Taken as a complete artistic statement, Rhythm Nation 1814 was a stunning achievement. It married the pleasures of pop with the street energy and edge of hip-hop. It was by turns dark and radiant, calculated and carefree, political and playful, sensual and austere, sermonic and liberating. If Control announced the arrival of a young woman ready to take the reins of her personal life and career, Rhythm Nation revealed a maturing artist, surveying the world around her, determined to wake people out of apathy, cynicism, indifference. Writes Slant’s Eric Henderson, “Rhythm Nation expanded Janet’s range in every conceivable direction. She was more credibly feminine, more crucially masculine, more viably adult, more believably childlike. This was, of course, critical to a project in which Janet assumed the role of mouthpiece for a nationless, multicultural utopia.”