Just last weekend, Janet Jackson stopped by the Chase Center to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of her career defining record “Rhythm Nation 1814” right here in San Francisco. To continue Ms. Jackson’s celebration of music released in September of 1989, here are five essential albums that turned thirty this month.
Dr. Feelgood - Mötley Crüe Sept. 1st, 1989
You know you’re about to have a month of iconic releases when the first day starts off with an album as memorable as Dr. Feelgood. During their reign, the infamous glam rockers put out an album every year from 1983 to 1987. After taking a brief break for rehab, the band returned more glamorous and more metal than ever before. Not only was this their last album with the original lineup, it was also the glam scene’s final opus before mainstream rock peeled off their leather and put on loose jeans and flannels. But before grunge could take over, Mötley Crüe had to remind the world just how hard they could shred without smudging their eyeliner.
Stone Cold Rhymin’ - Young MC Sept. 5th, 1989
This debut album includes one of the most recognizable songs in Hip Hop history. The rest of the tracks may not be as a memorable as "Bust a Move," but they put up an impressive fight. This is mainly thanks to the record's producers, music industry legend Quincy Jones and the Dust Brothers who made a name for themselves in the recording industry with their sample-based music. The album also features Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea playing bass on the two lead singles, "Bust a Move" and "Principal's Office." The solid production and Young MC's smooth flow riddled with 80s references makes this album worth listening from start to finish.
Let Love Rule - Lenny Kravitz Sept. 6th, 1989
After being turned down from multiple record labels, Lenny Kravitz decided to take the future of his musical career into his own hands. Kravitz wrangled up a team of musicians and produced his own debut album. The end product had major labels eating their words and Kravitz had the power to choose which label he wanted to make a deal with. The appeal came from the record’s genre blending and Kravitz’s personal lyrics, which was extremely refreshing after the glam rock era.
Foreign Affair - Tina Turner Sept. 13th, 1989
Even though it found her at her most fiery and musically polished, Tina Turner's seventh studio album struggled here in the states and was considered a commercial failure. Eventually, audiences came around and the second track on the album, "The Best", went on to become one of Tuner's most well known songs. The album is also full of lesser known gems like “You Can’t Stop Me Loving You”, “I Don’t Wanna Lose You”, and “Not Enough Romance.”
Rhythm Nation 1814 - Janet Jackson Sept. 19, 1989
It's only right to end with the most essential album released in September of 1989 and one of the most essentials albums released in pop music period. By this time, Jackson had already established herself as a top notch artist and performer and her label was content with maintaining this status by recreating her previous records. Jackson had more ambitious plans and was adamant on making her fourth album a 20 track socially conscious concept album, dealing with political and social issues that are still relevant today. The composition of the album was immediately hailed by critics. Her previous record Control (1986) had already spearheaded the new jack swing style (R&B vocals over Hip Hop beats created by drum machines) but Rhythm Nation 1814 took its popularity to new heights and changed the trajectory of popular music forever.