Come Back to Me (Janet Jackson song)

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"Come Back to Me"
U.S. edition
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814
B-side "Skin Game" (Parts I and II) "Vuelve a Mi"
Released June 18, 1990
Format CD, 7", 12", cassette
Recorded 1989; Flyte Tyme Studios
(Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Genre
Length 5:32
Label A&M
Writer(s) Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis
Producer(s) Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Alright"
(1990)
"Come Back to Me"
(1990)
"Black Cat"
(1990)
Alternative cover
UK CD single cover

"Come Back to Me" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Janet Jackson from her fourth studio album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). It was written by Jackson, while Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis co-wrote and produced the track. The R&B ballad talks about a lover trying to rekindle a romance that faded away a long time ago. It was selected to be the album's fifth single on June 18, 1990, and in the United Kingdom it was released alongside "Alright", the album's fourth single in the rest of the world. Jackson also recorded a Spanish version of the song titled "Vuelve a mí".

The song received positive reviews from most music critics, who praised Jackson's sweet delivery and the song's instrumentation; it was also called a sexy and silky ballad. It became a commercial success on the charts, reaching the top three in Canada and the United States, while also reaching the top twenty in the United Kingdom. The music video for the song was directed by Dominic Sena and it was set in Paris. The romantic video features Jackson's former boyfriend René Elizondo, Jr.. Jackson has performed the track in all of her tours, with the exception of The Velvet Rope Tour (1998).

Background and release[edit]

While writing for her fourth studio album, Rhythm Nation 1814, Jackson felt a lot of pressure to follow up the success of previous album, Control (1986). Jackson enlisted previous collaborators and record producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to work with her on the album, and according to the duo, she was excited, and creative juices were flowing."[1] Jam claimed, "It was me, Janet, Terry and [executive producer] John McClain -- and Rene Elizondo also. Let me include him on the creative mix. If the ideas weren't flowing from that group of people, they weren't really being listened to." The album's concept was developed after Jackson, Jam and Lewis watched many social problems that were going on in the world on TV, such as racism, homelessness, drugs and illiteracy.[2] However, the second half of the record is composed with love songs, with "Come Back to Me" being one of them.[1]

Following "Alright", "Come Back to Me" was announced to be "Rhythm Nation"'s fifth single and it was released on June 18, 1990. Its CD single contains the B-side "The Skin Game Pt. 1", while "The Skin Game Pt. 2" is an instrumental which appears exclusively on selected releases.[3] Jackson also recorded the song in Spanish, titled "Vuelve a mí" which also appears on selected releases.[4] In the UK, the song was released as a double A-side co-featuring "Alright".[5]

Composition[edit]

"Come Back to Me" was written by Janet Jackson with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with the latter two also serving as the song's producers. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by EMI Music Publishing, "Come Back to Me" is composed in common time with an "easy ballad" tempo of 78 beats per minute. It is set in the key of A-flat, following a basic chord progression from D-E-F-G. Jackson's vocals on the track span from the low-note of Eb4 to the high-note of Bb5.[6] Lyrically, "Come Back to Me" talks about a lover trying to recapture the rapture of a romance that blossomed and faded away a long time ago.[7] The song is a quiet storm ballad,[2] featuring chord changes and a bridge with a soaring, cinematic outro.[8]

Recording[edit]

While commenting over the song to Billboard's Kenneth Partridge, producer Jimmy Jam claimed that, "At the time we did it, it was one of my favorite songs. I loved the lyrics and the vocal on it." However, for him, "the interesting thing [...] was the live strings." He further commented:

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received positive reviews from most music critics, who went on to praise Jackson's delivery and the strings used on the song. Alex Henderson of AllMusic praised the song, calling it a "caressing, silky ballad,"[10] while Jon Pareles of The New York Times labeled it a "glistening ballad for adult contemporary outlets.[2] Pareles also noted that it "recalls the production by Mr. Harris and Mr. Lewis for the Human League's Only Human, and "caresses the ear with overdubbed voices."[2] Wendy Robinson wrote for PopMatters that the song shows "a more reflective, dramatic side of Janet Jackson."[11] Chris Gerard of Metro Weekly went on to call it a "sexy ballad," featuring "a beautifully layered vocal by Jackson and some lovely instrumentation by Jam and Lewis."[12] Stephen McMillian of Soul Train named it a "romantic ballad" and "one of the more memorable songs during the summer of 1990."[13] Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine praised the track, writing:

