Janet Jackson - "If"
This is easily my favorite Janet Jackson video. Ever. This was such a great era for Janet. Freed of the high collars and epaulets of the Rhythm Nation era. Still a good decade before the "Oops! There's a Japanese throwing star on my nipple!" era. And while she had transformed her body from the cherubic little-sisterness of her early videos to the hard body you see in this clip, she hadn't yet embarked upon the binge/purge/fat/thin/dangerous-foreign-surgery rollercoaster that has characterized her divergent public appearances the past several years. This was Janet at her absolute peak. The hair, the body, the clothes, the music: flawless.
The video itself is fairly phenomenal as well. It's got it all: dramatic lighting, simulated sex acts, intricately choreographed dancing, the artsy ambience that only a Thai brothel can bestow. What more could a thirteen-year-old boy ask for? Really, it's the dancing that's the star of the show. It's got a whole "touching without touching" vibe that really screams "Jackson Family" to me.
We go through three glorious stages in the video. Stage 1: Prelude. Money is exchanged. Video equipment is set up. Men are lowered from the ceiling. And Janet enters amid flowing red streamers like she's the Last Empress. Stage 2: Janet and her harem toss around their identical, faceless dance partners like so many lumps of man-shaped clay. There are spirited bouts of faces being shoved into crotches and ladies squatting over their prone male counterparts. It's all very sexy. Stage 3: Dancing like hieroglyphs out of the screen and into our imagination.
Don't pretend like you didn't try it at least once.