Just Dance (song)

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"Just Dance"
The left profile of a blond Stefani G. lying down. She is wearing a dark blue dress with a big, layered collar. Her right hand touches her forehead. Beneath her left eye is a blue-colored lightning-shaped sticker.
Single by Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis
from the album The Fame
Released April 8, 2008 (2008-04-08)
Format
Recorded 2008; Record Plant Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Genre
Length 4:01
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s) RedOne
Lady Gaga singles chronology
  • "Just Dance"
  • (2008)
Colby O'Donis singles chronology
  • "Just Dance"
  • (2008)
  • "Don't Turn Back"
  • (2008)

"Just Dance" is the debut single by American recording artist Lady Gaga. The song was produced by RedOne and co-written by RedOne, Gaga and Akon (who also provides additional vocals), while also featuring labelmate Colby O'Donis. It was released in 2008 as the lead single from Gaga's debut studio album, The Fame. The song was written by Gaga in ten minutes as "a happy record". "Just Dance" also has influences of R&B and lyrically speaks about being intoxicated at a club.

The song has been critically acclaimed, with reviewers complimenting its club anthem-like nature and the synthpop associated with it. The song has also achieved commercial success by topping charts in the United States, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as reaching the top ten in many other countries. In the United States, "Just Dance" was a sleeper hit, spending almost five months on the Billboard Hot 100 before finally reaching the summit of the chart in January 2009, after being released in April 2008. The single is among the best-selling singles of all time, having sold over 10 million copies.

The music video of the song portrayed Lady Gaga appearing in a party where she plays the song, prompting party-goers to start dancing in enjoyment. Gaga compared her experience of shooting the video with being on a Martin Scorsese set. "Just Dance" was performed by Gaga in a number of live appearances including all of her tours The Fame Ball Tour, Monster Ball and The Born this Way Ball Tour. In 2009, the song received a Grammy nomination in the Best Dance Recording category but lost to electronic duo Daft Punk for their song "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Alive 2007)".[2]

Writing and inspiration[edit]

Gaga performing "Just Dance" on the original The Monster Ball Tour.

"Just Dance" is written by Gaga and Akon with co-writing by RedOne, who also produced the track. In an interview with Heat Gaga explained her inspiration for writing the song. She said, "I was very hung-over. I wrote the song in about 10 minutes with [producer] RedOne. And it was my first time being in a Hollywood studio. Very pristine, big huge room with giant speakers."[3] Gaga wrote "Just Dance" during January 2008 and according to her it was "hard work and a lot of people didn't believe in it at first".[4] Later, Gaga reflected on the song by saying,

"That record saved my life. I was in such a dark space in New York. I was so depressed, always in a bar. I got on a plane to LA to do my music and was given one shot to write the song that would change my life and I did. I never went back. I left behind my boyfriend, my apartment. I still haven't been back. My mother went in and cleared it for me."[5]

In an interview with Contactmusic.com Gaga explained that "Just Dance" is a happy record and is supposed to be appreciated by people going through rough times like losing jobs and homes etc.[6] Gaga further explained with Artistdirect that she wanted to write a beautiful record with "Just Dance". Being asked the reason for which "Just Dance" has become popular, Gaga said that she thought, "Everyone is looking for a song that really speaks to the joy in our souls and in our hearts and having a good time. It's just one of those records. It feels really good, and when you listen to it, it makes you feel good inside. It's as simple as that. I don't think it's rocket science when it comes to the heart. I think it's a heart theme song."[7] In March 2010, the song was released as downloadable content for the music-based videogame series Rock Band, alongside "Poker Face", "Monster" and "Bad Romance" as part of "Lady Gaga Pack 01".[8]

Composition[edit]

A 24 second sample of Gaga's "Just Dance" featuring the chorus sung by Gaga in the range of B3 to C backed by a synth marching beat.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Just Dance" is an uptempo dance-pop and synthpop song. The song combines synths of clipped marching beats, soaring electronics and contains mild R&B infused beats.[9] It is written in the key of C minor and has 119 BPM. Gaga's vocal spans from the low note of G3 to the high note of C5.[10] The song begins with a fast tempo following by the synth arrangement and Gaga uttering "RedOne". "Just Dance" has a basic progression of Cm–E–B–Fm.[10] Colby O'Donis sings the interlude in the same range as Gaga[10] followed by an R&B influenced interlude by her,[9] after which the chorus is repeated with O'Donis providing backup vocals and the marching beats. The song ends with an echoing of the word "dance".[10]

Lyrically, "Just Dance" throws a partial tongue-in-cheek perspective with lyrics like "What's going on on the floor? / I love this record, baby but I can't see straight anymore".[11] The lyrics deal with being completely intoxicated at a party.[12] The opening lyric "A RedOne" has often been misinterpreted as "red wine" but in actuality is a reference to producer RedOne.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