"'Come Back to Me' smartly obscures Janet's nondescript pillow-talk delivery within luscious folds upon folds of gut-wrenching chord changes, topping the tragic, plunging bridge with a soaring, cinematic outro that leaves Janet speechless, admitting, 'I don't know what else to say.' It's the quintessential song in the key of heartbreak, but its despair leaves listeners properly stripped and ready to receive the pornography of 'Someday Is Tonight,' which I'm still not sure I'm old enough to listen to."[8]

Chart performance[edit]

The song reached number two on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (behind Mariah Carey's "Vision of Love") and on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (behind The Time's "Jerk Out)", becoming another top five single from Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (the fifth at the time). It also became Jackson's first—and so far only—number-one hit on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.[14] Internationally, the song became a success, reaching number 3 in Canada, while also reaching number 20 in the United Kingdom and number 21 in Ireland.[15][16][17]

Music video[edit]

Directed by Dominic Sena, the video is set in Paris, France, where Jackson deals with the former lover leaving her. She reminisces about her and the good moments spent with her former lover. The male lead in the video was René Elizondo, Jr., whom she would marry a year later. The video shows the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, the Gare d'Austerlitz, the Champs de Mars area, and the view from Montmartre, among others.[7] It appears on the video compilation Design of a Decade 1986/1996 and was released on iTunes on May 4, 2007.[18][19]

Live performances and covers[edit]

Jackson has performed the song on her tours, including the Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour, janet. Tour, All for You Tour, and Rock Witchu Tour, as well as the Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour. It was not included on The Velvet Rope Tour. During the "All for You Tour" (2001-2002), Jackson performed a mellow medley of "Come Back to Me", "Let's Wait Awhile" and "Again". Denise Sheppard of Rolling Stone commented that, "Without question, [it was] one of the night's most beautiful and verklempt moments arrived out of nowhere forty-five minutes into the set. It was the first time that a break in the action occurred ­- no dancers, no music -- and as a close-up captured Jackson looking genuinely happy, the audience spontaneously burst into what became a five-minute standing ovation. Looking on, shocked by the sincerity of the moment, she shed sincere tears, simultaneously overwhelmed and overjoyed. 'I love you so much, Vancouver. Thank you'."[20] The February 16, 2002 final date of the tour at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, was broadcast by HBO, and included a performance of it. The medley was also added to the setlist at its DVD release, Janet: Live in Hawaii, in 2002.[21] On the Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour, Jackson used a diamond-encrusted lavender gown to perform a ballad medley of "Nothing", "Come Back to Me" and "Let's Wait Awhile".[22] Annabel Ross of Sydney's "Everguide" praised Janet for "hitting some impressive high notes herself".[23] In 1992, saxophonist Marion Meadows covered the song from his album Keep It Right There.[24] In 2008, American rapper Plies sampled the song for his single "Bust It Baby (Part 2)", which featured Ne-Yo, while Janet appears on the official remix of the song.[25]

Track listings[edit]

UK double 12" promo single (USAT 681)[26]
  1. "Alright" (12" House Mix) – 7:07
  2. "Alright" (Hip House Dub) – 6:40
  3. "Alright" (a cappella) – 3:26
  4. "Alright" (12" R&B Mix) – 7:17
  5. "Alright" (House Dub) – 5:58
  6. "Alright" (7" House Mix With Rap) – 5:35
  7. "Alright" (7" House Mix) – 4:21
  8. "Alright" (R&B Mix) – 4:34
  9. I'm Beggin' You Mix – 5:33
  10. The Abandoned Heart Mix – 5:19
  11. LP instrumental – 5:15
UK 12" single (USAF681)[27]
  1. The Abandoned Heart Mix – 5:19
  2. "Alright" (12" R&B Mix) – 7:17
  3. "Alright" (House Dub) – 5:58
UK CD single (USACD681)[5]
  1. 7" I'm Beggin' You Mix – 4:46
  2. "Alright" (7" R&B Mix) – 4:34
  3. "Alright" (7" House Mix With Rap) – 5:35
U.S. 12" single (SP-12345)[3]
  1. 7" I'm Beggin' You Mix – 4:46
  2. I'm Beggin' You Mix – 5:33
  3. LP Instrumental – 5:15
  4. "The Skin Game, Part I" – 6:43
  5. "The Skin Game, Part II" – 6:37
Japanese 3" CD single (PCDY-10015)[4]
  1. 7" I'm Beggin' You Mix – 4:46
  2. "Vuelve a Mi" – 5:15
Japanese CD maxi single (PCCY-10131)[28]
  1. 7" I'm Beggin' You Mix – 4:46
  2. I'm Beggin' You Mix – 5:33
  3. "Vuelve a Mi" – 5:15
  4. The Abandoned Heart Mix – 5:19
  5. LP Version – 5:35
  6. LP Instrumental – 5:15
  7. "Vuelve a Mi" (Spanish) – 5:21
  8. "The Skin Game, Part I" – 6:43
  9. "The Skin Game, Part II" – 6:37

