Again (Janet Jackson song)

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Janet Jackson Again.png
Standard cover art (US CD single pictured)
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Janet
  • "Funky Big Band"
  • "Again" (French Version)
ReleasedOctober 12, 1993 (1993-10-12)
RecordedFlyte Tyme Studios
(Edina, Minnesota)
  • Janet Jackson
  • James Harris III
  • Terry Lewis
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Because of Love"
Music video
"Again" on YouTube

"Again" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson, appearing first as the closing song to the 1993 film Poetic Justice, and later included on Jackson's fifth album Janet (1993). Written and produced by Jackson and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the ballad was released as the album's third single in October 12, 1993 by Virgin Records, and talks about the reconnection with an old friend. Originally an experimental sound Jam and Lewis was considering for the album, they did not give the song serious contemplation until the film producers from Poetic Justice requested a ballad for the soundtrack.

Critics were divided with "Again". Some critics gave it props as a highlight from the Janet album and a classic, while other critics responded negatively to its sentimental lyrical content. However, "Again" became a commercial success, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in late 1993, while also reaching the top-ten in Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and reaching the Top 20 elsewhere.

"Again" received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song.[1][2] Two videos for the song, directed by Jackson's then-husband René Elizondo, Jr., were released: one with and other without scenes from Poetic Justice. The song was covered by How to Dress Well for his second album Total Loss and sampled by Iyaz on his single "Solo".

Background and recording[edit]

Jackson performing "Again" on the Rock Witchu Tour.

In 1992, Janet Jackson filmed her first film, Poetic Justice, prior to recording a new album. In "Poetic Justice", Justice (Jackson) uses her poetry to deal with her grief after her boyfriend is killed in a shooting incident at a drive-in.[3] After shooting the film, Jackson started recording a new album, declaring that the film inspired her to take new direction in her music, "Rhythm Nation was a heavy record, and Poetic Justice was a heavy movie. I wanted to do something lighter but also daring ... When I wrote the album, I was still in a poetic frame of mind, inspired by Maya's beautiful language."[4]

"Again" was originally an experimental sound the production duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis was considering for the album. While Jackson found its melody compelling, the trio did not give the song serious contemplation until the film producers from Poetic Justice requested a ballad for the film's soundtrack. Jackson subsequently wrote the lyrics for "Again" and shaped them around Jam's melody.[5] The song was eventually included as the closing song to the film, but was not included on its soundtrack album. It was later released as janet.'s third single on October 12, 1993, with the jazz-funky track "Funky Big Band" from the album appearing on the single as a B-side, as well as a French version of the song, which also appeared on the limited edition of the janet. album.[6]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Again" was written and produced by Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. It is set in common time with a key of C major. Jackson's vocal chords ranges between the tonal nodes of low-tone G3 to high-tone D5. The song is in a moderate tempo of 64 beats per minute with the chord progression being set like C–G–Am–F–C–Dm7/G in the first verse and C–E–Am7–D9 in the chorus.[7] "Again" is a "lightweight" piano ballad,[8] based on a lost love. The song's story is about running into an old friend, only to discover that the feelings for that person are as strong as ever. "Kinda late in the game and my heart is in your hands. Don't you stand there and then tell me you love me and leave me again," she sings.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

"Again" divided music critics. Despite calling it a "throwaway", Alex Henderson of AllMusic picked the song as a highlight from the album.[10] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called it "the most treacly, saccharine ballad Janet has ever recorded, complete with the kind of teary breakdown one might expect from her brother."[11] In a "classic track-by-track review", Andrew Hampp of Billboard remarked, "By the time Jackson pleas at the song's close, seemingly choking back tears, "Cause I've fallen in love with you again," it's hard not to get misty even after countless listens."[12] Essence ranked "Again" as the #4 Greatest Break-up song of all-time.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

