Design of a Decade: 1986-1996 is a misleading title. The bulk of Janet Jackson's greatest-hits collection concentrates on Control and Rhythm Nation 1814, simply by contractual necessity. That is far from a fatal flaw. The hits from those two albums were state-of-the-art dance-pop productions at the time of their release, filled with bottomless beats and memorable, catchy hooks. None of the songs has lost any of its impact, from the funk of "Miss You Much" and "What Have You Done for Me Lately," to the ballads "Let's Wait Awhile" and "Come Back to Me." In addition to all 13 Top 40 hits from Control and Rhythm Nation -- all but one went into the Top Five -- Design of a Decade includes the biggest and best hit from janet., the sultry "That's the Way Love Goes," and two new songs, "Runaway" and "Twenty Foreplay." It's a credit to Janet that the two new numbers feel like genuine hits, not tacked-on filler, and help make the album a compulsively listenable greatest-hits collection.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine