Nothing (Janet Jackson song)

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"Nothing"
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Why Did I Get Married Too? (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Released March 23, 2010 (2010-03-23)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010
Genre R&B, pop, adult contemporary
Length

3:25 (Edit)

4:09 (Soundtrack)
Label A&M, So So Def
Writer(s) Janet Jackson, Johntá Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox, Jermaine Dupri[1]
Producer(s) Janet Jackson, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox (co.)
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Make Me"
(2009)
"Nothing"
(2010)

"Nothing" is a song by American singer-songwriter Janet Jackson. It was released on March 23, 2010 by A&M Records and So So Def Recordings as the soundtrack single of the film Why Did I Get Married Too?, which starred Jackson. The song was later included on Jackson's compilation album Icon: Number Ones. It was written and produced by Jackson, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jermaine Dupri, with help by Johntá Austin in the writing. Initially titled "Trust in Me", the song was written about the different character's personas and emotions in the film.

"Nothing" received mostly positive reviews from music critics, who praised it as "classic pop", and noted it was possibly influenced by her brother Michael Jackson's death. It was not officially released to radio formats for airplay, although the song managed to achieve heavy rotation on adult contemporary and jazz formats despite this. The song was also cited as one of the first motion picture songs of 2010 to be strongly considered for an Oscar nomination for "Best Original Song". A music video for the song was directed by Tim Palen and premiered in April 2010. Jackson performed "Nothing" on ninth season finale of American Idol and on the Essence Music Festival, which Jackson headlined.

Background[edit]

"Nothing" is about the characters in the movie; I tried to write at least one verse for each couple. I think the fans can relate because, if you look at the characters, there is something in one - or, as in my case, many of them, that you can relate to. For me, [my character] Patricia always held things in; she helped other people with their problems while ignoring hers. In that way, music and movies are very similar; you relate to the story when you experience them, and that is what makes it powerful." [2]

Janet Jackson on the concept of "Nothing"

"Nothing" was composed by Janet, Johntá Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jermaine Dupri and produced by Janet, Cox, and Dupri. Originally scheduled for release on March 30, 2010, the date was advanced to March 23 due to an early leak and popular demand. "Nothing" served as the theme for Why Did I Get Married Too?, which starred Jackson and grossed over $60 million worldwide. The song's instrumental can briefly be heard throughout the film before the full version is played during the credits. "Nothing" is the third song Janet has composed and performed for a film, following the number-one hits "Again", which appeared in Poetic Justice, and "Doesn't Really Matter", which was used in Jackson's film Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

The song was released as a stand-alone single in addition to appearing on the Why Did I Get Married Too? soundtrack, and was later included on Jackson's Icon: Number Ones compilation (also known as "Best of Number Ones"), released by Universal Music Group as part of the "Icon" series.[3] The soundtrack and Icon version is 4:09 in length, while the promotional version is a shortened edit. "Nothing" was strongly considered for a nomination for "Best Original Song" at the 83rd Academy Awards and was one of the first motion picture songs of the year to be in the running for an Oscar nomination.[4][5]

Jackson revealed the song's title on her official Twitter account.[6] The song was first played in its entirety at the end of a private advance screening of Why Did I Get Married Too?, which was attended exclusively by the audience of The Oprah Winfrey Show, before it was officially premiered on Atlanta's V103 radio station.[7] Janet's official site announced "Janet composed “Nothing” as an emotional ballad that reflects and supports the powerful themes of the film. The soft melodious track evokes the emotional turmoil the Why Did I Get Married Too? characters experience throughout the film."[8] Initially titled "Trust in Me", Janet spoke about the song's meaning and described it as being written about the different character's personas and emotions in the film. Speaking to The LA Times, Jackson said "Even though it sounds like a sad song, it's hopeful. When you really listen to it, it's really hopeful.[9] When asked why she felt the song resonated with so many fans, Janet replied that she felt the song helped people relate to the characters in the movie.[2]

