Congrats, Taylor Swift! You currently have the #1 album in the country and the only platinum record of 2014 with your first-ever pop effort, 1989. But do you know who was dominating the charts back in the actual year 1989 on this very week? That would be Janet -- Miss Jackson, if you're nasty.
Yup, way back when Taylor was just a screaming infant, Janet Jackson was ruling the charts in November with her iconic offering, Rhythm Nation 1814, an album that's enjoying its 25th anniversary this year.
To celebrate Taylor's chart-topping release, MTV News decided to compare and contrast to the two releases below.
The Album Titles
Coincidentally, both Taylor and Janet included dates in their album titles -- but for pretty different reasons. Taylor named her record 1989 after the year that she was born -- and because she was inspired by the “endless possibility” of late-’80s pop, which dictated the sound of the record.
Janet went a little further back into the annals of history to pick a moniker for her record -- back to 1814, specifically. Why that particular date? Well, according to Billboard, Jackson has said that it's a reference to the year that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written, and that the tunes on the album were intended to be anthems for the embattled youth of the '80s.
After the similarity between the titles, Janet and Taylor's records seem to diverge -- at least lyrically. Let's break it down:
Like all of Taylor's music, 1989 is a pretty personal record, as Tay has never been shy about writing about past relationships and, in fact, derides anyone who criticizes her for doing so.
Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote "Out Of The Woods" -- which is likely about Taylor's ex Harry Styles -- told Rolling Stone of that song in particular: "Parts of it reads like a diary, and parts of it read like something 100,000 people should be screaming all together. It's got these very big lines that everybody can relate to, which are given weight by her being really honest about personal things."
Jackson's Rhythm Nation, however, is more of a concept album -- one that deals with such issues as crime, drugs, homelessness and all manner of heaviness. "Rhythm Nation is about what's going on in the world around us," Jackson told Jet magazine at the time. In particular, Jackson was hoping to capture the attention of the younger set -- you know, the kids that would rather go party than listen to Bob Dylan.
Both Taylor and Jackson were all about reinvention with 1989 and Rhythm Nation, respectively.
Taylor has been transitioning over from country to pop for a while now, but 1989 marks her very first all-pop -- synth-pop, even -- record. Inspired by '80s tunes -- especially '89 hitmakers Fine Young Cannibals (on "I Wish You Would") -- the record also calls to mind modern pop musicians like Lorde and Lana Del Rey.
Janet also broke out of a preconceived mold with her release. On the heels of her bad-ass 1986 hit album Control, Janet busted out with a bevy of musical styles on Rhythm Nation -- a mingling of sound that would go on to influence everyone from Lady Gaga to Grimes. At the time, the New York Times said that it had "songs geared for every radio niche its makers could bear -- everything but country, oldies and all-talk stations."
Taylor Swift and Janet Jackson are both iconic fashionistias -- with very different looks.
Striped shirts, cute dresses, red lipstick and custom kitty Keds, Taylor Swift's style hasn't altered much since Red. She's all about the classics -- clean and simple.
Jackson's style for Rhythm Nation, however, was anything but clean and simple. Leather, metal and black, black, black -- Janet was a full-on futuristic bad-ass.
With Taylor's album currently hitting platinum -- and having the big sales week since Eminem's The Eminem Show in 2012 -- it looks as though she could be right up there with Janet when it comes to hits. Let's investigate...
Taylor Swift's first 1989 single, ode to shunning haters "Shake It Off," hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- her second single to take that spot, after “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Given her million-plus first-week sales, it seems more singles will soon be grabbing the throne.
Janet's record-breaking and -setting album, for its part, ruled the charts for three years, according to The Atlantic. All seven of its singles held top-five spots on the Billboard Hot 100, with five songs reaching #1 -- a feat no artist has been able to achieve since.
We have yet to see what impact Taylor's record will have on the music world -- it's only been out around for a week -- but, 25 years later, it's not hard to see how Jackson has changed and affected pop as a genre. From Beyoncé (see her Halloween costume above) to Britney Spears to Robyn to Sleigh Bells, the influence of Jackson's game-changer of a record is still rippling through the radio waves (or SoundCloud waves) today.
Dare we say Swift could even have been influenced by Miss Jackson's decision to boldly break away from the pop mainstream? I mean, she does have a song called "Black Cat." You do the math.