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Feedback (song)

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Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Discipline
Released January 7, 2008
Recorded 2007
Length 3:57
Label Island
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"So Excited"
"Rock with U"

"Feedback" is a song by American recording artist Janet Jackson, released as the lead single from her tenth studio album, Discipline. It was written and produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and D'Mile, with additional writing from Tasleema Yasin and LaShawn Daniels. "Feedback" fuses electropop and dance, notably among the first mainstream electropop songs to surface. It opens with heavy drums before transitioning into an electro beat and "digitized" vocals, also using elements of Eurodance and hip hop. Its lyrical composition is based on Jackson's bravado; questioning the listener while responding with a chant of "sexy, sexy". Its chorus compares her body to instruments such as a guitar and amplifier, using metaphors to demonstrate sexual climax.

It was well received by critics, who praised its sonic innovation and contrast from her prior release, commending Jackson as "back in the form that made her a pop superstar". "Feedback" reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100, two on Hot Singles Sales, three on Hot Dance Airplay, and nine on Pop Songs; her biggest hit since "Someone to Call My Lover". It peaked atop Hot Dance Club Play, reaching number one in South Korea and Germany, while reaching the top ten in Japan and Slovakia. While successful, its overall performance was largely affected by Jackson's airplay blacklist from several conglomerates following her controversial Super Bowl performance incident, as well as changes in release dates and lack of international promotion.

Its music video portrays Jackson as an interstellar goddess, jumping from various planets before dancing among an unidentified white liquid. Jackson performs a complex dance routine with floating white orbs during its finale. It was directed by Saam Farahmand, who complied with Jackson's request of a "futuristic" vibe, creating the universe from her own view. The video received positive reception; critics praising its galactic visuals and choreography. Jackson performed "Feedback" on Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and TRL, the latter being Jackson's first admittance to MTV since her Superbowl performance incident had occurred. "Feedback" won a Billboard Award for Hot Dance Club Play Track of the year and received three nominations at the International Dance Music Awards. The single's inventive production has influenced songs by Japanese artists Bright and Double, as well as Jennifer Lopez and Wynter Gordon.


"Feedback" was written and produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and D'Mile, with additional writing from Tasleema Yasin and LaShawn Daniels. It saw Jackson returning to an experimental dance-pop sound in contrast to the subdued rhythmic feel of prior album 20 Y.O. Jackson said, "I heard it, it was classic me and I fell in love with it immediately."[1] Its lyrics are composed as an indirect representation of sexual climax. She described it as "a metaphor, sexual tension is really the idea of it. The more you give me, the more you'll hear me feedback and at that point don't stop because it'll go higher and higher."[2] The song was her first single released via the Island label after departing with Virgin Records. A press release from Island stated, "It's a provocative conversation that invites openness in an area where so many of us are closed off." Island's A&R director likened its drum pattern to "Rhythm Nation", though clarified, "it doesn't sound like it. It's a 2008 version."[3] The song leaked on December 12, 2007 and was premiered by New York radio station Z100 the same day.[4] The station was "flooded with requests" following its early premiere. Several sources announced "Feedback" to be the "most successful leaked record ever" at the time, reported on a total of 1.34 million blogs and websites within five hours of its debut.[5] "Feedback" became the most added song on multiple radio formats upon its official release.[6] Its initial digital release was advanced by two weeks due to popular demand.


"Feedback" is an electropop and dance-pop song with slight elements of Eurodance and hip-hop. It features varied instrumentation, such as guitars, synthesizers and drums. It uses a "digitized" robotic effect on Jackson's vocals to heighten its futuristic aura and sensual tone, likened to a sex gynoid by Rolling Stone.[7] Erotic Revolutionaries author Shayne Lee wrote "In "Feedback," she puts her body on display for a peep show in which her partner is free to explore her erotic zones."[8]

