Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)

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"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
Single by Janet Jackson featuring Carly Simon and Missy Elliott
from the album All for You
Released December 11, 2001 (2001-12-11)
Format CD single, 12" single
Recorded 2000–01;
Flyte Tyme Studios
(Edina, Minnesota)
Record One
(Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California)
Genre R&B, hip hop
Length 5:56 (Album version)
4:14 (Remix featuring Missy Elliott)
Label Virgin
Writer(s) Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Carly Simon
Producer(s) Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Janet Jackson chronology
"Someone to Call My Lover"
(2001)
"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
(2001)
"Feel It Boy"
(2002)
Carly Simon chronology
"Love of My Life"
(1992)
"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
(2001)
"Let It Snow"
(2005)
Missy Elliott chronology
"Take Away"
(2001)
"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
(2001)
"4 My People"
(2002)
P. Diddy chronology
"Diddy"
(2001)
"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
(2001)
"Pass the Courvoisier Part II"
(2002)

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" is a song by American singer-songwriter Janet Jackson featuring Carly Simon from Jackson's seventh studio album, All for You (2001). It was written and produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with additional lyrics by Simon. It is built around a sample of 1972's "You're So Vain" by Simon, who also added some new spoken parts into the song, and talks about an unknown man who attempted to extort money from Jackson. An official remix featuring Missy Elliott was released as the third single from the album on December 11, 2001 by Virgin Records.

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"'s album version received mixed reviews from music critics, with some calling it the highlight from the album, while other criticized Simon's rapping. The remix version also received mixed reaction from reviewers. The song reached number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming her lowest-charting single since 1983, and also reached low positions worldwide. The accompanying music video directed by Francis Lawrence decipts an angry Jackson stalking a man in a hotel. "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" was performed on the 2001-02 All for You Tour.

Background and release[edit]

According to Jackson, she phoned American singer-songwriter Carly Simon, asking for permission to use samples of her hit "You're So Vain", but Simon wanted to re-record it with Jackson. She agreed, with Simon wanting to write new lines. Jackson's producer Jimmy Jam sent her the tracks they were already working on, and she went into a studio on Martha's Vineyard and recorded some material. She rapped, but thought Jackson and the producers would not use it, but they did like it. They decided to marry both tracks, as the singers thought it "worked perfectly", and it became a duet. Simon expressed that Jackson "could not have been sweeter or more appreciative".[1]

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" generated speculation of who exactly the man described in the song was. Many believed the song is about Jackson's ex-husband René Elizondo, Jr.[2][3] Jackson responded: "Everybody says that. Actually, that song's about a few people, not one person in particular. Everyone likes to [say], 'Ah, I know that's about Rene.' It's about a few people that have entered and exited my life."[4] Simon created a similar controversy when she released "You're So Vain" after she wed James Taylor. It was speculated to be about Warren Beatty or Mick Jagger, both of which she denied.[5]

In 2000, Jackson called American rapper Missy Elliott to tell her that she loved her music. She asked Elliott to work with her on a remix of her song "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)". Elliott then wrote and rapped for the remix, which also included P. Diddy, and became the third single from All for You on December 11, 2001.[6][7]

Composition[edit]

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" is a R&B and hip hop song which features a "rap poem" from folk singer Carly Simon and samples Simon's hit "You're So Vain".[8][9] Its composition excoriates an unfaithful lover for attempting to extort money, described as a "mean-spirited duet that rails against enemies."[10][11] Jackson unveils anger and deceit, saying "Thought you'd get the money too / Greedy motherfuckers try to have their cake and eat it too". She also offers a comeuppance to a "baby gigolo" who hollers at "everything that walks / No substance, just small talk."[12] Simon also cited the claims of sampled song "You're So Vain" to be written about Mick Jagger, singing "The apricot scarf was worn by Nick / There's nothing in the words that refer to Mick".[5] In response to critics regarding it about her divorce, Jackson explained it was directed towards several people, while Jimmy Jam revealed it to be written in regards to music executives and lawyers.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"'s album and remix versions received mixed reviews from music critics. While reviewing All for You, Dan Aquilante from New York Post commented that the track would be remembered as one of the highlights from the album.[14] Michael Paoletta from Billboard magazine called the song a "clever sister-to-sister" song.[15] The New Rolling Stone Album Guide called the duet between Jackson and Simon "harsh", and found Simon's rap "silly".[16] John Mulvey of Yahoo! Music referred to it as "bizarre", and criticized Simon's rap, classifing it as "incompetent".[17] Allmusic's contributor Stephen Thomas Erlewine also was one of the reviewers who were unssatifistied with rapping by Simon.[18] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine considered the song the the album's biggest misstep. He likened it to a car wreck: "impossible not to be horrified yet strangely intrigued", and called Simon's spoken-word verses "embarassing".[10]

