Just a Little While

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"Just a Little While"
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Damita Jo
B-side "Speed it Up (Put it On Me)"
Released February 2, 2004 (2004-02-02)
Format
Recorded 2003[1]
Genre
Length 4:13
Label Virgin
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Dallas Austin
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Megamix 04"
(2003)
"Just a Little While"
(2004)
"I Want You"
(2004)

"Just a Little While" is a song by American recording artist Janet Jackson, released as the lead single from her eighth studio album, Damita Jo (2004). Written by Jackson and Dallas Austin, the song fuses pop with elements of rock, dance, and funk. Austin described the song among her best work, in addition to a reflection of Jackson's new-found happiness. The song leaked ahead of its scheduled release and was sent to radio following Jackson's controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show performance incident on February 2, 2004, as the lead single from Damita Jo.

The song's premature debut caused Jackson to rush with a music video and promotion. It initially achieved high audience impressions, becoming "the most-played track on radio" and garnering "sizeable" digital downloads. Following her controversial Super Bowl incident, Jackson's singles and music videos were blacklisted on many radio formats and music channels worldwide, affecting the song's performance. Media conglomerates such as Viacom and CBS, and subsidiaries including MTV and Clear Channel Communications, had enforced the boycott upon being heavily fined and censored by the FCC. The song quickly reached the top twenty in airplay before prevented from further rotation within its first two weeks of release.

"Just a Little While" received favorable reception from critics, who felt its elements of rock and dance pop would ensure success. It peaked atop the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and achieved success internationally, reaching number two in Belgium and the top ten of Australia and Europe. It peaked at number one in Japan for five weeks, and was the year's second biggest hit on Japan's international airplay chart.[2] An international version known as the "UK Radio Edit" uses an alternate instrumental. A newly recorded remix titled "Love Me", produced by Just Blaze, was initially planned for select radio formats prior to the airplay blockage.

Due to the controversy surrounding Jackson, its music video was released exclusively in international territories. The video, directed by Dave Meyers, portrays Jackson filming a DVD for her boyfriend in a futuristic apartment setting, displaying her multiple personae. The clip notably takes the inventive approach of the lead star filming themselves for a large portion of the video. An alternate live video filmed in London was included on Jackson's From janet. to Damita Jo compilation. Jackson performed the song on television shows including Top of the Pops, Hey! Hey! Hey!, and Festivalbar. Critics have observed "Just a Little While" to influence Jennifer Lopez, Crystal Kay, and Kelela.

Background and release[edit]

Prior to recording, Jackson experienced massive success with All for You. Its lead single peaked at number one for seven weeks, becoming the biggest hit of the year, and attained success internationally. Jackson's All for You Tour also garnered over twelve million viewers upon its broadcast on HBO.[3] Jackson's personal life became a subject of media attention; in particular her romances with actor Matthew McConaughey, recording artist Justin Timberlake, and producer Jermaine Dupri.[4][5] She considered pursuing other career plans, but ultimately decided to record a new album.[6] Jackson recorded the song with producer Dallas Austin, describing it as a "happy, up, fun song."[7] She had initially planned to revamp the album with Austin, also recording "Sexhibition" and unreleased songs such as "If You Want Me To" and "Let it Go."[8][9][10] Austin declared Jackson "the easiest artist I've worked with", adding, "Guys won't know what to do with themselves after this. It's one of the best records she's made."[1][8] Austin also stated:

The song was first revealed by Peter Rauhofer, who stated "Love Me for a Little While", its original title, would be premiered in February.[11] However, it leaked ahead of schedule in January, disrupting plans for its release and promotion. Jackson commented, "it really does affect artists and hurts the initial launch of a project. Its like there's a monkey wrench in your whole game plan."[12] The leak prompted Virgin Records to digitally deliver the song to radio outlets, announcing its release for the morning after Jackson's Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show performance.[13] Upon its release, it quickly became the most added and played song on pop radio formats, increasing nearly five-hundred percent in airplay and garnering "sizeable" digital downloads.[14][15][16] Despite positive reception, its performance was affected by Jackson's Super Bowl performance incident, causing many radio formats and music channels owned by Viacom and CBS, including Clear Channel Communications and MTV, to blacklist Jackson's singles and videos worldwide after being heavily fined by the FCC.[17] As a result, "Just a Little While" was quickly removed from airplay and its video was released in select territories internationally.