Janet uses metaphors and questions the listener over the song's electro instrumentation.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The track opens with guitar feedback and a muffled voice saying "Gimme a beat", in reference to the opening line of Jackson's iconic hit "Nasty". Jackson refers to her bravado in the lyrics, singing call and response lines such as "Do you like my style / Yeah that's sexy, sexy, sexy." She propositions intimacy before delving into a sexual fantasy during the chorus, comparing her body to musical instruments: "Strum me like a guitar / Blow out my amplifier." Jackson urges her partner to continue when hearing a response: "When you hear some feedback / Keep going take it higher." Throughout the song, she also refers to racial harmony ("Light skin, dark skin, my Asian persuasion"), fetishism ("Feed my fetish please, satisfy me babe"), voyeurism ("Here's my demonstration, a peep show / Tonight my body's an exhibition baby"), and uses various metaphors, comparing her body to a Mercedez-Benz CL500 and likening her swagger to soaring like a Pelican in flight. The song ends with a chant of its title before Jackson's vocals build and ascend in four different tones, prior to an instrumental close.


Several lines from the song drew media controversy, in particular "My swag is serious, something heavy like a first day period," in which Jackson compares her dominant presence to the initial side effects of a woman's menstrual cycle. While some critics declared the line obscene and grotesque, others commended the metaphor's shock value as clever. Louis Virtel of Movieline favorably called it "her biggest feat" in several years.[9] In 2013, Thought Catalog declared Jackson among "23 Essential Role Models" for young women, saying despite the line, "somehow the song is still sexy and hot and amazing. ... Her witchcraft is something to be studied for years to come."[10] Digital Spy remarked the song deserved heightened notoriety due to the lyrical boast, praising her return to "brilliantly filthy form".[11][12] The line "Strum me like a guitar, blow out my amplifier" was also noted in much of its review coverage.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

"Feedback" received general acclaim upon its release. Chuck Taylor of Billboard declared it a "bona fide smash", equipped with "the goods for a meaningful return to pop." Taylor noted the song "features a gracious dance groove, but more so, supplies a sing along hook and distinctive melody," likening it to "a funked-up 'All for You'," concluding "Welcome back, Janet. Missed you much."[14] Bill Lamb of applauded Jackson as "back in the form that made her a pop superstar", praising the single's "graceful surface elegance", which can "almost make a listener forget this is also a deeply sexy, primally rhythmic jam." Lamb added, "Few artists can make soft vocals sound so deeply authoritative," commending "Feedback" as deserving "a place alongside Janet's long string of major pop hits."[15] Glenn Gamboa of Newsweek called it "enjoyable fluff", with a "robo-dance" sound highlighting "Jackson's playful phrasing and ability to mine the electro-groove."[16]

Nick Levine of Digital Spy deemed it "everything you want from a Jackson single", including "hard-edged beats, plenty of hooks and enough attitude."[12] Keith Harris of Rolling Stone favorably declared Jackson's vocals reminiscent of a "sex droid", complete with "crass" beats and "heavy breathing". Harris added, "When Janet brags she's heavy like a first-day period ... all the amateur competition should just pack up their Web cams and go home."[7] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine considered it "a notch above" "All Nite", possessing "all the lyrical sass and club-affability that was promised with 20 Y.O.", declaring it a comeback.[17] Entertainment Weekly‍ '​s Tim Stack analyzed it as "breathy with a propulsive beat" and "exactly how I like my Jsquared", calling Jackson "the comeback story of 2008."[18] Andy Battaglia of The A.V. Club considered it "a slight digital jam" which masks Jackson among "uncertain vocal tones and incongruous lines about guitars."[19] IGN noted Jackson's "metallic" vocals coupled with a "fuzzy dance beat",[20] also called "blippy and propulsive", as well as "braver", "more defiant", and "mysterious" by The New York Times.[21] PopMatters called it "energetic" and a "club-ready track perfect for both Janet's celebrated choreography and flirty vocal stylings", adding "she opts to forgo any shock and awe moments", repeating the lines, "sexy, sexy, sexy" to grab your interests, versus a full onslaught of visceral come on's."[22] The Boston Globe called it "droid-like", built on "metaphors and analogies".[23]

Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine said the track "shows Janet the 4/4 we assumed she lost, though the beat whomps so relentlessly here it's hard to know how she could've ever misplaced it." It was compared to promotional single "Come On Get Up", though clarified "this one drops Jam and Lewis's incongruously cute synth bells and whistles in favor of a claustrophobically spare itch-and-scratch." Its "octane" was praised as well as its composition of "fun" couplets; rather than the insistence of "all about having fun", thought to be "the difference between telling and showing, to use a hoary writer's workshop cliché." The song's bridge was also praised, adding she's "accidentally discovered the essence of hip-hop for good measure."[24] Billboard's Clover Hope praised its "robotic bassline and voice-modulated effect tailor-made for the clubs."[25] NRJ France commended its "sexy chorus" and "fat electro bass", saying it "remains easily in your head."[26] The Los Angeles Times noted its "top-notch" and "glossed-over" production, praising the "tech-savvy groove" while adding "It'll sound great in a club."[27] The Daily Star heralded the "buzzy hook fest" as "the girl's best single in a decade", also called a "cracking pop track" by Australia's Daily Telegraph.[28][29] Elsewhere, it was called "crisp", "danceable", and "ridiculously good", also "lavished with Janet's trademark velvet harmonies."[30] Bob Burke of FMQB said Jackson "re-ignites the music world", exclaiming "This multi-format mega-superstar has inspired many of today's hottest performers and it wouldn't surprise anyone if Miss Janet scores big with the first single from her forthcoming album, Discipline." Burke described it as "a whole new groove for Jackson" that "fits like a glove", as well as "a fresh new sound" which maintains familiarity, adding "the early "feedback" indicates another multi-format hit in the making."[31]

Chart performance[edit]

"Feedback" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty-four.[32] Several weeks later it rose to number nineteen, its peak position. It became Jackson's twenty-ninth top twenty hit on the chart and fortieth entry, making Jackson the seventh female in history to achieve this. It was her first top twenty hit on the Hot 100 since "Someone to Call My Lover".[33][34] "Feedback" reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, number two on Hot Singles Sales and three on Hot Dance Airplay, number seven on Hot Digital Songs, number nine on Pop Songs, and number twenty-three on the Pop 100.[34] It also peaked within the top twenty-five of rhythmic and urban airplay formats. It was the year's fifth most successful song on Hot Dance Club Play and Jackson's eighteenth number one on the chart. It has sold nearly a million copies in digital sales, eligible for a platinum certification.[35] It peaked at number three in Canada and number two on Hot Canadian Digital Singles.[32]

Internationally, "Feedback" reached number one on South Korea's Hanteo chart and Germany's Deutsche Urban Chart; number two in Bulgaria, number five in Belgium and Greece, and number eight in South Africa and Slovakia, where it charted for forty-one weeks.[36] In Japan, it peaked at number fourteen on the Japan Hot 100 and seven on the Japan Hot 100 airplay chart. It also peaked at number three on the World Chart Show, determined by its total worldwide airplay. It reached the top ten of Australia and Japan's digital charts. It peaked within the top twenty in Norway and New Zealand; also reaching number twenty-one in Finland, twenty-two in Brazil, twenty-five in Croatia, thirty-two in Ireland, and the top forty in France, Denmark, and Germany.[32][37][38] The song peaked at number fourteen on the United World Chart.[37] It was the year's thirty-third most played song on Lebanon's NRJ radio.[39] Its performance in the United Kingdom was affected by a sudden change of release dates and lack of international promotion.


Jackson's airplay and music channel blacklist from several conglomerates such as Viacom, CBS, and subsidiaries including Clear Channel Communications, regarding U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fines following her Super Bowl performance incident several years prior, persisted to linger, affecting her chart performance worldwide.[40] However, the song was able to achieve success in multiple territories due to its popularity and Jackson's status as an entertainer, in addition to her partnership with music executive L.A. Reid at Island Records. Producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins also commented, "We felt like we made a great record with 'Feedback'. Janet felt like it wasn't pushed. I felt like it wasn't pushed correctly. She just didn't get her just due as an artist of that magnitude."[41]

Music video[edit]

Jackson portrays a goddess in an alternate universe, commanding white objects to ascend from a liquid surface.

