songs you may know: Almost all of them.
Choice album track: “Twenty Foreplay,” a slinky ballad that evokes ’70s soul songbird Minnie Ripperton.
Must-hear remix: “When I Think of You” (Deep Dish Chocolate City Mix), a spare, jazz-house retooling by the twosome Deep Dish, who’ve also remixed ‘N Sync’s “Pop” and been named “Hot Duo” in Rolling Stone’s current “Hot” issue.
“The Velvet Rope,” 1997
In a nutshell: Dark hip hop-infused explorations into personal responsibility, loneliness, and loss.
Songs you may know: “Got ‘Til It’s Gone,” “Together Again,” “I Get Lonely.”
Choice album track: The frisky and feverish “My Need.”
Must-hear remix: “Together Again” (Jimmy Jam Deeper Mix), a slow, sexy, groove-steeped elegy.
“All for You,” 2001
In a nutshell: Tough post-relationship tunes tempered by hopeful odes to new romance.
Songs you may know: “Doesn’t Really Matter,” “All For You,” Someone to Call My Lover.”
Choice album track: “Truth,” Jackson’s sobering response to a lover’s claim that she was nothing without him.
Must-hear remix: “Doesn’t Really Matter” (Jonathan Peters Club Mix), breezy Latin-tinged dancefloor bliss.
Rating: *** ½