Composition[edit]

Jackson longs for an intimacy with her significant other in the rock-influenced single.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Just a Little While" marked Jackson's return to the pop rock genre, also boasting elements of alternative, dance-pop, funk, and new wave. It was written by Jackson and Dallas Austin, and produced by Austin. It features former Danger Danger guitarist Tony Reyes. Jackson stated, "it's a very poppy song with a lot of guitar. It's a happy, up, fun song."[7] It opens with funk guitars before it transitions into uptempo pop rock.[16] Jackson blends carnal desires with innocence, longing to be intimate with her partner again: "Can't stop thinking about the things we do / And how it feels making love to you / You know I'll take it anywhere / That you wanna go right now / Just love me for a little while."[16][18] As described by The Scotsman, the song is regarded as "a pop single that buries its dirty intentions under a catchy melody."[16]

In addition to the original, an international version known as the "UK Radio Edit" uses an alternate instrumental, replacing guitars with synthesizers, drums, and electronic beats.[19] A newly recorded urban remix with an alternate instrumental, vocals, and revised lyrics was produced by Just Blaze and titled "Love Me".[20] It was initially intended to be issued as an alternate version to select radio formats prior to the original being removed from airplay, following the blacklist of Jackson's singles. The remix was later included on a promotional Japanese vinyl along with "Speed it Up (Put It on Me)", a Damita Jo outtake produced by Rich Harrison used during auditions for the album's promotional tour.[21]

Critical reception[edit]

"I'm so happy people have been as receptive to it as they have but man, it's [the leak's] given me knots in my shoulders! It got leaked and we tried to stop it because we weren't prepared to release it — it was always supposed to be the first single but we weren't prepared to release it, and so it's kind of like playing catch up now with it all, trying to hurry up and get the video done... By the time we stopped to adhere we found out Europe already had it, so we said 'okay, this thing is kind of bigger than us so we have to kind of give in to it.'"[7]

—Jackson on the reception and leak of "Just a Little While"

"Just a Little While" received positive reviews from critics, who praised its contrast from Jackson's general style.[18][22][23] It was predicted to be "another immediate radio hit" by numerous publications prior to blacklisting.[24] Billboard commended the "festive, guitar-based" song, saying, "Janet Jackson knows how to make a great single." It was described as "a mid-tempo number marked by a prominent electric guitar melody"; showcasing Jackson's "signature fashion" of crafting lyrics which appeared "innocent on the surface yet naughty upon closer inspection." Its "swirling musicality" was thought to "garner it multiformat success", adding, "there isn't any reason why "Just a Little While" won't be a smash."[24] Rolling Stone considered it "push-button rock & roll", while The Record declared the song to be "in the top ten the world over."[25][26] Eric R. Danton of The Courant said the track "features a discernible melody, a catchy vocal hook, a prominent, up-tempo guitar riff that helps the tune stand out from the dross."[27]