Music supervisor Joel C. High, who recruited artists to appear on the film's soundtrack, commented on Janet's contribution with "Nothing", saying "In the case of "Married Too?", we were lucky to have Janet involved, especially at a time where she was going through a lot. We were basically finished with the picture when she told Tyler she wanted to write something. It's a strong love song that plays three times in the movie and is our big end title finish."[10] Jackson's then-boyfriend Jermaine Dupri also spoke about the song, revealing it was written and recorded in a matter of days in order to make the film's deadline. "We had to do this record in like three days to get it into this movie – it was a last minute thing that her and Tyler [Perry] talked about." Dupri also added "You haven't heard Janet sound like this in a long time and I think the song is perfect for the movie. It's a really good record."[11][12]

To further promote the song and film, Janet held a contest on her official website titled "Janet's Everything for Nothing Experience" which allowed the winner to receive a personally autographed copy of her Number Ones compilation, with the grand-prize winner receiving an autographed Why Did I Get Married Too? poster.[13] Expressing gratitude to her fans, Jackson tweeted "Thank u for all the love on 'Nothing.' I hope u will enjoy Why Did I Get Married Too this week!"[14]

Critical reception[edit]

"Janet Jackson, by virtue of coming from the same DNA pool as Michael, and by virtue of having grown up singing with him, likely finds it very natural to sing in a manner that sounds very similar to that of her late brother’s effeminate voice. And frankly, she’s one of the few people in the world who has a right to sound that much like Michael. She’s at this point the de facto representative of the Jackson clan, and the closest thing we have remaining in terms of his legacy." "And it’ll also reveal the fact that, upon close inspection, “Nothing” is actually a great song."

Beatweek Magazine on Janet's vocals sounding similar to Michael Jackson's in "Nothing"[15]

MTV qualified "Nothing" as having "waves of heartfelt emotion" and "mournful beauty".[16] Rolling Stone described the track as "classic pop," adding that the lyrics reflect the tensions and turmoil between characters - like Angela's trust issues with Marcus ("You can even have the password to my phone"), as well as her own character Patricia's guilt and regret over Gavin ("We should cherish every moment like it's the last")." AOL Music's The Boombox called the song "an uplifting ballad", adding "Jackson sings about the ups and downs that occur when two people are in love. The overall message is that when it comes to love, nothing can stand in the way of making things right." "Jackson — who is still coping with the loss of her brother Michael — drew inspiration from her grief for her theatrical performance. ‘Nothing’ also reflects the deep pain Jackson has felt over the past few months — transferring her sorrow beautifully into a moving and deeply heartfelt ballad."[17][18]

Idolator commented "After Iyaz incorporated Janet Jackson’s “Again” into his new single “Solo,” that got us in the mood for a good old fashioned ballad from Miss Jackson. Thankfully this is one of the months where the ever-present Tyler Perry tosses a new movie out, and his latest, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?, not only stars Janet, but features her new slow jam single, “Nothing.” "The song itself reminds us that, despite all the overproduction and sexed-up whispering on her last few singles, Janet can actually still deliver solid vocals—something that was hardly apparent on “We Are The World 25".[19] Entertainment Weekly described the song as an "airy ballad, on which she cries out for more communication in a troubled relationship."[20] Deborah Vankin of The Los Angeles Times also gave "Nothing" a positive review, calling it "a touching, melodic ballad about truth, trust and relationships", adding that the song "is generating almost as much Oscar buzz as it feels riddled with grief. Jackson learned of her brother Michael's death while filming the movie in Atlanta, before she had recorded the song." "Even though Jackson says "Nothing" is not about her brother, whom she won't talk about much these days, the song's melancholy and emotional grit leads one to wonder. It's no stretch to think that Jackson, who's known for having a particularly strong work ethic and occasionally losing herself in creative projects during turbulent times, was channeling the fallout of her personal tragedy into her music." [9]

Music video[edit]