The music video for "Feedback" was filmed over two days in December 2007, on a sound-stage located in New York City. It was directed by British director Saam Farahmand. Jackson first approached Farahmand with a "futuristic" galactic concept, which he created based on Jackson's original vision. Farahmand said, "Janet told me really likes kind of graphic, futuristic effects," imagining "a parallel universe where Janet and her gang of friends are basically jumping from planet to planet as if they were jumping from a fence, to a car, to a lamppost," likening the concept to French gang Lupacor, "who'd run and jump around the city." Its plot focused on Jackson "creating the universe as I see it", which she revealed to be "fabulous".[1] Jackson stated, "the concept of the video is us in the universe and we're kind of wrecking shop a little bit, kind of busting up planets and rearranging the universe as we see it, or as I see it."[42] She added "the whole energy of it, it is from the future, but its moody."[42] Its plot also focuses on the release of sexual tension. Entertainment show Extra! declared its theme a "utopia" depicting Jackson's "extra-futuristic spin on the perfect world."[1] Jackson was the first pop artist to work with Farahmand, declared a "far more" successful attempt at mainstream recognition than his prior works.[43]

Jackson performed elaborate choreography among eight male dancers adorned in masks and black latex suits. The video was choreographed by Gil Duldulao, who attempted to create "odd shapes-type of choreography, awkward in order to make sense with this futuristic type of video."[42] A dancer described its premise as depicting "gods of the solar system, and Janet is the goddess."[42] The dancers rehearsed for a over week, rehearsing with Jackson during the final three days. To accommodate the song's early leak, plans for the video's release were rushed and developed quickly. Production company Partizan stated, "There was a lot of post production to co-ordinate and we had an insanely short amount of time to finish everything."[44] A second version with several scenes lightened and edited to appear more clearly was released to iTunes two months after the original.[45][46] An alternate version with additional sound effects and a slightly altered and extended finale was released on the Partizan company's official website.[44] Rolling Stone later announced it the third most expensive music video of 2008.[47]


The music video revolves around an alternate universe governed by Jackson, balancing the song's futuristic aura and sexual content. Various sound effects are used to demonstrate the clip's storyline. It begins with a purple liquid forming 'JANET'. Jackson is seen sitting on top of a planet in outer space, wearing a bodysuit adorned with jewelry, long ponytail, and mask. Various asteroids and dancers mounting planets in black latex attire and helmets are shown. Jackson flips her ponytail, revealing her face as cosmic dust is tossed about. Several dancers leap to other planets as Jackson descends to a cratered surface, performing abstract choreography with two dancers. Jackson jumps to another setting, shown in slow motion as the audio is filtered, landing on a white liquid surface with a crimson atmosphere. Backed by eight dancers, Jackson performs the song's choreography as various objects crash into the liquid, representing sexual pleasure. Jackson and the dancers fall into the liquid, with Jackson reemerging in a red catsuit. Jackson performs a complex dance routine with six glowing spheres. The final sphere ascends upward as fourteen white liquid objects explode, representing orgasm and climax.

