Janet Jackson

Velvet Rope

  • Virgin

Co-produced by longtime Jackson collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, this follow-up to the multiplatinum janet is exhilarating. Not only does Ms. Jackson deliver a series of propulsive dance tracks, like “Go Deep” and the raging “What About,” she ventures into new, sexually-charged territory. Two cases in point: “Empty” details an erotic virtual romance and the sizzling “Free Xone” blasts homophobia. Artistically exceptional and completely engaging, the disc wasn't a big seller. Go figure.

— Kevin O'Hare