“And On And On”by Janet Jackson (1994)

Prince and Springsteen are the folks I tend to think of most easily when it comes to the phenomenon of the non-album B-side, but Janet’s flip game was on lock for a hot minute. 3 of the 7 singles that came from the Janet. album had B-sides that were new to the music listening world. Two of them were as good as any song that wound up on 1993′s multi-million selling opus. One of those two was “And On And On,” released in spring 1994 as the B-side to the seductive slow jam “Any Time, Any Place”-a song that I’m already having a hard time deciding on a rating for.

“And On And On” is a summer jam-Janet announces it as such within a half minute of the needle hitting the groove. It’s not frenetic in the manner of Janet’s best-known uptempo work; it glides along like a stylistic cousin of “That’s The Way Love Goes” (which was the jam of spring/early summer ‘93). Janet’s laid way back in the pocket, murmuring seductively over a choice sample of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Family Affair”. “And On And On” isn’t a great song, per se, but it’s fantastic at capturing a mood. It makes me think of beach parties, barbecues, folks having fun. Weird, considering how removed I was from that vibe in the summer of 1994. I’d turned 18 just after Memorial Day, was barely two months removed from moving out of my family home, had just lost my virginity AND was busting my ass, working 50-60 hours a week for $7/hr to pay rent on an apartment which I was sharing with two (and sometimes three) other dudes. No beach parties for me. More like filing CDs and dealing with itinerant customers 10 hours a day followed by copious amounts of alcohol (back in those early days of Rudy G., bars still didn’t card in NYC) and making my way to my apartment in Alphabet City, which was seedier than the neighborhood I grew up. And East Flatbush in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s was NO joke.

“And On And On” was a moment of chill during a time in which there was NO chill. I’ve never really had that idealized summer experience, so I guess this song is the closest I’ll ever get.

Oh, here’s an interesting fact: the copyright on “Family Affair” (the song that provided the primary sample on “And On…” was owned by Mijac Music. So Janet was throwing some coins in big bro’s pocket at the time.

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