Release and reception[edit]

The video premiered on January 7, 2008 and debuted on Yahoo! Music the next day. It temporarily became the most viewed video on YouTube when first uploaded to Jackson's official video channel.[48] It was also the most requested video on Australia's Channel V.[49] Upon mending her relationship with MTV, the video premiered on MTV's TRL on January 14, 2008. It was Jackson's first video to be aired by the network since "Son of a Gun" over six years prior, due to blacklisting by several entertainment conglomerates after being fined by the FCC regarding Jackson's Super Bowl performance incident. It peaked atop's streaming chart and at number nine on Billboard's Hot Videoclip Tracks.[50] The video and behind the scenes footage is featured on a DVD included with the deluxe edition of Jackson's Discipline album. Jackson announced a YouTube contest in which fans submitted videos dancing to "Feedback"; the winner receiving an iPod preloaded with Discipline and two music videos.[51] Yahoo! Music declared "Feedback" the tenth most streamed video of 2008.[52]

Billboard favorably called it "pretty insane".[53] MTV News regarded Jackson "big-time back" providing the clip "is any indication of her new look and feel."[54] MuchMusic declared it "awesome", adding "the dance sequence is classic Jackson fabulousness and the ending is super cool."[55] An additional review analyzed Jackson "jumping around a few planetoid-shaped objects", likened to Wii game Super Mario Galaxy, followed by a "post-fadeout, CGI-enhanced dance breakdown". Jackson was described as "curvalicious in a head-to-toe crimson catsuit." Its finale was considered to depict Jackson "amidst a flood of of [sic] sperms", catering to her "sexual preoccupations".[56] The video's outfits and galactic fashion were also praised as "a fashion video done right: impeccable costumes, mind-blowing dancing and overall phenomenal imagery," comparing Jackson's "lean-mean-cyborg-esque-machine" appearance to "a 4-minute-long fashion editorial."[57] MTV News later added, "Janet looks amazing, and the track bumps," regarding it "hot enough to undo the damage of Nipplegate, of course, but, more recently, 20 Y.O."[54] The Los Angeles Times praised the science fiction aura among its "planetary effects".[27] NRJ France observed Jackson "jumping from planet to planet" and closing with "a squirt of milk", praising its "magnificent" choreography.[26] Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine thought it was "a minor revelation" in comparison to the song itself, though credited Jackson for "juggling CGI in a skin-tight red jumpsuit during what appeared to be the middle ground of her yo-yo weight swings" and "whipping up cosmic dust with that ponytail (how's that for an entrance?!)." Its concept was also praised for breaking new ground among her videography.[24]

Live performances[edit]

Jackson performed "Feedback" on Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and MTV's TRL.[58] Jackson performed amongst a pink and white planet during each rendition, with the stage of Good Morning America designed specifically in reference to the song's music video. "Feedback" and several other songs were scheduled to be performed on Saturday Night Live, but Jackson was required to cancel due to illness.[59][60] Performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and London nightclub G-A-Y were also initially planned.[61][62] Jackson taught the video's choreography to Larry King during an appearance on Larry King Live.[63] It was later performed on the Rock Witchu Tour and Number Ones, Up Close and Personal.

The performance on TRL became Jackson's first appearance on MTV in six years, following a lengthy period in which the network blacklisted Jackson and her music videos after they were fined regarding her controversial Super Bowl performance incident. MTV News called the performance "fantastique", with the audience "completely losing their cot-damn marbles."[64] Jackson's rendition on Number Ones, Up Close and Personal was called "throbbing" by The Courant, noting its "explicit dance moves".[65] A segment of professional footage of "Feedback" from the tour's private date at the Hard Rock Hotel in Singapore, Asia was released on Jackson's official YouTube channel.[66]


Miley Cyrus performed a dance routine to "Feedback" on the premiere episode of YouTube series "The Miley and Mandy Show".[67] It has been covered by French singer Gen Renard as "Transpire" and Justin West as an acoustic version.[68] In popular culture, So You Think You Dance winner Jeanine Mason performed a dance routine to the song on the show's fifth season.[69] "Feedback" was selected as the promotional song for the fourth season of America's Next Top Model, used throughout the series and in advertisements.[70] It was also used in an episode of MTV's The Hills.[71] In 2013, it was mentioned in the novel Cruising: Gay Erotic Stories.[72] Lawrence University's dance troupe Massive Movement performed a routine to the song during a show finale.[73] Fitness magazine also included it among their list of Best Songs for Running.[74]

Awards and accolades[edit]


