Okay, Janet fans, this one’s for you. The answer is here.
Two weeks ago, on the eve of the release of Janet Jackson’s new album, Unbreakable, I pondered whether the album would début at #1 and would it matter whether it did or not. I got a resounding answer to both questions this week and then some!
First, the album will début on the next Billboard album chart at…you guessed it…Number One, with about 116,000 units sold (this sum includes streaming- and track-equivalent units), easily outpacing this week’s competition (including the new album by an artist that some of that week’s readers thought would out-do Janet, Tamar Braxton, whose Calling All Lovers sold under 40k).
Secondly, the album has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, from both critics and fans alike (especially fans), as possibly her best album in 18 years (since 1997’s Velvet Rope). (See my track-by-track review of the album by clicking here).
In addition to those mostly positive reactions, many of the people who commented on my last Janet-related post, all of whom did so before the album’s release, spoke in unison – that a Number One chart posting wouldn’t matter at all. Her already-solid legacy wouldn’t be enhanced or hurt by whether Unbreakable topped the charts or not.
Well, it’s a moot point now, because the album has become Janet’s seventh #1 on the Billboard 200 (after Control, Rhythm Nation, Janet., Velvet Rope, All For You, and Discipline). She now ranks third among women for the most Number One albums in chart history (Barbara Streisand has the most, with ten, followed by Madonna with eight).
On top of all that, on October 8, it was announced that Jackson is among this year’s nominees to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 2016). She joins a number of other R&B-leaning legendary acts, including Chaka Khan, Chic, and the Spinners, who are all in the running this year. Janet was first eligible in 2007 (25 years after her début recording), so with that eight-year delay, it’s highly questionable whether she’ll become one of the five artists who get in this year, especially on her first ballot (she’s also competing with legendary rock acts like Cheap Trick, Yes, The Cars, Deep Purple and Chicago – the latter of whom I can’t believe haven’t already been inducted – so the competition is very tough).
But Janet’s legendary track record bodes well for a future induction, if not in 2016, and Unbreakable will no doubt add to that legacy, whether or not it has the staying power of many of her earlier albums to remain at or near the top of the charts and achieve gold or platinum status.
All of this leads me to believe that if this wasn’t Janet’s best week ever, it certainly ranks near the top. If nothing else, she has certainly proven to be one of the most resilient artists in pop history, as her chart toppers now span 29 years (also one of the longest ever for women), with her latest coming in the wake of several personal obstacles, including the death of her beloved brother, Michael (to whom she pays tribute on the album), and the unfair fallout from the “nipplegate” scandal of eleven years ago.
So Janet deserves major props for pulling this one off, and count me among those who are hoping a much-deserving Janet gets into the Rock hall, an outcome we will find out about in the next couple of months.
For a djrobblog track-by-track review of the songs on Unbreakable, click here.
And to see where Janet ranks on my all-time list of the Greatest Black Musicians of All Time, click here.
As always, thanks for all the love and support of djrobblog!