Jackson shot the music video for "Nothing" on March 24, 2010, with it being premiered the following week on AOL Music.[21] The video was directed by Tim Palen, photographer and co-President of Theatrical Marketing at Lions Gate Entertainment, the company that released Why Did I Get Married Too?. Internationally, the video was released to music channels on July 19. Behind the scenes footage of the filming of the video was released on Jackson's official website and on Durpi's "Living the Life" YouTube documentary series. In the clip Janet shared the video's visual concept, saying "I'm going to appear in each sheet of glass, like three sheets of glass, and in one of the sheets of glass I come to life and walk out of the frames. You'll see me singing on the different sheets." "It's green screen now, but when you see it you'll see the glass sheets, the sheets of glass - the walls of glass with different images on them as I walk between them in the end."[22][23] Another behind the scenes segment of the filming was also shown on TV Guide Network's Hollywood 411.[24] The "Nothing" music video was included in the 'Special Features' segment of the Why Did I Get Married Too? Blu-Ray and DVD.

Video reception[edit]

AOL Music's The Boombox commented "the superstar’s newest video for ‘Nothing’ encompasses the message of the song, with a stark blackness acting as a backdrop to Jackson‘s emotional release." "Directed by Tim Palen, the video features several shots of Jackson in mirror-like projections accompanied by powerful and passionate clips from the film."[17] Idolator called the video "heavy on the singing, light on the Nasty", noting the stripped down approach of the clip was "hardly a tour de force".[19]

Live performances[edit]

Jackson made a surprise appearance on the ninth season finale of American Idol to perform a medley of "Nothing" and "Nasty" after joining the contestants to perform a rendition of her hit ballad "Again". She wore a black suit with red-lined sleeves.[25] The episode became the series' highest-rated episode of the season. Jackson's American Idol performance became the top selling music video on the iTunes charts several times, which prompted her to release a thank-you video to her fans for their support, saying "I just want to thank all of you for making my performance on American Idol number one on iTunes. That is so cool, it's really special so thank you to all of you for making it happen. I couldn't of done it without you."[26]

MTV raved about the performance of "Nothing", saying that the singer provided the audience with waves of heartfelt emotion as she sang the song.[27] Zap2it stated that the performance of "Nothing" was moving.[28] The Daily Mail gave Janet's appearance a positive reception, also focusing on her toned figure, reporting "The show was all about finding the next big American Idol. But...it was a veteran of the music scene who stole the show as she joined the 12 finalists onstage to perform her single Again, followed by her song "Nothing". [...] Janet seemed on top of her game, with her newly sleek shaved haircut reflecting her polished performance.[25] Neon Limelight also gave the performance acclaim, saying Jackson "brought the crowd to its feet", and adding "it might have seemed slightly odd looking at Janet perform "Nothing" with a mic in hand and a headset microphone. It became clear that the headset would be put to good use when Miss Jackson finished her ballad and the yell of “gimme a beat” signaled the transition into an uptempo number.[29]

The song was also performed at the sold-out Essence Music Festival, which Jackson headlined, with the performance from the event broadcast on TV One along with "Rhythm Nation".[30] "Nothing" was later included on the setlist of Jackson's Number Ones, Up Close and Personal tour in 2011. The song was performed after a video interlude displaying scenes from Jackson's various acting roles, including Poetic Justice, Why Did I Get Married Too?, and Good Times, and was preceded by "Come Back to Me", "Let's Wait Awhile", and "Again". MuuMuse commented on the tour's performance, saying "Perched on top of a stool, Jackson delivered a 1-2-3 punch of some of her biggest ballads–including “Again,” “Let's Wait Awhile,” and her latest offering, “Nothing”–as the crowd lovingly swayed and sang along."[31]

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

"Nothing" was not officially released for airplay, although it became a Top 15 hit on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart and managed to reach number 58 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart despite this, also receiving moderate airplay on jazz and adult contemporary formats.[35]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Hot Adult R&B Airplay[36] 15
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[37] 58

