Throwback Thursday: Janet Jackson – “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”

Throwback Thursday: Janet Jackson – “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 turns 30 today, so it’s all Janet everything ’round here. The retrospective on the album deliberately omits a favorite track because “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” deserves more than mention.

Released as the album’s fourth single in October 1990, “Love Will Never Do” is a song about all the outside forces that impact relationships negatively — naysaying friends, outside peen/poom, you name it. But when the love is rilly rill, none of it stands a chance.

Written by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis — with Janet co-producing the track with the duo — the song is R&B yet “pop” yet rock yet funk. And it is all those things without seemingly trying too hard.

Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis had considered making the song a duet — Prince, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant were all contenders, but the idea was nixed during recording process. The duo asked Janet to sing the first verse in a lower octave because that was supposed to be the male part, but Janet apparently did it so good that they kept the track as it was.

The best part of this song is the chanting at the end: “Love will never do! Never do without you!” It was typical of the Minneapolis sound, which Uncle Jim and Uncle Terry brought to a lot of their work around that time. And it gave the song the added oomph that makes it the classic it is today.

“Love Will Never Do” was Rhythm Nation‘s  seventh single, seventh top 5 hit, and fourth No. 1 in the United States. And though it has a beat, the deliberate choice to not dance in its video is simply brilliant. Fine-ass, smiling-ass Janet is all we need.

“Love Will Never Do” is not only my favorite track on Rhythm Nation, it is one of my favorite in Janet Jackson’s entire catalog. Click play and get your blessing.

1 Comment
  • 30 Years of 'Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814' - No Hipsters Allowed
    Posted at 23:46h, 19 September Reply

    […] Today in 1989, Janet Jackson released her fourth studio album, Janet Jackon’s Rhythm Nation 1814. For most artists, an album this good would be their best by far, but when you’re the same woman who gave the people Control and Janet, this is just another album. She pisses excellence every morning. While we could debate what album is her best, there is no debating that Rhythm Nation is Janet Jackson’s most important work. In discussing said importance, most people will mention its socially conscious messaging — and yes, that is certainly a contributing factor — but what makes this album so special is the breadth of musical styles it contains. Janet showed us that you could have new jack swing, slow jams, “pop” ditties and rock songs on the same album without it sounding crazy or forced. The only other artist who has accomplished this is her brother, Michael Jackson. God bless Katherine. I am reluctant to mention the song’s socially conscious messaging because I am staunchly opposed to the idea that music has to be personal or political in order to be considered important. However, it is impossible to talk about Rhythm Nation without talking about how it tackled a range of social issues, particularly race relations. And the beauty of Janet’s treatment of these topics is that it was done over danceable beats. The ingenuity of it all. Rhythm Nation was Janet’s second outing with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, with the duo lending their talents to 11 of the album’s 12 songs — the exception being “Black Cat,” which Janet wrote all by herself. Janet co-wrote six other tracks with the Minneapolis natives, who made sure to infuse the Minneapolis sound into much of the album — it is the chant-iest album you ever heard and we love it for that. Rhythm Nation has sold over 12 million copies worldwide and was the best selling album in the United States in 1990. The album produced four No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and a total of seven top 5 hits — the latter is a record that stands to this day. Today is Thursday, so instead of including my favorite track from the album, that song is getting its own TBT post. […]

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