1001 Songs Challenge,  1980s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #726: Rhythm Nation (1989)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation (1989)

Rhythm Nation

” Rhythm Nation” is a song by American singer Janet Jackson, released as the second single from her fourth studio album, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). It was written and produced by Jackson, in collaboration with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.


Lyrics (via Genius)
Learn more about this song (via Genius)


We have reached the end of 1989 and indeed the 1980s. We’re leaving Seattle today, dear reader, and making our way to Indiana. Janet Jackson was the youngest member of the Jackson family who have featured on our list already, as has Michael Jackson. Inevitably, Janet followed her siblings into the world of music too. We join Janet Jackson in 1989 with the release of her fourth album, Rhythm Nation 1814, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Rhythm Nation.

Rhythm Nation is a dance track with a socially conscious message. Jackson was inspired by beats and rhythms to be found on music channels and juxtaposed this with watching unpleasant current affairs headlines on news channels. The song looks to end social injustice and the discrimination brought about by racial division. Instead of fighting and being at odds with one another, the song calls for everyone to unite and become part of the Rhythm Nation of the title. Music is the great unifier here and Jackson hopes everyone will respond to the call.

Janet Jackson carved out a successful career as a solo artist in her own right, though never to the same heights as Michael would achieve. Rhythm Nation finds her in the early stages of her career. While dance music isn’t really my thing, the song still carries a worthwhile message. In 2016 Janet Jackson was named the second greatest dance club artist after Madonna. Pretty decent company to be in at the top there.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

The Doors – The End (1967)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)

Ultravox – Vienna (1980)

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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