Playlist: For the love of Janet and Mariah


Love… for Mariah and Janet:

For some, a playlist combining the music of Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey might seem like a far fetched idea. Janet is best known for being the consummate entertainer, for her energized uptempo dance tracks, for her dance moves, and for her risqué, sensual mid-tempo cuts. Mariah, meanwhile, is best known for the incredible vocal performances on her relatable ballads, hip-hop-inspired uptempo jams, and rap collaborations. However, there are several things the divas actually have in common.

First, is their love for background vocals. No other diva from their time can come close to these two ladies when it comes to their intricate, ingenious background vocal arrangements. They inspired the crop of vocalists that followed to follow in their footsteps, most notably Beyoncé – who combines the best of the best of these two ladies better than anyone else they have inspired.

Anyway, since most of our readers are either Mariah or Janet fans… I figured why not entice both with one post? 2015 looks to be an exciting year for both fan bases: Mariah has released a new single, begun her Las Vegas residency, will return to NYC for her second annual Christmas spectacular in December and produce a Christmas movie for TV inspired by her classic “All I Want For Christmas is You”.  Janet, meanwhile, has just announced her long-awaited return to the music scene – a new album, and world tour, are on her agenda for later this year.

We at EST. 1997 would love nothing more than to see these two join forces this year for a collaboration that has been talked about for years. Combining the best of what these two have to offer could only yield greatness. Don’t believe me? Then take a listen to my playlist!

I’ve grouped their songs together based on the songs’ lyrical themes and musical sounds. It’s long – 3 hours and 45 minutes (61 tracks, including the interludes) – but well worth the listen. It begins with socially and morally conscious tracks, followed by flirty, uptempo jams, sensual mid-tempo grooves, vulnerable slow jams, shady bops, uplifting and emotional anthems… ending with a few genre-less classics.

So take a listen. Maybe you’ll hear a song you’ve never heard before by one of them, or make connections between their catalogues that you never realized before. Please leave comments with your thoughts! I’d love to hear from the #JanFam and #Lambily. Do please, enjoy

Love… for yourself, for others, for the world.

It all begins with an introduction from Janet, as she so poignantly explains how we all are united by a common desire: love. And, for the purposes of this playlist, different relationships with love define how I decided to connect each section of songs. First, mindful songs about love for others, and loving yourself:

  • Interlude: “Looking For Love,” Janet
    from Damita Jo (2004)
  • Interlude: “T.V.“, Janet
    from Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  • There’s Got to Be a Way“, Mariah
    from Mariah Carey (1990)
  • State of the World,” Janet
    from Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  • Fly Like a Bird,” Mariah
    from The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)
  • Livin’ in a World (They Didn’t Make),” Janet
    from Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  • Can’t Take That Away,” Mariah
    from Rainbow (1999)
  • Special/Can’t Be Stopped,” Janet
    from The Velvet Rope (1997)
  • “Outside,” Mariah
    from Butterfly (1997)
  • Interlude: “Livin’ … in Complete Darkness,” Janet
    from Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

If you’re familiar with Mariah’s inspiration to write “Can’t Take That Away” (the Columbine shootings) then you might’ve felt the special connection between that song and Janet’s “Livin’ in a World,” which precedes it here.

Love… for dance, for flirtation.

“Get the point? Good. Let’s dance!” announces Janet as we kick off the next segment of the playlist. You guessed it: songs to make you dance! A uniting force between the first 4 songs is production by Janet’s ex-boyfriend and Mariah’s ex-manager, Jermaine Dupri. Not only that, but all of these songs are fun and flirtatious, as well.

  • Interlude: “Let’s Dance,” Janet
    from Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  • It’s Like That,” Mariah
    from The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)
  • Do It 2 Me,” Janet
    from 20 Y.O. (2006)
  • Get Your Number,” Mariah (featuring Jermaine Dupri)
    from The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)
  • All For You,” Janet
    from All For You (2001)
  • I’m That Chick,” Mariah
    from E=MC2 (2008)
  • Rock With U,” Janet
    from Discipline (2008)
  • Your Girl,” Mariah
    from The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)
  • I Want You,” Janet
    from Damita Jo (2004)
  • Make It Look Good,” Mariah (featuring Stevie Wonder)
    from Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (2014)

By the end of this set, we’ve made it to a throwback ’70s sound, with the pairing of “I Want You” and “Make It Look Good,” but we had a little bit of ’80s inspiration with “Do It 2 Me,” “Get Your Number,” “All For You” beforehand and “I’m That Chick,” “Rock With U” and “Your Girl” bridging the gap – all inspired by ’70s Michael Jackson in some way.

Love… for rekindling, for intimacy, for sex.

Since he’s “made it look good,” Janet declares it’s time to “smooth it out now” in the next interlude, which leads into the slow jam “Thinkin’ ‘Bout My Ex.” Mariah follows suit and admits lingering feelings for an ex when she bumps into him at a party; they end up going home together. Apparently, it’s been “the kind of night where morning comes too soon,” and thus the ladies take us through the various stages of intimacy. From adoration, to love, to making love, to being down right freaky… and, well, wet.

