I Get Lonely

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"I Get Lonely"
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album The Velvet Rope
Released February 26, 1998
Recorded March 1997
January 1998 (remix)
Length 5:17 (album version)
4:03 (LP edit)
Label Virgin
  • Janet Jackson
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Together Again"
"I Get Lonely"
"Go Deep"

"I Get Lonely" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson from her sixth studio album The Velvet Rope. Released as the album's third single in late February 1998, it became a top five on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as Jackson's twelfth R&B chart-topper, also becoming successful in various territories worldwide.

"I Get Lonely" became Janet's eighteenth consecutive top ten hit on the Hot 100, setting a record for her as the only female artist to achieve that feat, surpassed only by Elvis Presley and The Beatles.[1] The song received a BMI Pop Award for "Most Played Song" and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and was later included on Janet's second hits compilation Number Ones. Its music video is also infamous for its sex appeal, choreography, and artistic theme and imagery.

Song information[edit]

Unlike Janet's usual style of dance pop and hybrid of pop and R&B, the song is more of an R&B-orientated affair. An alternate electro-R&B remix of the song produced by Timbaland and Teddy Riley was also released for airplay. Describing the song, Janet said "I Get Lonely" takes me to a place of loss — having lost a lover, wanting the lover back, and dreaming of the time when the dream is fulfilled. The vibe is bittersweet."[2]

Released as the third single from The Velvet Rope, the song received an award for "Most Played Song" at the BMI Pop Awards, a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards, and other accolades. "I Get Lonely" became Janet's eighteenth consecutive top ten hit on the Hot 100, setting a record for her as the only female artist to achieve that feat, surpassed only by Elvis Presley and The Beatles, in addition to achieving success in Europe and other countries.[1] A shortened edit of the song later appeared on Janet's second hits compilation Number Ones.

Critical reception[edit]

"I Get Lonely" received favorable reviews, with many critics expressing approval of the song's theme and commending Jackson for delving more heavily into authentic R&B as a departure from her signature brand of dance pop and R&B-flavored pop, which she had also previously attempted with "Got 'til It's Gone", while pop sensibilities and harmonies still remained intact. Billboard exclaimed "Miss Jackson follows her recent [pop] No. 1 "Together Again" with a grinding ballad that is clearly designed to strengthen her credibility with hardcore R&B listeners." [3] Billboard also considered "I Get Lonely" to be "bold", "R&B flavored", and themed around a "sensitive subject" like other songs from The Velvet Rope; in this particular case, "loneliness".[4]

Vibe calls "I Get Lonely" a "gigantic voicey song" and praises its structure, saying "the song starts with the beautifully overblown chorus-"I get so lonely / Can't let / Just anybody hold me / You are the one / Who lives in me my dear / Want no one but you." After that, it's official: you're singing it until next year. There're, like, 40 Janets singing the chorus, and she harmonizes with herself like she's the Pips. Honey butter. This is where she wins. Makes pop. Art. Hits you where? In the head, the heart, the booty." The review also noted Jackson's vocal performance as being both heartfelt and convincing, observing "Or maybe Janet Jackson really feels lonely. Because she sounds more convincing, more alive, on "I Get Lonely" than on The Velvet Rope's title song, better than when she's singing about any of that tie-me-up-tie-medown, gettin'-freaked-from-behind "rope burn" stuff."[5] Yahoo! Music described "I Get Lonely" as highlighted by "catchy chord progressions" while The L.A. Times says the song "plumbed relatively raw neo-soul depths", noting it to be a contrast from Jackson's previous dance pop and slower-tempo releases such as "Again".[6][7]