The song has received general acclaim. Matthew Chisling of Allmusic described the song as "a powerhouse of dance waves and infectiously produced beats".[14] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian called it a "beguilingly compulsive tale of pulling a drug-induced whitey, with a combination of clipped marching beats, sawing electronics and mild R&B flavor that bears a vague resemblance to Nelly Furtado's "Maneater".[9] Ben Norman of About.com said that the song "opens the album like a valkyrie leading the charge [...] riding triumphant ahead of her army. If you don't know this song, use your browser. I won't waste time explaining what it sounds like." However he also noted that the song is not groundbreaking and compared it to the works of Rihanna, Chris Brown and Pussycat Dolls.[15] Bill Lamb from About.com called the song tame but catchy enough for Gaga to be noticed by mainstream. He also added that "'Just Dance' has strong energy and features Lady GaGa's striking voice, but it ultimately adds up to rather bland dance-pop." Colby O' Donis' smooth vocals were also complimented.[16]

Evan Sawdey of PopMatters.com said that "Just Dance" is an intensely catchy single and is an excellent indicator of what the album was all about.[17] Ben Hogwood of MusicOMH praised the song saying, "You won't get many more catchy party odes than the chart topping Just Dance this year, a polished gem set to lodge in your head for the next few weeks."[18] Freedom lu Lac of The Washington Post described the song to be "filled with mindlessly frothy synth-pop that matches low-grade dance grooves with GaGa's icy, almost disembodied vocals about dancing bliss".[19] Lynn Saxberg from The Ottawa Citizen, while reviewing Gaga's The Fame Ball Tour, called the song a perfect sing-along club anthem.[20] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine wrote that the song resembles the "desperate train wreck you're likely to encounter getting wasted at any dive on the L.E.S. at four in the morning" as is emphasized by the lyrics.[21] Talia Kranes from BBC called the song irresistible and said that "the catchiness of her songs is sure to cement her place in the list of pop idols".[22]

Commercial performance[edit]

Gaga beginning the performance of "Just Dance" on the revamped Monster Ball show with playing on a keyboard.

In the United States, "Just Dance" was a club-hit after its release, peaking at number two on both the Hot Dance Airplay and Hot Dance Club Play charts during the summer of 2008.[23][24] The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at seventy-six on August 16, 2008. It rose to number two on the Hot 100, after selling 419,000 in downloads on January 10, 2009.[25] In the same issue, the song rose to number one on the Pop 100.[26] The next week, the song finally rose to number one on the Hot 100. The single took twenty-two weeks to hit the top spot, which is the longest climb to number one since Creed's "With Arms Wide Open" took twenty-seven weeks before finally reaching number one in November 2000.[27] The song also appeared on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart where it peaked at seventy-two.[28] The song spent 49 weeks on the Hot 100 and on February 17, 2011, the single was certified six times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of six million copies.[29] The single became the second song to reach the six million mark in paid downloads.[30][31][32] In Canada, the song debuted at number ninety-seven on the Canadian Hot 100 for the issue dated June 7, 2008.[33] It reached the peak on August 23, 2008, and was on the top for five consecutive weeks.[34] The song was certified six times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) in June 2009, for sales of 240,000 copies in paid digital downloads.[35] As of December 2013, "Just Dance" has sold 6,891,000 digital downloads in the United States and is the ninth best-selling digital single of all time in the United States.[36][37]

The track debuted at number thirty-four on the ARIA Singles Chart on July 21, 2008,[38] and moved up to seventeen the next week becoming the chart's "greatest gainer".[39] On September 15, 2008, the track reached the top of the chart.[40] It has since been certified three times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 210,000 copies.[41] The song was credited as the longest charting single in ARIA history, spending over eighty-one weeks in the top 100.[42] "Just Dance" debuted on the New Zealand charts at number nineteen,[43] and reached a peak of number three.[44] It has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for shipment of 15,000 copies of the single.[45]

In the United Kingdom, "Just Dance" debuted at number three on January 4, 2009 (for the week ending date January 10, 2009).[46] It rose to number one the next week, and remained at the top for three weeks.[47] In an interview with Daily Mail, Gaga explained her feelings on reaching number-one in the United Kingdom saying, "It's been a long running dream to have a big hit in the UK – my fans there are so sexy and the people are so innovative and free in how they think about pop culture and music. I was in my apartment in Los Angeles getting ready to go to dance rehearsal when they called and told me, and I just cried."[48] In Ireland, the song debuted at number eleven,[49] and after one week it peaked the chart.[50] The song peaked the charts of Netherlands on February 28, 2009.[51] The track also reached the top ten in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the top twenty of Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia) and France.[52] Worldwide the song has sold over 10 million digital copies.[53]

Music video[edit]

Gaga, lying on an inflatable pool during a house party scene of the video for "Just Dance".