Official remixes[edit]

  • Album version – 5:33
  • Instrumental – 5:17
  • 7" I'm Beggin' You Mix – 4:47
  • 12" I'm Beggin' You Mix/Design Of A Decade 1986/1996 Version – 5:34
  • The Abandoned Heart Mix – 5:18
  • "Vuelve a mí" – 5:13
  • "Vuelve a mí" (Spanish) – 5:21

Charts[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Vision of Love" by Mariah Carey
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
August 25, 1990 – September 8, 1990
Succeeded by
"Release Me" by Wilson Phillips

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Patridge, Kenneth (September 18, 2014). "Jimmy Jam Remembers the Making of Janet Jackson's 'Rhythm Nation 1814': Exclusive Q&A". Billboard. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Pareles, Jon (September 17, 1989). "RECORDINGS; Janet Jackson Adopts a New Attitude: Concern". The New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Janet Jackson - Come Back to Me
  4. ^ a b Janet Jackson Come Back To Me Japan 3" CD SINGLE (113769)
  5. ^ a b Janet Jackson Come Back To Me UK 5" CD SINGLE (40581)
  6. ^ "Janet Jackson "Come Back to Me" Sheet Music". MusicNotes.com. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b E. Johnson, Robert (February 1990). "Janet Jackson: A New Love, A New Nation and New Black Pride". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 45 (4): 50. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Henderson, Eric (September 7, 2009). "Janet Jackson: Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  9. ^ Partridge, Kenneth (September 18, 2014). "Janet Jackson's 'Rhythm Nation 1814' Revisited By Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis: Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Henderson, Alex (2008), Rhythm Nation 1814 > Overview, Allmusic, retrieved 2008-06-12 
  11. ^ Robinson, Wendy. "Janet Jackson: Rhythm Nation Compilation | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ Gerard, Chris (September 21, 2014). "25 Years of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814". Metro Weekly (Jansi LLC.). Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ McMillian, Stephen (September 2, 2014). "Classic Soul Album: Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation 1814’". Soul Train. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Rhythm Nation 1814 > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved April 8, 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "RPM weekly magazine". rpm. Retrieved April 8, 2009. 
  16. ^ a b "Chart Stats – Janet Jackson – Come Back To Me". The Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Retrieved April 8, 2009. 
  17. ^ a b "The Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. irishcharts.ie. Retrieved April 8, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Janet Jackson: Design of a Decade 1986/1996 (1996 Video) - IMDB". IMDb. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  19. ^ "iTunes - Music Videos - Come Back to Me by Janet Jackson". iTunes. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  20. ^ Shppard, Denise (July 10, 2001). "Ms. Janet Jackson Gets Nasty". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ Janet: Live in Hawaii (VHS, DVD). Janet Jackson. Eagle Rock Entertainment. 2002. 
  22. ^ "Live Review: Janet Jackson in Toronto". Winnipeg Sun. Stevenson, Jane. 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  23. ^ "Janet Jackson 'Up Close and Personal', Rod Laver Arena, Nov 3 - Everguide". Everguide. Ross, Annabel. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  24. ^ "Keep It Right There overview". AllMusic. 
  25. ^ "Plies - Bust It Baby (Pt. 2) (Remix) ft. Ne-Yo & Janet Jackson". DJ Booth. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  26. ^ Janet Jackson Alright + Come Back To Me UK Promo 12" RECORD/MAXI SINGLE (4817)
  27. ^ Janet Jackson Come Back To Me - Remixes UK 12" RECORD/MAXI SINGLE (12317)
  28. ^ Janet Jackson - Come Back To Me (The Remixes)
  29. ^ "Janet in Australia". MJJ Charts. Retrieved April 8, 2009. 
  30. ^ "RPM Top Singles of 1990". 
  31. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1990". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 

External links[edit]