"Again" was a success on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching the top-forty in August 1993 and the top-ten in October 1993.[14] The song topped the Billboard charts for two weeks, being certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in December. The song spent 15 weeks in the top ten, making it Jackson's longest running top-ten single.[14] The song was also a success on other Billboard component charts, including the Top 40 Mainstream (peaking at number 2), the Rhythmic Top 40 (number 3), Adult Contemporary (number 4) and Hot R&B Singles & Tracks (number 7).[15] In Canada, the song was also a success, reaching number 2.[16] In the United Kingdom, "Again" was a huge success, peaking at number 6, becoming her sixth top-ten single.[17]

Elsewhere, the song peaked inside the top-twenty. In Australia, "Again" debuted at number 26, before peaking at number 19, four weeks later.[18] In New Zealand, the song was even better, peaking at number 13,[18] while in Sweden, the song was even higher, with a peak of number five, after eleven weeks on the chart, becoming her highest charting-single.[19]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by Jackson's then-husband René Elizondo, Jr. in 1993. It features actor Gary Dourdan as Jackson's lost love, with Jackson writing in her diary as she reminisces about her love through flashbacks. The alternative version of the video contains scenes from Poetic Justice playing on a television. The original video appears on the 1994 compilation janet. and the 2004 DVD From Janet to Damita Jo: The Videos, while the Poetic Justice version is included on the 2001 DVD edition of All for You.

Live performances[edit]

Since its release, Jackson has performed the song on all of her tours, including the janet. Tour, The Velvet Rope Tour, All for You Tour, Rock Witchu Tour, and the Number Ones, Up Close and Personal tour, where it was dedicated to Phoenix, Arizona and Oslo, Norway. She also performed it on the season 9 finale of American Idol. Jackson included the song on her 2015-2016 Unbreakable World Tour. "Again" was used as a video interlude on her State of the World Tour in 2017.

Accolades, covers and samples[edit]

Jackson performing "Again" on the Number Ones, Up Close and Personal Tour.

The song was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1993. It also received a nomination for Best Original Song at the 66th Academy Awards, where Jackson performed the song live.[14] "Again" was covered by How to Dress Well and appeared as a bonus track on his 2012 album Total Loss, which was also inspired by Janet's "The Velvet Rope".[20] According to the singer Tom Krell, "What you're getting is not a report of a feeling, but a sonic presentation of the feeling," he said about the cover.[12] The song was sampled by Iyaz on his 2010 single "Solo". According to Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly, "it riffs 'Again', without directly sampling either the main hook or re-upping the lyrics directly. The song just lifts a substantial chunk of Janet's lilting melody."[21] The melody was also used in Stanley Clarke's song "Lucky Again" on his 1995 album At the Movies.

Track listing and formats[edit]

US promo CD single (DPRO-12801)[22]

  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48
  3. Instrumental – 3:50

US CD maxi single (V25H-38411)[6]
CD single
UK CD maxi single (VSCDG 1481)[23]

  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48
  3. Instrumental – 3:50
  4. "Funky Big Band" – 5:25

Japanese 3" CD single (VJDP-10212)[24]
UK 7" single (VS1481)[25]
US 7" promo single (S717582)[26]

  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48

Japanese CD single (VJCP-12021)[27]
UK CD single (VSCDX1481) (limited edition with calendar)[28]

  1. Album version – 3:47
  2. Piano/Vocal – 3:48
  3. French version – 3:50
  4. "That's the Way Love Goes" (We Aimista Win Mix) – 5:38



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[50] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[53] Platinum 1,248,845[51][52]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


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  26. ^ Janet Jackson Again - Gold Vinyl USA Promo 7" RECORD (22837) Archived 2009-06-20 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Janet Jackson Again Japan 5" CD SINGLE (86871) Archived 2009-06-20 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Janet Jackson Again UK 5" CD SINGLE (32384) Archived 2009-06-20 at the Wayback Machine
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  50. ^ "British single certifications – Janet Jackson – Again". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 10, 2015. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Again in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
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External links[edit]