The Velvet Rope

"It's my belief that we all have the need to feel special. And it's this need that can bring out the best in us, yet the worst in us. This need created The Velvet Rope."



It was January 1996 and Janet Jackson had just signed a multi million-dollar contract with Virgin Records. In current values, she was earning more than 120 million dollars to stick to her record label and was, therefore, again, the highest-paid entertainer in the music market. Being at the peak of her career, Janet had everything to be happy. But she wasn’t. “There’s nothing more depressing than having everything, but still feeling sad”. The words of Interlude: Sad from The Velvet Rope defined how Janet felt. Since 1995, she was very sad – for depression was not the term that she liked to use – for reasons that not even she understood well. The album’s recording process involved a lot of pain.

The pain of facing the wounds of the past, of understanding where this sorrow was coming from, of resolving pending issues. Janet also mentioned meeting a mysterious 50-something cowboy whom she met in a desert, who helped in the process cathartic. Also, at this time, Janet tattooed the Ghanaian Sankofa symbol, which would come to be the symbol of the album. The Sankofa represents the legend of a bird that flew looking back, and means that we must learn from the past to move forward.


You don’t have to hold on to the pain to hold on to the memory.


There’s nothing more depressing than having everything and still feeling sad.
We must learn to water our Spiritual garden.


In her most experimental album, both in sound and themes, Janet approached taboos, such as: internet relationships, depression, domestic abuse, homo and bisexuality, sadomasochism etc. It was also the longest time she took to record an album to that point. The singer eventually said in interviews that it took about six months to complete the recordings and that due to the weight of her emotions and the content of the album, she several times walked away from the studio for up to a week to “cool off”.

As if the risk she was taking with the content of the album was not enough, the first single was  ‘Got ‘ Til It’s Gone’, met with hesitation both by the critics and by some fans. This was not the hit that she hoped for and Janet did not dominate the radio as usual. In an atmosphere more and more eccentric, the promotion of the album involved appearances alongside Michael’s ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley; interviews talking about her relationship with him; and also about her most intimate piercings, which, according to her, gave her pleasure.

The Velvet Rope is until today her most praised album among fans and critics. In addition to having released her most successful single of all time worldwide, ‘Together Again’, the album sold more than 10 million copies.

Standard Edition
Standard Edition


Worldwide release

Special Edition
Special Edition

CD (2x)

Europa, Japan, Taiwan

Digipack Edition
Digipack Edition

CD (2x)


Special Tour Edition
Special Tour Edition

CD (2x)



1. Interlude: Twisted Elegance
2. Velvet Rope (feat. Vanessa-Mae)
Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis, René Elizondo, Jr., Malcolm McLaren, Trevor Horn, Mike Oldfield
3. You
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo, Harold Brown, Sylvester Allen, Morris Dickerson, Howard Scott, Leroy Jordan, Lee Oskar, Charles Miller
4. Got ‘til It’s Gone (feat. Joni Mitchell & Q-Tip)
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo, Joni Mitchell, Kamaal Ibn Fareed
5. Interlude: Speaker Phone
6. My Need
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo, Marilyn McLeod, Pam Sawyer, Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson
7. Interlude: Fasten Your Seatbelts
8. Go Deep
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
9. Free Xone
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo, James Brown, Billy Buttier, Archie Bell, Michael Hepburn
10. Interlude: Memory
11. Together Again
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
12. Interlude: Online
13. Empty
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
14. Interlude: Full
15. What About
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
16. Every Time
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
17. Tonight’s The Night
Rod Stewart
18. I Get Lonely
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
19. Rope Burn
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
20. Anything
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo
21. Interlude: Sad
22. Special (Hidden track: Can’t Be Stopped)
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo


23. God’s Stepchild (Hidden track: Can’t Be Stopped)
Jackson, Harris, Lewis, Elizondo

1. Got ‘til It’s Gone (Armand Van Helden Bonus Beats)
2. Together Again (Tony Humphries 12″ Edit Mix)
3. I Get Lonely (Janet vs Jason – The Club Remix)
4. Go Deep (Vocal Deep Disco Dub)
5. Every Time (Jam & Lewis Disco Remix)

1. Accept Me
2. Ask for More
3. Together Again (Deeper Remix)
4. Together Again (DJ Premier 100 In A 50 Remix)
5. Together Again (Jimmy Jam Deep Remix)