In 1996 Janet was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her breakthrough album Control and decided to do it in style, giving her fans new music and her first compilation. After spending almost two years on the road touring with the ‘janet.’ album janet. and an epic duet with her brother Michael, she could be exhausted, but that was not an excuse for Janet. The singer returned to the studio with her eternal partners, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and together they produced two new tracks: ‘Runaway’ and ‘Twenty Foreplay’. J recorded music videos and posed for new promo pictures. Just like everything else in Janet’s career, nothing fell short.
‘Runaway’ became another very successful single around the world, reaching the #3 in the US in a few days. At the time, she said during an interview that the track was a gift to her fans, talking about the various experiences she had, people and cultures she had met and all she had achieved traveling the world during those last 10 years. It was written around the same time of ‘Scream’ and it was offered to Michael Jackson as an option for the Duet. Jimmy said it was Michael who chose ‘Scream’, to Janet’s delight, since she was hoping ‘Runaway’ would be left for.
As for the mid-tempo ‘Twenty Foreplay’, it had a median success, having more prominence in Europe. The video, filmed in black and white and set the 50’s, was a tribute to the actress Dorothy Dandridge, who was considered by Janet one of the first African-American sex-symbols.
Design of a Decade: 1986-1996 was released worldwide in October 1995. The compilation debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and was successful both in America and in Europe. The album had many different versions released around the globe, with different covers, tracklists and a limited edition that featured a bonus disc with remixes and rare tracks pre-1986. The liner notes featured the two new tracks lyrics, detailed information about the production and composition of each single, a list of all awards received by Janet until 1995 and a small biography signed by writer David Ritz.
Due to bureaucratic and contractual issues, many singles from the ‘janet.’ Era were left out of the collection, but A&M tried to compensate by releasing new remixes of a few big hits like ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’. At the same time a VHS was released (later re-released in DVD) containing some of her music videos, plus a documentary showing the behind the scenes of the new video for ‘Runaway ‘.
“You always hope that your project is successful, but I never knew the extent that this success was going to be, really.”