Chuck Taylor from Billboard reviewed the remix version of "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" and considered it "more of a breakdown than anything we might regard as a standard composition, but the ingredients somehow make musical gumbo".[8] Contactmusic.com criticized the number of guests on the single version, but said it created a "soulful and very catchy version", and noted that its "Grover Washington style sax break and the kind of infectious percussion vibe that Masters at Work are so adept at making".[19]

Chart performance[edit]

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" debuted at number 72 on the US Billboard Hot 100, before reaching a peak of number 28.[20] This peak became her lowest-charting single since 1983, when "Come Give Your Love to Me" reached number 58. Since the release of Control in 1986, every single released by the singer had peaked within the top 10, with the exception of "The Pleasure Principle".[21] The song additionally reached numbers 7, 20 and 26 on the Hot Dance Club Play, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs component charts, respectively.[22][23] In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at number 13, remaining for 10 weeks inside the chart.[24] The song debuted at its peak of number 20 in Australia, and reached number 49 in New Zealand.[25] In Europe, "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" failed to gain success. It peaked at number 69 in Germany, 54 in Romania, and 56 in Switzerland, although it achieved moderate success in Denmark, reaching the top 20.[25][26][27]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" was directed by Francis Lawrence,[28] with The Original Flyte Tyme Remix of the song being used. It was filmed at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. In the video, Jackson is angry, stalking a man (played by Jerell Scott)[29] in an abandoned hotel. She summons Elliott and a legion of zombies, including one that was created from a toilet. Jackson is also seen eating a spider, smashing jugs of water with a baseball bat, and taunting the man using telekinetic powers. Simon does not appear at all in the music video. A video for the P. Diddy Remix also was released, and uses the same footage of The Original Flyte Tyme Remix, with Diddy appearing in some parts.

The video was nominated for "Best Cinematography" at the MVPA Awards in 2002.[30] It was also placed as the seventh best music video of 2001 by Slant Magazine, who said "it's been a while since we've seen the reigning [Michael] Jackson crank up a little attitude. It's her own mini-'Thriller', if you will".[28] The video was included on the 2004 video compilation From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos.[31] In 2002, American singer Britney Spears referenced and was inspired by "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" music video in her "Overprotected (Darkchild Remix)" video during the elevator scenes and scenes of Spears walking down the hotel lobby. Both videos also use the same hotel setting, filmed at Los Angeles' Millennium Biltmore Hotel.[32]

Live performance[edit]

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" was performed by Jackson during the All for You Tour in 2001 and 2002. Gina Vivinetto from St. Petersburg Times, while reviewing the concert, noted that fans cheered with the performance.[33] The February 16, 2002 final date of the tour at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, was broadcast by HBO, and had a appearance by Elliott on the performance of the song. This rendition was also added to the setlist at its DVD release, Janet: Live in Hawaii, in 2002.[34]

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2001-02) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[25] 20
Belgium (Flanders Ultratop 50)[25] 20
Belgium (Wallonia Ultratop 50)[25] 25
Denmark (Tracklisten)[25] 19
Germany (Media Control Charts)[26] 69
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[46] 34
Ireland (Chart-Track)[47] 21
Italy (FIMI)[48] 36
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[25] 49
Romania (Romanian Top 100)[27] 54
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 48
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[25] 56
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 13
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 28
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[23] 20
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[22] 26
US Hot Dance Club Play (Billboard)[22] 7