Rich Juzwiak of The Village Voice declared it "her virgin/whore-iest moment yet", in addition to Jackson's "most self-sufficient" single. Juzwiak wrote, "Forget about ripping off clothes—Janet Jackson just wants a zipless fuck," adding "like a moth to a flame is Janet's hand to her strawberry (her words!). She's so eager to please that even if the quickie she solicits in the chorus doesn't go down, she'll "touch it on [her] favorite fruit" anyway." Its subject matter was compared to "All for You", noting its "Pepsi-commercial bubbliness" tempered with "hyper-sexed ambrosia, with robotic guitars and synths." The song's "squeaky or clean" vocals and ascending pre-chorus were also praised, concluding, "Atta girl Janet, jack the pain away."[28] Elsewhere, it was called Jackson's "best single in five years", having potential to erase "the absurd histrionics about Ms Jackson's mammary lapse." Regarded as a "skipping, giddy, gorgeous little minx of a song", it was said to be highlighted by "a smart guitar riff and a candyfloss melody."[29] Music Stack declared it "funky dance pop" with a "sexy, classic" vibe, applauding its
"stripped-down guitar sound."[30]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine called it "a good dance tune", while BBC UK compared it to the "quintessential Janet" of "Whoops Now".[31][32] The Scotsman said it "trumped" other songs on Damita Jo, adding, "Already a sizeable download hit, it is likely to hang around the charts and our heads for a while."[16] The Hot Press predicted the "rock-oriented" single to "hit the number one spot within days of its release."[33] Spence D. of IGN called it "a most bizarre flip", praising Jackson for "unleashing an upbeat, rock infused number" of the "alternapop" genre. It was also commended for its "raking guitar chords that propel the song along."[23] The New York Times qualified it as "a playful new-wave song".[34] Entertainment Weekly exclaimed its "skittish, pared-down guitar opening" to be "fresh and surprising", evoking a vibe "sexier than her Matrix Super Bowl Revolutions outfit."[35] Tom Moon described it to contain "that primal quality that gets people moving before they can even process the message."[36] Additionally, its "fun, loose production" was also praised, concluding, "What are you waiting for? Get out, buy it and
dance around your bedroom to it."[29]

Richard Cromelin qualified the song as "brisk and infectious", while Jam! Canoe regarded it as "a slice of crunchy guitar rock", with hit potential maximized by Jackson's "blush-inducing lyrics".[37][38] Plugged In Online deciphered its lyrics to "invoke masturbation", commenting its "bouncy rhythms, playful vocals and slick production values will draw countless teens into her tacky web of nymphomania."[39] Talk Talk UK called it a "breezy pop masterpiece", likened to the "retro feel" of Outkast's "Hey Ya" with "classic Janet brilliance".[40] Michael Paoletta of Billboard declared it "sounded like nothing else" on the album, suggested as a reference point for her next release.[41][42] Adversely, Slant called it "a rare misfire" for the "usually reliable" Jackson and Dallas Austin. Music News called it "teeny-pop trash" and "non-descript", while Idolator added, "'Black Cat' shows she can rock, but this shows that she can't rock sweetly."[43][44] Its position as the album's closing track received attention. Lisa Verrico of The Times questioned the "odd" placement, considering "Jackson’s nipple caused such a fuss, it was thought too risqué to release a sex song," deciding the decision "missed the point".[45] The Ottawa Sun wrote, "the album's most interesting, and energetic moment, is saved for the final track, Just a Little While, where there's some actual electric guitar near the front of the mix."[46]

Commercial performance[edit]

Upon its official release, "Just a Little While" quickly became the most added and played song on pop radio formats.[16][47] Its airplay increased over five-hundred percent and achieved "sizeable" downloads,[14][15] but suffered when Jackson's blacklist was commenced by major radio broadcasters who were fined after Jackson's Super Bowl incident, affecting its performance worldwide.[17] The song debuted at number thirteen on the Billboard Bubbling Under chart the week of February 14, entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number forty-seven the following week, later peaking at number forty-five. It reached number seventeen on the pop airplay chart, garnering a high audience impression of over 28 million during its first week at radio before removed, also charting on the Adult Top 40 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[15][48][49] It was her lowest peaking single since "Come Give Your Love to Me" over twenty years prior.[50] However, it peaked atop the Hot Dance Club Play chart
for several weeks.

Despite blacklisting, the single performed exceptionally outside the United States. It notably held the top position for five weeks on Japan's Tokio Hot 100 and was the second biggest hit of the year on Japan's Oricon International Singles Chart.[2] It also reached number two in Belgium, three in Canada, six in Spain, and seven in Australia; peaking at number ten in Hungary, fifteen in the United Kingdom, and within the top twenty of Denmark, and Italy. However, its chart performance in the United Kingdom was also hindered due to its physical single being released on the same day as the Damita Jo album.