Billboard also critiqued the song's various remixes, ultimately selecting the original version to be superior. "Top 40 programmers who prefer Janet as a disco diva are treated to a solid, pop-smart house remix by Jason Nevins, while the cut's original co-producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, contribute an odd if ultimately useful booty-bass remix. In each case, the song's infectious chorus and taut melody wisely remain intact. Of course, quietly tacked between the numerous trend-conscious remixes of "I Get Lonely" is the far superior album version. Why not be among the few programmers to buck trends and let the original version works its unmistakable magic?"[3] A review from Uproxx also raved about the song's quality, saying "It's hard to pinpoint the best aspect of the song: the opening seconds, its melody, the hook or the way Ms. Jackson’s voice flutters seamlessly over the beat". "What’s apparent, however, is that those three traits and more meshed to produce one of the standout records from the most famous female Jackson and a testament of what R&B once was", asking the listener to attempt the "impossible" challenge to "listen to this song and try not to tap your feet or sing the hook."[8]

Award Nominated work Result
Billboard Awards Top Hot R&B Airplay Single Nominated
BMI Pop Awards Most Played Song Won
Grammy Awards Best R&B Vocal Performance – Female Nominated
Lady of Soul Music Awards Best R&B Single, Solo Nominated
Lady of Soul Music Awards Best R&B Music Video Won
VH1 Video Music Awards Sexiest Music Video of the Year Nominated

Alternate versions[edit]

An alternate remix of "I Get Lonely" known as the "TNT Remix" featured vocals from Teddy Riley's group Blackstreet and has an electro-R&B instrumental produced by Timbaland and Riley, and was released in addition to the original. An alternate music video was released for the remix, while a solo version of the remix was also released under the title "TNT Main Mix - Janet Only". The remix was released to radio as an alternate version and excelled at both pop and urban formats. A demo of Riley's remix titled the "Teddy Riley Test Pressing Mix" features an instrumental similar to the original and also has alternate, more subdued vocals by Riley and Blackstreet. MTV first reported about the remix's release, commenting "Janet Jackson has enlisted yet another super-producer to remix a single off of her new album, "Velvet Rope." After using Gang Starr's DJ Premier on [remixes of] "Together Again," Jackson called in Teddy Riley of Blackstreet to work on "I Get Lonely." Speaking to Janet while on tour in the Netherlands, Jackson revealed she and Riley managed to collaborate on the concept for the remix "via phone", adding "He said 'We got to do something together a remix, anything,' and we talked about work on the next album. So I said, 'O.K. let us at least start with a remix. That's what we did with 'I Get So Lonely.'" "He's called me every single day with different ideas," Jackson continued, "and I would say, 'O.K., that's cool. Just put it down and let's go from there.' So he'd put a little bit down and call me and play it for me and it was fun." [9] Billboard reviewed the remix, saying "Teddy Riley has been enlisted to spruce up the track with a skittling jeep groove, while Janet's yearning, thickly layered vamps are complimented by a single-only guest appearance by Blackstreet", adding Jackson's and "the groups' voices blend extremely well."[3]

Alternate pop remixes by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and dance remixes by Jason Nevins were also released in addition to urban remixes by Teddy Riley and Jam & Lewis.

Chart performance[edit]

A risky song to release due to its stark contrast in sound from Jackson's previous singles and little promotion, the song debuted and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, also reaching the number-one spot on the Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and singles sales charts in its second week, spending two weeks at the top position. The song had modest positions outside the United States, reaching the Top 5 in the United Kingdom, number 18 in Italy, Top 10 in New Zealand, and Top 15 in various countries. The song achieved average chart success in Australia and Canada.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "I Get Lonely", directed by Paul Hunter and choreographed by Tina Landon, received positive reception and heavy rotation on music channels. Similar to other videos and imagery from The Velvet Rope, "I Get Lonely" took a more personal, artistic and theatrical approach to fit the song's concept, blending Jackson's trademark sex appeal and choreography with the song's persistent theme of loneliness, isolation and pleading.

The video was later included on the video compilation DVD included with the special edition of Janet's All for You album. An alternate music video for the "TNT Remix" with Teddy Riley's group Blackstreet was also released, showing new scenes of Jackson performing the song with the group on the platform setting in between the video's original scenes. This version appears on the video compilation From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos.