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gelman, Jason (April 25, 2001). "Janet Jackson On Teaming Up With Carly Simon". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2008. 
  2. ^ Jim, DeRogatis (April 24, 2001). "Janet's back to give her `All for You'". JimDeRo.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Music Notes: Janet Jackson Album". ABC News. April 12, 2001. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Janet: Backstage Pass". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved Jily 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "You're So Vain". CarlySimon.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ Bezdecheck, Bethany (2009), Missy Elliott, The Rosen Publishing Group, p. 9, ISBN 9781435850569 
  7. ^ "Janet Heads To Hawaii For HBO Live Special". Billboard. November 15, 2001. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Chuck (November 24, 2001). "News & Reviews". Billboard (New York) 113 (47): 25. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ Nichols, Natalie (April 22, 2001). "Keepin' It Real Conventional". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (June 14, 2001). "Janet Jackson: All for You". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  11. ^ =Seymour, Craig (August 10, 2001). "HER OWN RHYTHM NATION ; JANET JACKSON'S PERSONAL AND FIESTY LYRICS STRIKE A BEAT FOR WOMEN". Buffalo News. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ Stout, Gene (July 5, 2001). "Janet Jackson's steamy album leaves room for romance". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  13. ^ Gordinier, Jeff (2001). "Will the real Janet Jackson please stand up?". Entertainment Weekly. 
  14. ^ Aquilante, Dan (April 24, 2001). "PLEASED TO HEAT YOU". New York Post. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ Paoletta, Michael (April 28, 2001). "News & Reviews". Billboard (New York) 113 (17): 37. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  16. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 411. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  17. ^ Mulvey, John. "Janet Jackson 'All For You' Album Review". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on June 3, 2004. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  18. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "All for You - Janet Jackson". Allmusic. Retrieved June 21, 2014. 
  19. ^ "News & Reviews". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  20. ^ http://books.google.com.br/books?id=MxIEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA85
  21. ^ http://books.google.com.br/books?id=9Q8EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA8
  22. ^ a b c d "All for You > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2008. 
  23. ^ a b "Janet Jackson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Janet Jackson. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  24. ^ a b "Search Results". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Janet Jackson – Son Of A Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)". ARIA Charts. Retrieved April 3, 2008. 
  26. ^ a b "Musicline.de – Chartverfolgung – Janet Jackson – Son Of A Gun". Media Control (in German). Musicline.de. Retrieved October 24, 2008. 
  27. ^ a b "Romanian Top 100". Romanian Top 100. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  28. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (December 15, 2001). "Top 10 Albums & Singles of 2001". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  29. ^ Moreno, Andrew (October 2008). "Jerell Scott". De Novo Magazine. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  30. ^ "The Music Video Production Association Announces This Year's Nominees For the 11th Annual MVPA Awards". PR Newswire. April 4, 2002. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  31. ^ From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos (DVD liner notes) (Media notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 7243 5 99508 9 1. 
  32. ^ "Britney Spears' 10 Best Music Videos: Readers' Poll Results". Billboard. February 19, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  33. ^ Chonin, Neva (October 27, 2001). "Let Janet entertain you". St. Petersburg Times (Times Publishing Company). Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  34. ^ Janet: Live in Hawaii (VHS, DVD). Janet Jackson. Eagle Rock Entertainment. 2002. 
  35. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (European 12-inch Single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. VUST 232. 
  36. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (European CD maxi-single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. VUSCDF 232. 
  37. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK 12-inch promo single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. VUSTDJ 232. 
  38. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK 12-inch promo single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. VUSTDJX 232. 
  39. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK promo single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. VUSCDJ232. 
  40. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK CD single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. VUSCD232. 
  41. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US 12-inch promo single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. 304 594. 
  42. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US double 12-inch promo single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. SPRO-16497. 
  43. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US 12-inch single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. 7243 5 46171 1 9. 
  44. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US promo CD single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. DPRO-16483. 
  45. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (Japanese promo single liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 2001. VJCP-12144. 
  46. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 51 – 2001". Radio 538 (in Dutch). Retrieved April 17, 2009. 
  47. ^ "Irish Top 50 Singles, Week Ending 10 January 2002". Chart-Track. Retrieved October 24, 2008. 
  48. ^ "Classifiche Mix e Singoli". Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved April 3, 2008. [dead link]

External links[edit]