Janet Jackson’s “State of the World Tour,” the continuance to her temporarily rescheduled “Unbreakable World Tour,” has already been lauded as one of the 51-year-old performer’s best musical excursions of her career, and it’s barely four shows in, as of this posting.
Be that as it may, the title of the tour is not one that most outside of the “No Sleeep” entertainer’s fan base is totally familiar with.
As it just so happens, the “State of the World Tour” actually gets its name from the fourth track from Jackson’s 1989 release, Rhythm Nation 1814, and the socially conscious song, “State of the World,” which was pushed to radio as the album’s eighth official single in February of 1991, according to Genius.
“‘State of the World’ was released to radio as the 8th and final single,” the site explains, “[but] due to Billboard rules at the time, the song was not allowed to chart on the Hot 100 because it was not released commercially.”
Despite the hindrance, the song still managed to become a top five single for Jackson.
Speaking to Billboard about “State of the World” and the process of recording Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 album, music producer Jimmy Jam recalled Janet’s hope to touch on more “serious” issues that she avoided on her groundbreaking Control LP, her 1986 release which catapulted Jackson’s career to heights similar to that of her late brother, Michael Jackson, who was then one of the world’s biggest stars.
“She’d always been aware of the world around her,” Jimmy said of Janet to Billboard, “but she then felt empowered to actually talk about it and embrace it in her music. That was the difference. It had a lot to do with her growing confidence as a songwriter, and obviously her confidence in us as producers.”
Considered by Rolling Stone to be similar to Marvin Gaye’s 1971 What’s Going On album, another socially conscious recording, Rhythm Nation 1814 marked a turn in Janet’s career that saw her building the start of the foundation that many female artists have followed and emulated, such as Beyonce and her honest Lemonade album, to create their own lane to fame.
Speaking in 1990 to Rolling Stone journalist David Ritz, Janet herself expressed that songs like “State of the World” and “Rhythm Nation” were her way of forcing the world to take a closer view at issues that affect us all.
“We have so little time to solve these problems,” she told Ritz in a 1990 interview, as The Atlantic notes.
“I want people to realize the urgency. I want to grab their attention. Music is my way of doing that. I wanted to reflect, not just react,” Janet continued.
“[For inspiration], I re-listened to those artists who moved me most when I was younger: Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye. These were people who woke me up to the responsibility of music. They were beautiful singers and writers who felt for others. They understood suffering.”
Check out Janet Jackson’s “State of the World” track below. Janet Jackson’s “State of the World Tour” is set to bow out this December, according to Live Nation.
[Featured Image by mpi10/MediaPunch/MediaPunch/IPx/AP Images]