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nothing (From "Why Did I Get Married Too?") – Single by Janet Jackson". iTunes Store US. Apple. Retrieved June 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Alive Magazine, April 2010, page 56
  3. ^ "JANET - Janet Jackson - Number Ones - Icon". Janetjackson.com. August 25, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ "A&M/UMe Gathers Eleven Number One Hits of Superstar Janet Jackson Plus Her Recent iTunes Chart Topper, 'Nothing'". PR News Wire. August 25, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Randy Newman, Janet Jackson, John Legend, Chris Martin in Oscar Song Race - TheWrap". The Wrap. December 15, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Twitter / JanetJackson: The song is called 'Nothing.'". Twitter. February 11, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "'Nothing' played tonight at screening of 'Married Too' in Chicago". JanetXone. March 3, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ "JANET - Janet releases 'Nothing' from Why Did I Get Married Too?". Janetjackson.com. April 1, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Janet Jackson makes something out of 'Nothing' - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. December 7, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  10. ^ 6 Questions with Joel C. High. Billboard. April 3, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Jermaine Dupri Says New Janet Jackson Song Is 'A Good Record' - Music, Celebrity, Artist News - MTV.com". MTV. February 18, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Jermaine Dupri and Janet Jackson Reunite For "Why Did I Get Married Too"". HipHopWired. March 15, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ "JANET - Contest". Janetjackson.com. July 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Twitter / JanetJackson: Thank u for all the love on ...". Twitter. March 30, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Janet Jackson shows she’s the only one allowed to sound like Michael Jackson". Beatweek Magazine. May 27, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Janet Jackson Sings 'Nothing,' Gets 'Nasty' On 'American Idol' - Music, Celebrity, Artist News - MTV.com". MTV. May 30, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Janet Jackson, ‘Nothing’ — Video Premiere". AOL Music. April 2, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Janet Jackson, ‘Nothing (Behind the Scenes)’ — Video Exclusive". AOL Music. March 26, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Janet Jackson "Nothing" Video: Heavy On The Singing, Light On The Nasty - Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on Idolator.com". Idolator. April 2, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Janet Jackson's new video for 'Nothing': Watch here - The Music Mix - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. April 2, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Twitter / JanetJackson: Today I'm working on the video ...". Twitter. March 24, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  22. ^ Living the Life (On the Set of the Janet video)]
  23. ^ "JANET - Videos". Janetjackson.com. March 24, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Behind the Scenes of Janet Jackson's New Music Video - Today's News: Our Take - TVGuide.com". TV Guide. April 7, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Janet Jackson wows American Idol final in clinging jumpsuit as she shows off her new slimline figure - Mail Online". Daily Mail. May 28, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  26. ^ A Thank You From Janet Jackson - YouTube]
  27. ^ "Janet Jackson Sings 'Nothing,' Gets 'Nasty' On 'American Idol' - Music, Celebrity, Artist News - MTV.com". MTV. May 28, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  28. ^ "American Idol' season finale: Janet Jackson goes from 'Nothing' to 'Nasty' - Zap2it". Zap2it. May 27, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Video: Janet Jackson Performs "Nothing" And "Nasty" On American Idol Finale - Neon Limelight". Neon Limelight. May 27, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  30. ^ "TV One To Broadcast Essence Music Festival 2010 - News One". News One. August 21, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Janet Jackson: The Number Ones Up Close And Personal Tour Live At Mohegan Sun on March 16 (Concert Review)". MuuMuse. March 18, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  32. ^ iTunes - Music - Nothing (From "Why Did I Get Married Too?") - Single
  33. ^ Janet Jackson - Nothing (CD) at Discogs
  34. ^ Amazon.com: Why Did I Get Married Too: Music
  35. ^ Essence Magazine, August 2010, page 109
  36. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/304191/janet+jackson/chart?f=364
  37. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/304191/janet+jackson/chart?f=367

External links[edit]