First Hit #1: May 15, 1993
I’m not sure why talking to the audience is sexier than singing to them, but when a slow jam goes spoken word for some reason it gets quite erotic. Janet Jackson has little spoken word sentences peppered throughout That’s the Way Love Goes, and she gives at least some clue as to why speaking is more erotic than singing.
In short, it’s because it feels more intimate. She’s not really saying a lot – probably three unique lines – but as an otherwise polished singer, going into her speaking voice loses a bit of the gloss. She feels closer because there’s a bit less separating her from the audience. She’s letting her guard down, and letting the audience into her world, which gives a stronger connection between listener and artist.
That’s likely also the logic behind the video, with Jackson laughing with friends before the song takes over, though that has the opposite effect. The spoken word makes her close, but she’s still trying to be sexy. Just hanging around with her friends, she’s much more goofy, and while that’s fun it’s not erotic in any way.