  • Interlude: “20 Part 2,” Janet
    from 2006’s 20 Y.O.
  • Thinkin’ ‘Bout My Ex,” Janet
    from Damita Jo (2004)
  • Lullaby,” Mariah
    from Charmbracelet (2002)
  • Interlude: “Morning,” Janet
    from janet. (1993)
  • The Impossible,” Mariah
  • The Impossible (Reprise),” Mariah
    from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009)
  • Any Time, Any Place,” Janet
    from janet. (1993)
  • Bliss,” Mariah
    from Rainbow (1999)
  • Moist,” Janet
    from Damita Jo (2004)
  • Interlude: “Play Selection,” Janet
    from Discipline (2008)
  • What’s It Gonna Be?!
    Busta Rhymes and Janet (1998)
  • I Know What You Want
    Busta Rhymes and Mariah (2003)
  • You Want This,” Janet
    from janet. (1993)

The intimacy sex-tion ends with a pair of Busta Rhymes collaborations and another flirtatious, teasing moment, aptly pairing “I Know What You Want” with “You Want This” before we move on from the sensuality… for a bit.

Love… for the nostalgia, for the one that got away.

First, Mariah begins with a nostalgic love song for hip-hop alongside Nas on “Dedicated,” yearning for the return of the old school. Following this ode for what’s gone, are Janet and Q-Tip, on the 1997 classic, “Got ‘Til It’s Gone.” Quickly we move into another gem from ’97, “Babydoll,” which opens the door to feelings of yearning, loneliness, and for the one that got away…

  • Dedicated,” Mariah (featuring Nas)
    from Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (2014)
  • Got ’Til It’s Gone,” Janet (featuring Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell)
    from The Velvet Rope (1997)
  • Babydoll,” Mariah
    from Butterfly (1997)
  • I Get Lonely,” Janet
    from The Velvet Rope (1997)
  • Can’t Let Go,” Mariah
    from Emotions (1991)
  • Come Back to Me,” Janet
    from Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  • Camouflage,” Mariah
    from Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (2014)
  • Interlude: “Vulnerability,” Mariah
    from Rainbow (1999)

Mariah ends this nostalgic, ’90s R&B moment with a revelation, that she “should have known” he would break her heart, because he knew she was “so vulnerable.”

Love… for independence, for life, for the memory of loved ones lost, for rebirth.

Janet picks up where Mariah left off, throwing men under the bus for being “Lame,” and moving into “The Pleasure Principle,” on which she promptly gathers a man for his shortcomings. Mariah continues the shade with “Thirsty,” similarly criticizing her ex for being so damn thirsty for what she has, for a level (hers) that he will never reach. Aptly, Janet next teams up with Carly Simon on “Son of a Gun,” her own divorce anthem, to make a prediction: “I bet you’ll think this song is about you,” which is an ironic way to follow “Thirsty” (Mariah’s ex thought it was about him) and prelude “Infinity” considering everyone thought it was also about that same ex (but more on that here).

  • Interlude: “Lame,” Janet
    from All For You (2001)
  • The Pleasure Principle,” Janet
    from Control (1986)
  • Thirsty,” Mariah
    from Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (2014)
  • Son of a Gun,” Janet (featuring Carly Simon, Missy Elliott and Diddy)
    from All For You (2001)
  • Infinity,” Mariah
    from #1 to Infinity (2015)
  • Enjoy,” Janet
    from 20 Y.O. (2006)
  • Interlude: “Memory,” Janet
    from The Velvet Rope (1997)
  • One Sweet Day,” Mariah and Boyz II Men
    from Daydream (1995)
  • Together Again,” Janet
    from The Velvet Rope (1997)
  • Interlude: “Rainbow,” Mariah
    from Rainbow (1999)

However, it all ends positively: the ladies find a love for their independence, for themselves, and for life. As they soon realize to follow, life can indeed be cut short as we see in two of their biggest hits, released two years apart, about the loss of a loved one: “One Sweet Day” and “Together Again,” which are followed by Mariah’s “Rainbow” interlude, about starting anew, being reborn, after any storm in your life… whether it be the end of a marriage, or the loss of a loved one.

Love… for love.

Janet opened this playlist with the notion that we’re all united by the fact that we’re all “Looking For Love” and so it ends with her words again, that “It All Comes Down to Love.” The playlist comes to a close with some of the divas’ most euphoric celebrations of love.

  • Interlude: “It All Comes Down to Love,” Janet
    from Damita Jo (2004)
  • Love Will Never Do (Without You),” Janet
    from Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  • Emotions,” Mariah
    from Emotions (1991)
  • Someone to Call My Lover,” Janet
    from All For You (2001)
  • Dreamlover,” Mariah
    from Music Box (1993)
  • When I Think of You,” Janet
    from Control (1996)
  • Honey (Classic Mix),” Mariah
    from Butterfly (1997)
  • That’s the Way Love Goes,” Janet
    from janet. (1993)
  • Interlude: “Angel
    from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009)
  • Interlude: “Love, Part 2,” Janet
    from janet. (1993)

From the high notes of “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” and “Emotions,” to the innuendo of “Honey” and “That’s the Way Love Goes” … indeed, Mariah and Janet have shown throughout their lengthy, legendary careers that…

Love will never do, without… emotions,

Honey… that’s the way love goes.


  1. Pedro Lopes

    May 17, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Good music <3 Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson <3

  2. Me. I Am Emiliano (@mixedupboy)

    June 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Awesome!!! They’re my two favorite artists!!!

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