Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (commonly referred to as Rhythm Nation) is the fourth studio album by American singer Janet Jackson, released on September 19, 1989, by A&M Records. Although label executives wanted material similar to her previous album, Control (1986), Jackson insisted on creating a concept album addressing social issues. Collaborating with songwriters and record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, she drew inspiration from various tragedies reported through news media, exploring racism, poverty, and substance abuse, in addition to themes of romance. Although its primary concept was met with mixed reactions, its composition received critical acclaim. Jackson came to be considered a role model for youth because of her socially conscious lyrics.
Noted for its use of sample loop and utilizing swing note and synthesized percussion throughout its production, the album encompasses a variety of musical styles, such as new jack swing, hard rock, pop, dance and industrial music. The songs range from mechanized dance rhythms to soft balladry, giving it appeal across multiple radio formats. It became the singer's second consecutive album to top the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States. Certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), it became the country's best-selling album of 1990 and has sold an estimated 12 million copies worldwide. Due to its innovative production and lyrical exploration, critics have come to regard it as the pinnacle of Jackson's artistic achievement. It has been cited as an influence in various musical trends, inspiring numerous artists.
It is the only album in the history of the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart to have seven commercial singles peak within the top five positions. It is also the only album to produce number one hits on the chart in three separate calendar years (1989–1991). The 30-minute Rhythm Nation 1814 film, a screenplay depicting two aspiring musicians whose lives are disrupted by substance abuse, aired on MTV to promote the album. Jackson received nine Grammy Award nominations, becoming the first woman to be nominated for Producer of the Year and winning Best Long Form Music Video for Rhythm Nation 1814. Her Rhythm Nation World Tour 1990 became the most successful debut concert tour by a recording artist, in addition to setting venue records in Japan. She was regarded as a fashion icon, with her "Rhythm Nation" attire being emulated by youth. Proceeds from the tour were used to establish the Rhythm Nation Scholarship and fund other educational programs. Jackson received the MTV Video Vanguard Award and the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her significant contributions to popular culture.
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