"Feedback" was commended for its innovative production and vocal arrangement, among one of the first mainstream electropop songs to surface.[54] It won a Billboard Award for Hot Dance Club Play Track of the year, also nominated for Best Pop Dance Track, Best House/Garage Track, and Best Urban Dance Track at the 2009 International Dance Music Awards and Best Dance Single of the Year at the HX Awards.[75] To date, "Feedback" is Jackson's best performing single since her airplay and music channel blacklisting due to FCC fines regarding her controversial Super Bowl incident; reaching number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100, number one on Hot Dance Club Play, number two on Hot Single Sales, nine on Pop Songs, and three on Hot Dance Airplay and in Canada. It peaked at number one in South Korea and Germany's Deutsche Urban Chart; number two in Bulgaria, five in Belgium and Greece, seven on Japan's Hot 100 airplay chart, eight in Slovakia, top twenty in Norway and New Zealand, and top twenty-five in Brazil, Croatia, and Finland.[citation needed]

Rolling Stone praised it as "Ms. Jackson's best single in years", likening it to "an Atari going haywire." Noting its futuristic quality, the publication added in twenty-five years, the track "will be available as a telepathic download for a nickel."[78] Keith Harris of Rolling Stone also called it a "high-voltage money shot". commenting "when Janet brags she's "heavy like a first-day period" on "Feedback"... all the amateur competition should just pack up their Webcams and go home."[7] Slant Magazine ranked it the eighth best single of 2008 and fifty-ninth best song of the decade, declaring it "infectiously bizarre" and commending its advanced production and lyrical content.[76] The publication stated, "Technology was the subject and thrust of the music—swaths of tension, really—that electronic pioneers Kraftwerk orchestrated during their heyday in the late 1970s, but imagine them going where Miss Janet, nasty as all hell, went." The excerpt concluded, "With it, Janet Jackson got her 4/4 back, spinning a mad association, at once playful and scorching, between her stereo and her vagina."[77]

Blender called it "her most distinctive track in years", and MTV News cited Jackson as "bringing back the dance sound" to the mainstream.[54] Nick Levine of Digital Spy exclaimed it to be "everything you want" from Jackson, including "hard-edged beats, plenty of hooks, and enough attitude" over electro "blips and squelches". Jackson was commended for being "on brilliantly filthy form", having "plenty of spunk left in her yet".[12] It was also called a "libidinous strut" from the "kinkstress", proclaimed it "remains a Shoulda Been Smash, if only for Janet's boast that she's "something heavy like a first-day period".[11][79] MuuMuse ranked it the nineteenth best single of the year.[80] It also peaked at number seven on's weekly Top 10 Hot Pop Songs chart.[81] MuchMusic praised the single as a return to form, saying "People want to dance. You like to dance. Together, the world can dance once again."[82] Chad Grischow of IGN declared "Feedback" reminiscent of "a time when Janet Jackson could do no wrong, constantly churning out sexy ballads and explosively danceable pop hits" prior to the effects of her Superbowl performance incident, offering "a few solid reminders of why she was so damn cool for so long."[20]

Track listings[edit]

Official remixes[edit]

Twelve electronic remixes by Jody den Broeder, Moto Blanco, Ralphi Rosario, and Wideboys were released.[92] Ralphi Rosario's Electroshock Radio Edit appears as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of Discipline.
An unofficial remix with vocals from Ciara and Busta Rhymes later surfaced, created as a mash-up after the two artists released remixes of their own. It was released as a free download three months after the original before receiving a digital release, though Jackson was unaware and opposed the decision.[93] The remix was intended to solely feature vocals from Fabolous, who previously collaborated with Jackson on an official remix to "So Excited."[94] Jackson confirmed she was unaware of Ciara's contribution, which had been recorded on her own.[93] Jermaine Dupri commented her inclusion was not commissioned, being L.A. Reid and the label's doing, saying "Janet had nothing to do with it."[95] A remix speculated to be produced by Timbaland and Danja also surfaced, though was confirmed fake.[96]




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