Video reception[edit]

The music video for "I Get Lonely" received positive reception for its choreography, sex appeal, artistic theme and Jackson's shade of red hair. MTV News commented "Anyone who has seen Janet Jackson's latest video for "I Get Lonely" is well acquainted with the singer's physical attributes."[10] Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture author Shayne Lee remarked that Janet's "eroticism intensifies" within the video, saying "In the video for 'I Get Lonely' Janet rips open her shirt exposing a black lace bra and continues dancing as she sings about needing to resolve her loneliness."[11] King Magazine also commented on Jackson's physical attributes, stating "You might think she’s just dressed like a sexy-ass private eye, but wait for it…wait for it..blaow! The twins come out to play, and they ain’t playing fair."[12] Uproxx commented "God bless Janet Jackson for this song and also the cleavage shot in the video. She’ll always remain one of the OG sex symbols", also revealing "years later, it still holds up quite well."[8] SoulBounce praised Jackson's new style of "full, vibrant red hair", also calling her appearance "easily the most stunning" of all her prior video looks, continuing to say "Armed with a collection of perfectly fitting pant suits, ample cleavage and undeniable sex appeal", Janet "embodies the passion, beauty and grace of the Velvet Rope era."[13]

The video received nominations for "Sexiest Music Video of the Year" at the VH1 Video Music Awards and "Best Video" at the Lady of Soul Music Awards, among other accolades.

Live performances[edit]

The song received little promotion, with Janet only performing "I Get Lonely" at Europe's TMF Awards, the Soul Train Music Awards, and an acoustic version of the song at The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was later performed on Jackson's The Velvet Rope Tour, Rock Witchu Tour, and Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour, with a review from the New York date of the latter tour calling "I Get Lonely" a "classic" that received "the most love of the night" from the audience.[14][15][16][17][18][19]

Dance group SoReal Cru performed a choreographed routine to "I Get Lonely" during an episode of America's Best Dance Crew honoring Janet titled "Janet Jackson Challenge". Cinema Blend commented on the tribute, saying "SoReal Cru tries to balance provocation with artistic merit in order to do Janet justice."[20] Dance troupe "Choreo Cookies" performed a routine to "I Get Lonely" at the "World of Dance" tour, an annual dance convention described as "a Comic Con for hip hop dancers", in 2009. The routine helped the group rank at first place at the event.[21]

Legacy and influence[edit]

Australian pop singer Sam Sparro confirmed his "I Wish I Never Met You" video, released 2012, was inspired by Janet's "I Get Lonely" video.[22][23] Kelly Rowland's performances of "Motivation" on both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the 2011 BET Awards were inspired by the performance, outfit, and choreography of Jackson's "I Get Lonely". Yahoo! Music interviewed Rowland, who confirmed the performance was inspired by Jackson, which "was considered by many to be the highlight of the night".[24] Idolator said Rowland stole the show with her "Janet Jackson inspired number".[25] The Round Table observed "Rowland segued into a mini dance breakdown reminiscent of Janet Jackson’s “I Get Lonely” towards the end of her performance of the song on The Tonight Show.[26] Rowland later stated that Janet "played a major role" when asked who her biggest inspiration to enter the music industry was.[27] Gawker likened electronic musician Jimmy Edgar's "In Deep" as being influenced by the alternate radio version of "I Get Lonely" known as the "TNT Remix", saying the song "tips its hat to both Timbaland and Teddy Riley by way of Roger Troutman" and was comparable to "an alternate scenario as to what it would sound like if Timbaland and Riley followed up their collaboration on the remix of Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely". The song appeared on Edgar's "Majenta" album, released 2012.[28] Billboard compared Brandy's "Angel in Disguise", a promotional single release from her sophomore album "Never Say Never", to "I Get Lonely", noting "the gutsy "Angel in Disguise" seems to borrow from Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely".[29] The Jermaine Dupri remix of Maxwell's "Lifetime" received comparisons to the song, with SoulBounce commenting the remix "treads awfully close to "I Get Lonely".[30] "I Get Lonely" is mentioned in a chapter of Vicent Tolliver's novel "Baptized: A Novel".[31][32]


