Again (Janet Jackson song)

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"Again"
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album janet.
B-side "Funky Big Band"
Released October 12, 1993
Format CD single, 7", 12", cassette single
Recorded Flyte Tyme Studios
(Edina, Minnesota)
Genre Pop
Length 3:47
Label Virgin
Writer(s) Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis
Producer(s) Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"If"
(1993)
"Again"
(1993)
"Because of Love"
(1994)

"Again" is a song by American singer-songwriter Janet Jackson, appearing first as the closing song to Jackson's debut film, "Poetic Justice" (1993), and later included on her fifth studio album, janet. (1993). Written and produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the ballad was released as the album's third single on October 12, 1993 by Virgin Records, and talks about reconnecting with an old flame. Originally an experimental sound Jam and Lewis was considering for the album, they did not give the song serious contemplation until the film producers from Poetic Justice requested a ballad for the film's soundtrack.

Critics were divided with "Again". Some critics praised it as a highlight from janet. and a classic, while other critics responded negatively to its sentimental lyrical content. However, "Again" became a commercial success, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in late 1993, while also reaching the top-ten in Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and reaching the top-twenty elsewhere.

"Again" received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song.[1][2] Two music videos for the song, directed by Jackson's then-husband René Elizondo, Jr., were released: one with and other without scenes from Poetic Justice. The song was covered by How to Dress Well for his second album, Total Loss and sampled by Iyaz on his single "Solo".

Background and recording[edit]

Jackson performing "Again" on the Rock Witchu Tour.

In 1992, Jackson filmed her first film, Poetic Justice, prior to record a new album. In "Poetic Justice", Justice (Jackson) uses her poetry to deal with her grief after her boyfriend is killed in a shooting incident at a drive-in. Later, Justice goes on a trip with her friends and Lucky (Tupac Shakur), a postman who delivers mail to her shop and keeps asking her out. Eventually, Justice has to decide if she's ready for a new love - and if Lucky is the man she's waiting for.[3] After shooting the film, Jackson started recording a new album, declaring that the film inspired her to take new direction in her music, "Rhythm Nation was a heavy record, and Poetic Justice was a heavy movie. I wanted to do something lighter but also daring ... When I wrote the album, I was still in a poetic frame of mind, inspired by Maya's beautiful language."[4]

"Again" was originally an experimental sound the production duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis was considering for the album. While Jackson found its melody compelling, the trio did not give the song serious contemplation until the film producers from Poetic Justice requested a ballad for the film's soundtrack. Jackson subsequently wrote the lyrics for "Again" and shaped them around Jam's melody.[5] The song was eventually included as the closing song to the film, but was not included on its soundtrack album. It was later released as janet.'s third single on October 12, 1993, with the jazz-funky track "Funky Big Band" from the album appearing on the single as a B-side, as well as a French version of the song, which also appeared on the limited edition of the janet. album.[6]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Again" was written and produced by Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. It is set in common time with a key of C major. Jackson's vocal chords ranges between the tonal nodes of high-tone G3 to low-tone D5. The song is in a moderate tempo of 64 beats per minute with the chord progression being set like C–G–Am–F–C–Dm7/G in the first verse and C–E–Am7–D9 in the chorus.[7] "Again" is a "lightweight" piano ballad,[8] based on a lost love. The song's story is about running into an old flame only to discover that the feelings for that person are as strong as ever. "Kinda late in the game and my heart is in your hands. Don't you stand there and then tell me you love me and leave me again," she sings.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

"Again" received mixed reviews from music critics. Despite calling a " throwaway", Alex Henderson of Allmusic picked the song as a highlight from the album.[10] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called it "the most treacly, saccharine ballad Janet has ever recorded, complete with the kind of teary breakdown one might expect from her brother."[11] In a "classic track-by-track review", Andrew Hampp of Billboard remarked, "By the time Jackson pleas at the song's close, seemingly choking back tears, "Cause I've fallen in love with you again," it's hard not to get misty even after countless listens."[12] Essence magazine ranked "Again" as the #4 Greatest Break-up song of all-time.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

"Again" was a success on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching the top-forty in August 1993 and the top-ten in October 1993.[14] The song topped the Billboard charts for two weeks, being certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in December.[14] The song was also a success on other Billboard component charts, including the Top 40 Mainstream (peaking at number 2), the Rhythmic Top 40 (number 3), Adult Contemporary (number 4) and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks (number 7).[15] In Canada, the song was also a success, reaching number 2.[16] In the United Kingdom, "Again" was a huge success, peaking at number 6, becoming her sixth top-ten single.[17]

Elsewhere, the song peaked inside the top-twenty. In Australia, "Again" debuted at number 26, before peaking at number 19, four weeks later.[18] In New Zealand, the song was even better, peaking at number 13,[18] while in Sweden, the song was even higher, with a peak of number 5, after eleven weeks on the chart, becoming her highest charting-single.[19]

Accolades, cover and samples[edit]

Jackson performing "Again" on the Number Ones, Up Close and Personal Tour.

