Few artists are as singular as Janet Jackson. Over a 34-year recording career, the pop star has sold over 26 million albums in the U.S., scored five Grammys, notched 10 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 (one of the most for a female artist ever), crafted some of the MTV Generation’s most memorable music videos—all while fashioning herself as a cultural icon who broke down barriers of race and sexuality in America and who continues to make killer records today. In honor of Miss Janet’s 50th birthday, EW’s celebrating her towering catalogue of music with a look at our Top 50 favorite songs from her solo career.
50. “Can’t B Good” (2008)
Jackson’s work with Ne-Yo on Discipline was one of her better moves away from her comfort zone with longtime producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. After all, Ne-Yo has worn his MJ influence like a sequined glove. In the lush atmosphere of this song that he cowrote and coproduced, you can hear echoes of Off the Wall‘s “Can’t Help It” and Thriller‘s “Human Nature.” –Chuck Arnold
49. “Someone to Call My Lover” (2001)
Jackson had already showed some love for ’70s folk-rock with the Joni Mitchell-biting “Got ’Til It’s Gone.” And here she lifted the guitar riff from America’s 1972 hit “Ventura Highway.” Although she has yet to find someone to call her lover, the mood is irrepressibly upbeat and optimistic about pre-Tinder match-meeting. Surprisingly, after a great run, the song would become her last Top 10 hit. –C.A