22 Songs, 1 Hour 15 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This inventive 1997 album took listeners on a journey that gave props to Joni Mitchell (“Got ’Til It’s Gone”), denounced homophobia (“Free Xone”), and embraced freakiness (“My Need”). From the disarming spoken interludes to the consistent messages of self-acceptance, The Velvet Rope is deeply personal. Jackson shifts nimbly between styles and influences—disco, soul, funk, drum ‘n’ bass—exuding a mature confidence that can make room for vulnerability. The hit single “Together Again” is simultaneously sad and jubilant, just like life itself.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

This inventive 1997 album took listeners on a journey that gave props to Joni Mitchell (“Got ’Til It’s Gone”), denounced homophobia (“Free Xone”), and embraced freakiness (“My Need”). From the disarming spoken interludes to the consistent messages of self-acceptance, The Velvet Rope is deeply personal. Jackson shifts nimbly between styles and influences—disco, soul, funk, drum ‘n’ bass—exuding a mature confidence that can make room for vulnerability. The hit single “Together Again” is simultaneously sad and jubilant, just like life itself.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5
135 Ratings

135 Ratings

Gingerlicious ,

Janet's Masterpiece

Despite selling > 3M copies in the USA and > 10M worldwide this album was seen as a bit of a disappointment commercially compared to the janet. album. The reason this record didn't reach quite those heights was due to the difficulty promoting such a complex, multifaceted work.

The lead single 'Got 'til it's Gone' was truly innovative in its day - Joni Mitchell had never let anyone touch her work before Janet played her the song and asked politely as a long-standing fan. Despite its genius the single did not get a commercial release in the US, stunting its impact. While GTIG appealed greatly to urban audiences, the fantastic disco-tinged second single 'Together Again', Janet's celebration of the lives of the friends she'd lost to HIV/AIDS, appealed to a different, more mainstream pop audience.

By the time the third single 'I Get Lonely' (also appealing more to the urban crowd) hit the radio Janet was already in tour rehearsals and made very few public appearances to promote it. Nevertheless IGL hit #3 in the USA and #5 in the UK, and received a Grammy nomination.

Sadly, and for reasons best known only to Janet, her management and Virgin Records many absolute gems never saw commercial release. Any Janet fan or record critic could easily pick at least 6-7 singles from this album, but in the US there were only 2 commercial releases, while in the UK there were 4…a long pause and then a 5th without promotion.

If 'What About' had been released (perhaps to raise money for battered women's shelters) it would have been a big hit. The magnificence of Vanessa Mae's violin solo on the title track made the hair stand up on many of my friends' arms but it never hit radio. 'My Need' had as least as much hit potential as 'Go Deep'. 'Rope Burn' could have been for this album what 'Anytime Anyplace' was for the 'janet.' album. Finally 'Special' was indeed very special - especially if Janet could have written one more verse rather than cutting it short.

Do yourself a favor - buy this album and listen to it over and over. This is the most layered, complex and rewarding album Janet has made to date in my opinion. This is what Pop music can be - yet we often settle for so much less

ashpash888 ,

Underrated

This is definitely her best album, highly underrated!

LegendtinaAguilera ,

Her best

This is still her personal best album. Musically, lyrically & spiritually, The Velvet Rope is the window to Janet's soul. It still sounds refreshing & inspirational today as it did in 1997. An ICONIC album.

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