The song was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1993. It also received a nomination for Best Original Song at the 66th Academy Awards, where Jackson performed the song live.[14] "Again" was covered by How to Dress Well and appeared as a bonus track on his 2012 album "Total Loss", which was also inspired by Janet's "The Velvet Rope".[20] According to the singer Tom Krell, "What you're getting is not a report of a feeling, but a sonic presentation of the feeling," he said about the cover.[12] The song was sampled by Iyaz on his 2010 single "Solo". According to Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly, "it riffs 'Again', without directly sampling either the main hook or re-upping the lyrics directly. The song just lifts a substantial chunk of Janet’s lilting melody."[21]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by Jackson's then-husband René Elizondo, Jr. in 1993. It features actor Gary Dourdan as Jackson's lost love, with Jackson writing in her diary as she reminisces about her love through flashbacks. The alternate version of the video contains scenes from Poetic Justice playing on a television. The original video appears on the 1994 compilation janet. and the 2004 DVD From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos, while the Poetic Justice version is included on the 2001 DVD edition of All for You.

Live performances[edit]

Since its release, Jackson has performed the song on all of her tours, including the janet. Tour, The Velvet Rope Tour, All for You Tour, Rock Witchu Tour, and the Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour, where it was dedicated to Phoenix, Ariz and Oslo, Norway. She also performed it on the season 9 finale of American Idol.

Track listings[edit]

U.S. promo CD single (DPRO-12801)[22]
  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48
  3. Instrumental – 3:50
U.S. CD maxi single (V25H-38411)[6]
CD single
UK CD maxi single (VSCDG 1481)[23]
  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48
  3. Instrumental – 3:50
  4. "Funky Big Band" – 5:25
Japanese 3" CD single (VJDP-10212)[24]
UK 7" single (VS1481)[25]
U.S. 7" promo single (S717582)[26]
  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48
Japanese CD single (VJCP-12021)[27]
UK CD single (VSCDX1481) (limited edition with calendar)[28]
  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48
  3. French version – 3:50
  4. "That's the Way Love Goes" (We Aimista Win Mix) – 5:38

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Country Certifier Certification Sales
United States RIAA Platinum[41] 1,000,000

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 11, 1993 – December 18, 1993
Succeeded by
"Hero" by Mariah Carey

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biddle, Frederic M. (1994-03-22), "Fashion and fame team on Oscar night", The Boston Globe: 61 
  2. ^ HFPA - Awards Search, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, 1993, retrieved 2010-09-18 
  3. ^ "Poetic Justice (1993) - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ David Ritz (1993-09-16), "Sexual healing", Rolling Stone (665): 38, ISSN 0035-791X 
  5. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  6. ^ a b Janet Jackson - Again Discogs. Retrivied 06-16-2014
  7. ^ "Janet Jackson - Again Sheet Music (Digital Download)". MusicNotes. Alfred Publishing. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  8. ^ "Billboard - May 22, 1993 Issue". Google Books (Billboard Magazine). Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ Heck, Jane (June 8, 2008). "Top 10 Janet Jackson Songs". The Examiner (Yahoo! Voices). Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Janet - Janet Jackson", Allmusic (Rovi Corporation), retrieved 2010-07-14 
  11. ^ "Janet Jackson: janet. | Music Review", Slant Magazine, retrieved 2010-07-14 
  12. ^ a b Hampp, Andrew (May 18, 2013). "Janet Jackson, 'janet.': Classic Track-By-Track Review". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  13. ^ http://photos.essence.com/galleries/best-breakup-songs-all-time?slide=82412#82448_82412
  14. ^ a b c "Rock on the Net: Janet Jackson". Rock on the Net. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c d e "janet. > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  16. ^ a b "Janet Jackson – Again – Weekly Magazine accessdate=2008-12-01". 
  17. ^ "Janet Jackson - Artist - Official Charts". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Australian Charts.com: Janet Jackson – Again". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  19. ^ "Swedishcharts.com - Janet Jackson: Again". Swedish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ Breihan, Tom (August 16, 2012). "How To Dress Well Covers Janet Jackson". Stereogum. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (January 28, 2010). "Iyaz' 'Solo': total Janet Jackson rip-off, or loving tribute?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  22. ^ Janet Jackson - Again
  23. ^ Janet Jackson - Again
  24. ^ Janet Jackson Again Japan 3" CD SINGLE (21637)
  25. ^ Janet Jackson Again UK 7" Yellow Vinyl Single (192890)
  26. ^ Janet Jackson Again - Gold Vinyl USA Promo 7" RECORD (22837)
  27. ^ Janet Jackson Again Japan 5" CD SINGLE (86871)
  28. ^ Janet Jackson Again UK 5" CD SINGLE (32384)
  29. ^ "Janet in Belgium". MJJ Charts. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  30. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 48 – 1993". Top 40 (in Dutch). Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  31. ^ "Janet in Finland". MJJ Charts. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  32. ^ "Janet in France". MJJ Charts. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  33. ^ "Musicline.de – Janet Jackson – Again". Musicline.de (in German). Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  34. ^ "Italian Charts". IFPI. ifpi.com. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  35. ^ "The Irish Charts". IRMA. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  36. ^ "Chart Stats – Janet Jackson – Again". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  37. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1993". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  38. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. 1993-12-18. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  39. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  40. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  41. ^ http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?artist="Janet"#

External links[edit]