Rock with U
|"Rock with U"|
|Single by Janet Jackson|
|from the album Discipline|
|Released||February 5, 2008 (U.S. - Digital Download)
February 11, 2008 (U.S. Rhythmic radio)
February 26, 2008 (U.S. Top 40/Mainstream radio)
|Janet Jackson singles chronology|
"Rock with U" is a song by American recording artist Janet Jackson, from her tenth studio album, Discipline (2008). It was written by Ne-Yo, Jermaine Dupri, and Eric Stamile, and produced by Stamile and Dupri. The song served as the album's second single, following "Feedback." "Rock With U" is a house and disco song, also featuring elements of eurodisco and dance-pop. Jackson created the song for the gay community, as she felt the necessity to do something "for the kids."
It received positive reviews from music critics, with the majority lauding its retro, but futuristic sound, and commending the song's elements of house music. Due to persistent blacklisting, the single was only able to reach the top-twenty on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. "Rock with U" served as the title for Jackson's Rock Witchu Tour the same year.
Background and writing
"Rock With U" was written by Shaffer Smith, Jermaine Dupri and Eric Stamile, with Dupri producing it, while Stamile co-produced it. In an interview for NewNowNext, Janet explained that the song was created for the gay community, saying, "[...] honestly the song was created for the gay community. I kept stressing to Jermaine [Dupri, the song's co-writer], ‘I got to do something for the kids.’ I had talked about it on the last album – and there was a song that I had, and it wasn’t quite completed. And I talked about it to the papers, gay magazines, and it didn’t wind up on the album with the cut-off date. I felt really badly about that. So he just handed me a CD and said, ‘Here are 10 tracks for the kids; tell me which one you like the best.’ I fell in love with 'Rock With U'."
Music and lyrics
"Rock with U" is a house and disco song, with an electroboogie bass line borrowed from the '80s, with Janet’s vocals seem a bit detached and robotic, being compared to those of Donna Summer in "I Feel Love", according to "MWZA". According to herself, it still reminiscent of "Together Again" or "Throb," from "The Velvet Rope" and "janet.." "It’s still classic me but with a different twist to it – a modern twist," she said.
Building on the original's bed of synthesized chord changes, the producers layer in swirling keyboards, vocoder whispers and the singer's own distended murmurs. The song opens with the line, "Strobe lights make everything sexier," while in the chorus, she sings, "I wanna rock with you." The song talks about an erotic proposition.
Release and commercial performance
"Rock with U" was made available for sale through the U.S. iTunes Store on February 5, 2008 along with a pre-order offer for her tenth studio album, Discipline. The song was serviced to rhythmic crossover radio stations on February 11, 2008 and was released to Top 40 radio stations on February 26, 2008.
In the United Kingdom, "Rock with U" was released on August 18, 2008 as a digital download-only. The single was, unfortunately, another commercial failure for Jackson and her label, due to the low promotion given to the track on radios and TV shows. It nevertheless was a club hit, peaking inside the top ten of the UK Dance Chart, and it was also a hit on the UK R&B Chart, peaking at number four. Jackson performed the song on the Rock Witchu Tour.
"Rock With U" was met with critical acclaim from most music critics, with most praising its style and retro vibe. Picking the song as one of the album's best tracks, Andy Kellman of Allmusic named it "an irresistible, grade-A dancefloor track," calling it "swift and swooning." Bill Lamb of About.com picked the song as one of "Top Tracks on Discipline", calling it "slyly sophisticated" and "an instant classic in Jackson's repertoire." Bryan Borzykowski of NOW Magazine called it a "bouncy house track," while Nick Levine of Digital Spy called it "cosmic, sleek, catchy and bracingly modern," writing that "it wouldn't disgrace itself as a Kylie [Minogue] single." Mitch Michaels of 411 Mania called it a "blazing dance floor punch." Dan Gennoe of Yahoo! Music was extremely positive, writing that the song "marries her sweet and stomping side for an '80s floor-filler that's both genuinely exciting and sounds 100 per cent like Janet Jackson."
Ann Powers of Los Angeles Times enjoyed the track, calling it "the gentlest time travel ever accomplished." Powers also wrote, "Playing on memory and melancholia, Janet's 'Rock With U' is nowhere as great as the original, but as a bit of intimate meta-pop it's utterly poignant. Jackson has long been the bearer of her brother's secrets, and on this song she shows that she can still crave something other than sexual fulfillment. Something like innocence." Michael Arceneaux of PopMatters praised the track, calling it "a sensual gem" and "almost euphoric," effectively complimenting Jackson's "whispery delivery." Arceneaux added, "It’s a digitized form of pop music Janet should look into for future recordings."
The music video, directed by Saam Farahmand and choreographed by Gil Duldulao, premiered on Access Granted on March 5, 2008. The long take video features Jackson having a party inside a club with red and white rays of light entering the room. Throughout the video, Jackson and a group of dancers perform complex dance routines, leading to a kiss by a mystery man in the connecting hallway. BET J placed it at number seven on their year-end top fifty countdown. Entertainer Mimi Marks has a guest appearance in the video.
- U.S. promo CD single (ISLR-16873-2)
- "Rock with U" (Radio Edit) – 3:57
- "Rock with U" (Instrumental) – 3:51
- Album Version – 3:51
- Instrumental – 3:51
- Radio Edit – 3:57
- Acapella – 3:48
- Future Presidents Remix – 3:33
- Sound Pusher Mix – 6:17
- Sound Pusher Radio Mix – 3:35
|U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles||21|
|U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles||14|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||20|
|UK R&B Charts||4|
- "Rock with U - Single". iTunes Store. Retrieved on February 5, 2008.
- "Janet Jackson: Discipline". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- P., Princess (January 23, 2008). "Janet Jackson “Discipline” Album Review". MWZA. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- Kellman, Andy. "Discipline – Janet Jackson". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- "Janet Jackson Exclusive Interview With NewNowNext!". NewNowNext. February 18, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- "Janet Jackson: Discipline". PopMatters. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- Powers, Ann (2008-02-25). "Still nasty after all these years - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- "Janet Jackson - Discipline - Album Review - Plugged In". Plugged In. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "2/26 Mainstream". FMBQ.com. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
- Lamb, Bill. "Janet Jackson - Discipline". About.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "NOW Magazine // Music // JANET JACKSON". NOW. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- "Janet Jackson: 'Discipline'". Digital Spy. 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- "411 Mania: Janet Jackson: 'Discipline' Review". 411 Mania. 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Janet Jackson Discipline Album Review, New album reviews and latest album releases on Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music UK. May 2012. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- "Booked: Janet Jackson - Saam, Director". VideoStatic.com. Retrieved on February 8, 2008.
- "Watch The World Premiere Of "Rock With U"". JanetJackson.com. Retrieved on March 8, 2007.
- "Pop Making Sense History". Windy City Times. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- "Rock with U – U.S. Promo 5" CD Single (429754)". Eil.com. Retrieved on March 29, 2008.
- Billboard Music Charts Billboard.com. Retrieved on May 3, 2008
- Billboard Music Charts Billboard.com. Retrieved on May 3, 2008
- Billboard Music Charts Billboard.com. Retrieved on May 22, 2008