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“TOUCHSTONES” IS AN ONGOING INTERACTIVE SERIES IN WHICH NEW YORKER WRITERS GUIDE US THROUGH THE WORKS THAT SHAPED THEM AS CRITICS AND AS PEOPLE. hen Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814” was released, in 1989, I was a gangly nine-year-old, and still figuring out how my limbs moved. The album worked on me physically—it taught me things about my body—before I could make any sense of its themes. Back then, I took weekly piano lessons (I was terrible), and dutifully sang in my school’s chorus (also terrible). Listening to “Rhythm Nation 1814” in my bedroom with the door closed was the first time I realized that music could actually animate a person, taking full hold of the body... Full story

23 November