"I Get Lonely" has been covered and sampled by several artists of various genres. American hip hop duo Audio Push sampled "I Get Lonely" on "Shine", released in July 2013 as the lead single from their "Come As You Are" project.[33][34] Ne-Yo performed a cover of "I Get Lonely" during a choreographed dance routine while performing "Let's Go", a collaboration with Calvin Harris, at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.[35] American singer-songwriter Luke James performed a mash-up of "I Get Lonely" with his single "I Want You" during a performance on the UK's SB.TV in May 2013.[36] Eric Bellinger and Amber Riley of Glee! fame's single "Never Be Lonely" samples "I Get Lonely", altering the song's lyrics to be from a couple's point of view. The song was released in March 2013 as the lead single from Bellinger's "In the Meantime" compilation. In August 2013, House producer ESTA's "YouAre(TheOne)" sampled "I Get Lonely", "flipping the sample into a fantastically constructed groovy jam, bursting with sentimental house vibes."[37][38] B.Slade performed live covers of the song during various appearances throughout 2012.[39] Jessi Teich recorded a jazz cover of "I Get Lonely" for her "Live and Unwrapped EP", released 2013.[40] Boney James covered "I Get Lonely" for his "Body Language" album, while a jazz cover by Alexander Ethan Grey also appeared on the compilation "Smooth Sax Tribute to Janet Jackson".[41][42] Grammy nominated musician Russell Gunn also performed live covers of "I Get Lonely" at "The 32nd Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival" in 2009.[43] Hip-Hop duo "Georgi Gang" sampled "I Get Lonely" on "Break It Down", released in December 2012 as one of the singles off their debut album entitled "WINTER WARZ."

Track listings[edit]

Official remixes[edit]

Alternate pop remixes by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and dance remixes by Jason Nevins were released in addition to urban remixes by Teddy Riley and Jam & Lewis.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


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  3. ^ a b c Flick, Larry (March 7, 1998). Billboard - Google Books. Billboard. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
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  17. ^ "I Get Lonely" - Live at The Velvet Rope Tour on YouTube
  18. ^ "I Get Lonely" - Live at Rock Witchu Tour on YouTube
  19. ^ "I Get Lonely" - Live at Number Ones Tour on YouTube
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  32. ^ Baptized: A Novel - Vincent Tolliver - Google Books. iUniverse. February 28, 2002. p. 154. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  33. ^ "SWAY EXCLUSIVE: Hit-Boy Presents Audio Push – "Shine"". Sway's Universe. July 26, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Audio Push Releases Janet Jackson-Sampled, "Shine" - New Music". ThisGoesIn. July 26, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Alicia Keys, Ke$ha, Ludacris and More Close Out NBA All-Star Weekend 2013 - Billboard". Billboard. February 18, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  36. ^ "News - Luke James Delivers On 'I Want You/I Get So Lonely' Mash Up". Singersroom. May 18, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  37. ^ "ESTA. – "YouAre(TheOne)" - New Music". Soulculture. August 18, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Listen: ESTA x Janet Jackson "You Are The One" - Prefix". Prefix. August 15, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  39. ^ B.Slade Live at WitZend
  40. ^ "Jessi Teich - Soul Singer. Elegant and Edgy. - Press/Reviews". Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Late Night Snack: Boney James - I Get Lonely". March 7, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  42. ^ "iTunes - Music - Smooth Sax Tribute to Janet Jackson by Alexander Ethan Grey". iTunes. August 3, 2004. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  43. ^ Wilsin-Morris, Michelle (June 14, 2009). "MusicDish e-Journal - The 32nd Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival". Music Dish. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  44. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  45. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  46. ^ Janet* - I Get Lonely
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  48. ^ Janet Jackson I Get Lonely USA Promo 5" CD SINGLE (108949)
  49. ^ Jackson Janet CDs, Vinyl Records, CD Singles, Used CD's and Music Albums - Buy at MusicStack
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  51. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  52. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  53. ^ Janet* - I Get Lonely
  54. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely (Teddy Riley Test Pressing Mix) on YouTube
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  65. ^ Janet Jackson - "I Get Lonely" Video (HD) on YouTube