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The Girls of Rhythm Nation

Mitchell Cohen, Music Aficionado, 2017

THEY COULD have been rivals in a pop soap opera. Whitney Houston prim and buttoned-up, Janet Jackson frisky and up for anything. Whitney was a throwback to the kind of poised, put-together glamour of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, and Janet was a kitten with a whip. At least that was the perception. Each had a defining Super Bowl moment, and the contrast could not be more stark: Whitney united a nation at war with a fervent, rousing version of 'The Star Spangled Banner', and Janet partially exposed the most argued-about right breast in anatomical history. Whitney had a voice that was a sleek, powerful machine, capable of scaling dramatic peaks, while Janet's instrument was less imposing, more of a suggestion than a declaration.

Total word count of piece: 2952


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