Watch this set of videos and you'll be astounded at the seemingly ageless features of Janet Jackson. When you think some ten years separate the first video from the last, if anything she looks younger now than she did then. Must be something in the Jackson family genes - ahem.
What is clear from this compilation is what a huge influence she has become on younger pretenders to her throne, most notably Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. With dance routines so tight they are bound to cause domestic injury if tried at home, the funky, up tempo numbers more than punch their weight. The ballads, meanwhile, are slushy, totally unhurried and more than a little indulgent - again, a precedent her rivals are more than happy to go along with.
From Janet to Damita Jo means picking up where the Design Of A Decade collection left off - no Escapade or Rhythm Nation here, which is a shame as that represents a lot of her best work. However it does mean a sultry start with Janet up against a pillar, dancing slightly awkwardly in That's The Way Love Goes.
The split screen utilised for Because Of Love is extremely effective, and then it's the suggestive Any Time, Any Place, bringing out Jackson's more salacious side. There's something about her in the more sexual videos that's curiously detached, even if we do get some fairly gratuitous shots of the fearsome flat stomach, not to mention some generous cleavage shots for Super Bowl fans.
Got Til It's Gone has a powerful impact, a nice shot of Joni Mitchell at the opening and a very dark canvas for Jackson and Q-Tip to work on. It stands out in this company. All For You is much more on a girlie tip, Janet spotting a guy she fancies on the metro and performing another elaborate dance routine with her "friends".
These routines are superbly done, tight as anything, with Jackson totally comfortable and in control. Sometimes they can be too severe, as in a live version of You where her disembodied voice and some bondage-type gear don't quite add up, but other times this approach works a treat as in the Missy Elliott guest spot Son Of A Gun.
Damita Jo, not by all accounts her best album, still has a good video as the later cuts show, and there's some bonus live footage of All Night (Don't Stop) and I Want You, plus chat show clips where Janet is introduced to a childhood friend - sweet but completely stage-managed.
As a collection of videos it's worth a look, particularly if you've already seen Design Of A Decade, and it charts Janet's progress since then. It goes without saying that it helps to be a fan of the music, but Jackson's influence can be clearly seen throughout - the one female singers still look up to.