The album features six of Jackson's hits from Control, seven songs from Rhythm Nation 1814, one song from Janet., and two previously unreleased songs: the top five hit "Runaway" and the mid-tempo ballad "Twenty Foreplay". A video compilation, featuring all the songs on the album (with the exception of "Twenty Foreplay"), was released concurrently with the album. "Come Back to Me" is presented as an alternate vocal take & arrangement.
Owing to licensing difficulties, several later singles that were big hits—including "If", "Again", "Any Time, Any Place", "Because of Love", and "You Want This"—were omitted from the track listing. Other singles that failed to make the cut included the UK single "Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)" (from 1986's Control). Several tracks were shortened in order to include "Whoops Now" and "The Best Things in Life Are Free" on the international release.
The album was released as an 18-track disc internationally and as a 16-track disc in the U.S. (omitting "Whoops Now" and "The Best Things in Life Are Free"). Some versions of the international edition came with a 7-track bonus disc. This bonus disc was also released individually in Australia. Another limited edition version, housed in a metal case and containing the 18-track version of the album, was released in the UK.
Release and marketingEdit
A&M provided an aggressive marketing plan for the compilation's release, which included "a multimillon-dollar worldwide marketing plan that [involved], syndicated and local TV advertising, as well as print ads in a number of consumer publications, including Seventeen, Us, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Jet, Vibe and Essence." Jackson's contract with Virgin alloted her the option to leave the label during this time. Billboard magazine reported that DreamWorks SKG and A&M were interested in signing with her. A&M president Al Cafaro stated: "We've always thought Janet was an A&M artist... And we would love to sign her if she is available. This project has reminded us how much fun she is to work with."
The liner notes contain only the lyrics to the new songs, a mini-biography about Jackson, and different pictures from the Control, Rhythm Nation 1814 and Janet. eras. It also shows the covers of the singles for the new songs as well as the lyrics and song credits.
In promoting the album, A&M re-released the singles "The Best Things in Life Are Free", "When I Think of You", "Alright", and "ppThe Pleasure Principle]]" with brand new remixes. A re-release was planned for "Love Will Never Do (Without You)", but was canceled for unknown reasons.
Most music reviewers had a positive reception to Design of a Decade: 1986/1996, mainly because of the amount of chart-topping singles it contained, but many noted the "misleading title" as the content predominantly spanned a five-year period.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave it a four and-a-half out of five star rating, saying "Design of a Decade: 1986-1996 is a misleading title. The bulk of Janet Jackson's greatest-hits collection concentrates on Control and Rhythm Nation 1814, simply by contractual necessity. The hits from those two albums were state-of-the-art dance-pop productions at the time of their release, filled with bottomless beats and memorable, catchy hooks. It's a credit to Janet that the two new numbers ["Runaway" and "Twenty Foreplay"] feel like genuine hits, not tacked-on filler, and help make the album a compulsively listenable greatest-hits collection." With a B+ rating, David Browne of Entertainment Weekly stated, "Working with producers and collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jackson reinvented both pop and herself during those 10 years. With its rigid Robo-drummer beats and homogenized blend of computers and vocal harmonies, the music was shocking in its airtight quality [...] Design is fairly seamless, yet its biggest flaw lies in its title. Due to contractual obligations, the album consists almost entirely of songs from Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 and includes only one ("That's the Way Love Goes") of the five top 10 hits from her 1993 smorgasbord janet. The new songs ["Runaway" and "Twenty Foreplay"] show how much more confident a singer Jackson has become, even if the latter number finds her still working overtime to show us she's an honest-to-God grown-up.
Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave it an A- rating, saying "Her three count-'em three A&M albums produced 12 count-'em 12 top-five singles. All are here. So are two excellent tracks from her one count-it one Virgin album, and two rather less excellent previously unreleaseds. The three estimate-'em three million who own A&M albums two and three needn't bother. Those who begrudge her the place she's earned in the pop cosmos have some catching up to do." With a rating of 7/10 (flawed yet worthy), Spin magazine's Chris Norris said: "Since Janet is State-of-the-art production right down to her sculpted nose, it makes sense that she should call her retrospective Design. As the studio team that wrought Control, Rhythm Nation and janet. (which for record-label reasons is under-represented here), designers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are unofficial second and third Janet Jacksons. Their triumph is letting their dazzling sound sculptures fade into the background of Janet's cartoon antics." Elysa Gardner with Vibe magazine was in high praise of Design of a Decade, as well as Jackson herself, stating, "It's been almost 10 years since Janet Jackson announced that her first name wasn't Baby, and it's easy to forget what a bold proclamation that was coming from a woman—particularly a black woman—at that time [...] Only two women were there to remind the rest of us that there was power and freedom in feminine sexuality—to reinforce the fact that we could be adorable and flirtatious and strong and assertive. And Madonna wasn't a sista. [...] The 16 songs on her greatest hits package 1986/1996: Design of a Decade—which includes two strong new singles—trace a young woman's progression from questioning others' authority to reveling in her own."
The album debuted at number 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200 for the week of October 28, 1995 with 129,000 copies sold and eventually peaked at number 3. Two months after its release, it was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA. In Canada, the album peaked at number 5 and received a Platinum certification,. In the UK, the album peaked at number 2 and went on to receive a double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. In Europe, the album peaked within the top 5 in most markets and received a Platinum certification by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. In Australia, the album peaked at number 2 and was certified quadruple Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association, Making it Her best selling album in that country. The album also appeared on the Australian ARIA albums year end charts at number 6. To Date the album has sold 10 million copies worldwide.
- "What Have You Done for Me Lately"
- "When I Think of You"
- "Miss You Much"
- "Love Will Never Do (Without You)"
- "Alright" (Goh Hotoda Remix)
- "Control" (U.S. Edit)
- "The Pleasure Principle" (Monte Moir)
- "That's the Way Love Goes"
- "Come Back to Me" (I'm Beggin' You Mix)
- "Let's Wait Awhile"
- "Twenty Foreplay"
Charts and certificationsEdit
|Australian ARIA Albums Chart||2|
|Austrian Albums Chart||15|
|Belgian Ultratop 50 Albums (Flanders)||7|
|Belgian Ultratop 50 Albums (Wallonia)||6|
|Canadian Albums Chart||5|
|Dutch Albums Chart||8||French Albums Chart||2|
|Finnish Albums Chart||8|
|German Albums Chart||10|
|Japanese Oricon Albums Chart||4|
|New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart||1|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||18|
|Swedish Albums Chart||14|
|UK Albums Chart||2|
|U.S. Billboard 200||3|
|U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||4|
|U.S. Billboard Catalog Albums||3|
|Australian ARIA Albums Chart||6|
|Belgian Ultratop 50 Albums (Flanders)||71|
|United Kingdom||BPI||2× Platinum|
|United States||RIAA||2× Platinum|
- Melanie Andrews – arranger
- Jerome Benton – vocals
- Lee Blaske – arranger
- Patrick Demarchelier – photography
- Alan Friedman – programming
- Larimie Garcia – design
- Greg Gorman – photography
- Jeri Heiden – art direction, design
- Steve Hodge – engineer, mixing
- Goh Hotoda – remixing
- Janet Jackson – arranger, executive producer, main performer, producer, rhythm, vocals, background vocals
- Jimmy Jam – arranger, assistant engineer, multiple instruments, producer, rhythm, vocals
- Jellybean Johnson – producer, remix consultant, vocals
- Terry Lewis – multiple instruments, producer
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
- John McClain – executive producer
- Monte Moir – arranger, assistant engineer, producer
- Shep Pettibone – post-production, remixing
- Herb Ritts – photography
- David Ritz – liner notes
- Mike Scott – guitar
- Tony Viramontes – photography
- Michael Wagener – remixing
- Bruce Weber – photography
- Steve Wiese – assistant engineer, engineer, producer
- Eddie Wolfl – photography