Blacklist controversy[edit]

"Just a Little While" had initially surpassed singles from Britney Spears and Usher in airplay.[51]

Despite garnering positive reception and being predicted as "another immediate radio hit", the song's chart performance was massively affected by Jackson's controversial Super Bowl performance incident. Following the incident, numerous radio formats and music channels owned by Viacom and CBS, including subsidiaries Clear Channel Communications, Infinity Broadcasting, and MTV, had blacklisted Jackson's singles and music videos after being heavily fined and censored by the FCC.[17] A senior executive for Viacom stated they were "absolutely bailing on the record. The pressure is so great, they can't align with anything related to Janet. The high-ups are still pissed at her, and this is a punitive measure."[52] Rolling Stone disclosed:

The blacklist drew considerable attention from critics. Upon the album's release, Glenn Gamboa of Newsweek stated, "despite some initial backing for 'Just a Little While', radio and TV support for her music has withered, as the conglomerates worry about angering the FCC and Congress," in fear of receiving fines for supporting Jackson.[53] Billboard exclaimed the "electronic guitar studded" song to be among "the album's biggest highlights", noting "the three singles it spawned were blacklisted by pop radio".[54] Allan Raible of ABC News reflected, "had the Super Bowl incident not happened, I have a feeling the rock-edged
'Just a Little While' and the Kanye West assisted 'Strawberry Bounce' would have been enough to make the album more of a success."[55] Doug Rule of Metro Weekly commented, "the best tracks on Damita Jo are likely to be barred from commercial airtime," adding, "in the case of first single 'Just A Little While', never really get past go" as a result.[56]

Prior to blacklisting, the song had an exceptional performance which likely predicted its success had the blockage not occurred. On its debut, many radio stations such as New York's Z100 played it "every two hours" due to popular demand.[57] Rhythmic station KSXY received frequent requests, commenting, "Super Bowl exposure aside, this is a great song."[58] Within two weeks it had the most increased pop airplay, surpassing upcoming hits such as Britney Spears' "Toxic" and Usher's "Yeah",[51] and was also among the highest increases on Rhythmic and Hot Adult Contemporary.[59]

Music video[edit]

Jackson filming a DVD in the music video.

The music video for "Just a Little While" was directed by Dave Meyers and filmed in Los Angeles, California. In the video, Jackson films a DVD for her fiancé in a futuristic apartment setting, using five various outfits and six different sets. The video is notable for taking the innovative approach of the lead star filming themselves for a large portion of the video. Entertainment show Extra! revealed clips before a live version was premiered on Yahoo! Music's Launch. Upon its debut, The Record declared, "it’s already got the fans excited with its sexy video."[25] Dazed Digital later observed its plot to be influential among subsequent artists attempting a similar theme with webcams and modern recording devices.[60]

Viacom-owned networks such as MTV, considered essential for promotion at the time, refused to air the video or Jackson's later videos from her following two albums after being fined and censored by the FCC, in the aftermath of Jackson's controversial Super Bowl performance incident. Virgin Records' marketing director stated MTV's lack of support to be a "major catalyst" in the performance of Jackson's singles.[61] Due to the boycott, the song's promotion in the United States was ceased before the video was released, limiting its exposure to international markets. It had initially been scheduled to premiere on VH1 and BET the week of March 8, 2004. It was only aired by the MTV network in Asia, where it reached number one on MTV Asia's Hitlist countdown. The video was commercially released on the song's enhanced single and EMI's DVD Sampler: Vol. 4. A live version filmed on London's Channel 4 was included on the compilation From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos.