Released in May 2008, the video was directed by music video director Melina Matsoukas, and is based on the thematic content of the song of being in a party.[54] The video begins with Gaga arriving with her background dancers at a house party, which seems to have ended. One of the dancers puts a Discolite Boombox on, blaring the music through the house. The crowd at the party appear to be sleeping in different areas, and are awoken by the music.[54] They all start to dance, and scenes of the party are inter cut with scenes of a scantily dressed Lady Gaga dancing in a poncho, with a disco ball or in a small rubber pool playing with an inflated killer whale.[54] She wears a blue, lightning-bolt shaped sticker beneath her right eye like that on the single cover, which was a tribute to her music idol David Bowie.[55] O'Donis appears in the video being flanked by several girls during the "When I come through on the dance floor" interlude.[54] Cameo appearances are made by Akon and Space Cowboy. MTV called the video as an ode to the "Me Decade".[56] During an interview with Australian radio in September 2008, Gaga said that "The whole video is performance art about being drunk at a party."[13] In an interview with About.com, when asked about the shooting experience of the music video, Gaga explained,

"Oh it was so fun, it was amazing. For me it was like being on a Martin Scorsese set. I've been so low budget for so long, and to have this incredibly amazing video was really very humbling. It was really fun, but you'll see if you ever come to a video shoot of mine one day – I'm very private about those things, I don't really talk to everybody. I'm not like the party girl running around. I might even seem to be a bit of a diva. I'm sort of with myself, in my work head space worrying about costumes, and if extras look right, and placement. I don't just show up for things, you know. That video was a vision of mine. It was Melina the director who wanted to do something, to have a performance art aspect that was so pop but it was still commercial, but that felt like lifestyle. It was all those things, I love it."[57]

Live performances[edit]

A group of five people (four men, one woman in the middle) standing. The men are dressed in black jackets and colorful pants. The lady looks towards the camera and is wearing a short blue dress. She is holding a stick in her right hand. The head of the stick is illuminated by a glowing bulb
Gaga taking a bow after performing "Just Dance". She is flanked by her dancers and DJ Space Cowboy (extreme left) on The Fame Ball Tour.

In July, she performed the song for the first time at the swimsuit competition of the Miss Universe 2008 in Vietnam, later Lady Gaga performed the song on many television shows in the United States. She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[58] The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,[59] So You Think You Can Dance[60] and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[61][62] In Australia, she performed on Sunrise, where her performance was condemned for lip-synching. Gaga denied it and released a statement saying "I was sick the day of the show but I absolutely, 100 per cent, was singing live. [...] have never lip-synched and never will. Even on my worst day, I never will."[63] In the United Kingdom, she performed the song on GMTV. She also performed the single during her AOL sessions.[64]

"Just Dance" was added to the setlist of her first headlining The Fame Ball Tour, where it was performed before the Encore. As the performance for the acoustic version of "Poker Face" ended, Gaga exited from the stage and a video interlude called "The Face" starts telling about Gaga's alternate persona Candy Warhol and teaching her to speak.[65] Gaga appeared on the stage wearing a tutu shaped dress with pointed shoulderpads and peplum. Her dancers were clad in Louis Vuitton Steven Sprouse printed trousers which matched Gaga's shoes.[66] The backdrop changed to show blinking disco lights and Gaga stood wearing her video sunglasses, displaying the line "Pop Music Will Never Be Low Brow". A remix of the intro for "Just Dance" started and Gaga started singing the song, while moving around in choreographed dance moves.[67]

The song was also added to the setlist of The Monster Ball Tour, performed as the second song of the list. After the opening song "Dance in the Dark", she strapped on a portable silver jewelled keyboard and started performing "Just Dance" while inside a white cube from which she emerged from the top, and the video screen came up. She was raised on a platform with a keytar over her shoulder as eight dancers in white bodysuits locked into steps below her.[68][69] In May 2011, Gaga performed the song during Radio 1's Big Weekend in Carlisle, Cumbria.[70] She also made her debut performance on Irish TV screens performing Just Dance, on the Irish talk show Tubridy Tonight in January 2009.[71] The song was included on her third concert tour the 2012 Born This Way Ball.

Track listings and formats[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Fame.[78]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Sales/shipments
Australia 3× Platinum 210.000[41]
Belgium Gold 15.000[112]
Canada 6× Platinum 480.000[35]
Denmark 2× Platinum 15.000[113]
Germany Gold 150.000[114]
Japan Gold (PC) 100.000[115]
Gold (cell) 100.000[116]
New Zealand Platinum 15.000[45]
Norway 2× Platinum 10.000[117]
Spain Platinum 20.000[118]
Sweden Platinum 40.000[119]
Switzerland 2× Platinum 60.000[120]
United Kingdom Platinum 900.000[121]
United States 6× Platinum 6.891.000[122]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United States April 8, 2008 (2008-04-08)[123] CD single
Canada June 17, 2008 (2008-06-17)[124]
France June 13, 2008 (2008-06-13)[125] Remixes EP – Digital download
Canada November 25, 2008 (2008-11-25)[126]
United States November 4, 2008 (2008-11-04)[127][128] Remixes Part 2 EP – Digital download
Canada
United Kingdom December 24, 2008 (2008-12-24)[129][130] CD single, 7"
United States January 6, 2009 (2009-01-06)[131] 7"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]