Synopsis[edit]

The video opens with Jackson's boyfriend receiving a package addressed to a hotel in Tokyo, Japan, containing a DVD and note reading Love, Janet: As the DVD begins, Jackson is revealed laying in bed as she films herself. She is then seen wearing a black and red leather outfit, in addition to several red chokers. Jackson is shown in an alternate room wearing sunglasses and eating strawberries, referencing the song's lyrics. The camcorder faces the window, revealing a futuristic setting and hovering unidentified air crafts. Jackson begins to dance in her bedroom, and is briefly seen listening to a First Generation iPod. Various camcorder messages such as "error" and "end of tape" flash across the screen momentarily. Jackson's boyfriend plays a second DVD, showing her adorned in a red outfit and long ponytail while near a water fountain. Jackson depicts the song's lyrics and operates various functions on the camcorder such as "zoom." The following scene portrays Jackson in the apartment's main living quarters while drinking wine. Jackson's full midriff and naval piercing can now be seen, as air crafts are shown in the background. Jackson's three friends arrive, who proceed to film each other in various cut scenes. She is then seen laying near a fireplace as her friends are passed out on the floor. A final setting of a blonde Jackson is shown in a kitchen; unveiled in a white outfit while preparing a meal for her fiancé. Jackson's fiancé enters and surprises her with a present, revealed to be a grey kitten. Jackson shows her gift to the camcorder as various scenes are shown. The video ends with Jackson blowing a kiss as a final "end of tape" message flashes.

Live performances[edit]

Jackson performed "Just a Little While" on television shows internationally. It was performed at Top of the Pops,[62] Channel 4, CD:UK,[63] Italy's Festivalbar,[64] and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.[65] It was also performed on Top of the Pops Saturday, Le Grand Classement, Vivement Dimanche, McChart Show, and Les Années Tubes, in addition to Canada's Much on Demand, Japan's Hey! Hey! Hey!, and MSN.[66] The performance from London's Channel 4 was included on Jackson's From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos compilation in place of the original. It depicts Jackson and several dancers performing among various light fixtures resembling laser beams.[67] The Toronto Sun described Jackson's performance in Canada, saying, "in an orange top, jeans, distressed denim jacket and cap, she blushes, giggles, chews gum and rarely breaks out of a whisper".[68] She was described to be among "hundreds of screaming teens and a line of media photographers" during the event.[68] Jackson initially planned to perform "Just a Little While" during an outdoor concert held at New York City's Battery Park for Good Morning America, but it was omitted from the set list for unknown reasons.[69]

Legacy[edit]

Several critics considered "Just a Little While" a milestone in Jackson's discography. The Courant declared it to showcase a "flash of the ingenuity that makes her such an interesting artist", its "electric guitar blasts" also praised.[27][70] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian considered it "a brilliant, skeletal take on mid-1980s drivetime rock", noting it "swiftly became the most-played track on US radio" upon its initial release. Prior to Jackson's Super Bowl incident, Petridis commented, "Damita Jo, meanwhile, is predicted to outsell its double-platinum predecessor, 2001's All for You."[14]

Critics have cited "Just a Little While" to influence several artists attempting the pop rock genre. Japanese singer Crystal Kay's debut English single "Busy Doing Nothing" was likened to the song for its similar guitar riffs and melody.[71] Jennifer Lopez's "Cherry Pie", appearing on Lopez's fourth album Rebirth, was thought to use similar production, evoking "Janet Jackson defiance" and its feel of "sexy giggles and summer days".[72][73] The concept of its music video has also been cited as innovative, later being applied in videos for Bi Rain and via Skype in Kelela's "Melba's Call".[60]

Official remixes[edit]

Track listings[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  85. ^ Janet Jackson Just A Little While USA Promo 5" CD SINGLE (284011)
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  88. ^ Janet Jackson Just A Little While UK 12" RECORD/MAXI SINGLE (282093)
  89. ^ Janet Jackson - Just A Little While (CD 1)
  90. ^ Janet Jackson - Just A Little While
  91. ^ Janet Jackson Just A Little While Spain Promo 5" CD SINGLE (280666)
  92. ^ Janet Jackson Just A Little While Canada 5" CD SINGLE (283364)
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Never Let Me Down" by Richard "Humpty" Vission
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
May 15, 2004
Succeeded by
"How Did You Know" by Kurtis Mantronik presents Chamonix