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Can't B Good

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"Can't B Good"
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Discipline
Released March 18, 2008 (2008-03-18)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2007-08; SouthSide Studios
(Atlanta, Georgia)
Genre R&B
Length 4:13
Label Island
  • D. DoRohn Gough
  • Ne-Yo
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Can't B Good"
"Make Me"

"Can't B Good" is a song by American recording artist Janet Jackson, taken from her tenth studio album Discipline (2008). The song was written and produced by D. DoRohn Gough and Ne-Yo, and was released as the fourth and final single from Discipline on March 18, 2008. The song is a soulful, "jazzy" R&B track about Jackson's relationship with Jermaine Dupri.

The song received mostly positive reviews from music critics, who praised it for being smooth, tender and lovely, and picked the song as one of the best tracks on Discipline, with some others comparing the song to "Human Nature" (1983), performed by her brother Michael Jackson. Commercially, the song only managed to reach number 76 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Background and composition[edit]

The song was inspired by Jackson's relationship with Jermaine Dupri (pictured).

"Can't B Good" was written and produced by D. DoRohn Gough and Ne-Yo.[1] It was recorded between 2007 and 2008 at SouthSide Studios, in Atlanta, Georgia.[2] Although Jackson didn't write the song, Jackson described "Can't B Good" as a song reflecting her seven-year relationship with songwriter/producer Jermaine Dupri, saying, "I'd been hurt before, and I was trying to protect myself. I'm glad I allowed myself to accept it. He's very attentive and affectionate, a beautiful soul".[3]

Princess P. from MWZA described the lyrics as "standard falling-in-love-too-deep far", with the thwack of the snare contrasting heavily with the layers of cooing vocals.[4] Musically, the song is a midtempo[5] "smooth and jazzy" R&B ballad,[6][7] featuring thundering bass, piano,[8] with eighties keyboard sounds and cooing harmonies.[9] Princess P. from MWZA wrote the song resembles "Aaliyah's "Rock the Boat" with a more "punishing" beat, Michael Jackson's "Butterflies" (2001) and Janet Jackson's own track "Spending Time With You" from Damita Jo (2004).[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Some critics compared "Can't B Good" to Michael Jackson songs, including "Human Nature" (1983).

"Can't B Good" received mostly positive reviews from music critics. Andy Kellman from AllMusic picked the song as one of the album's best tracks, highlighting that "it's a descendent of her brother Michael's 'Can't Help It,' with that gentle and affecting self-examination that only a Jackson can do so well."[1] Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine wrote that "'Can't B Good' serves up a smooth, jazzy groove and Jackson's soft, supple vocal, fluffed with multiple background layers that duly merit adult R&B love."[7] Princess P. from MWZA saw that, "The layers pile and pile so that by the bridge, the song is virtually dizzying", calling it "extremely well-produced."[4] The Boston Globe writer Joan Anderman perceived the song is "eerily reminiscent of 'Human Nature', one of brother Michael's most elegant records."[10] Margeaux Watson of Entertainment Weekly agreed, calling a "tender" throwback to the same song.[11]

Los Angeles Times' Ann Powers called it "a waterfall of mixed emotions enfolding a sunlit morning-after," and "the most emotionally vulnerable ballad Jackson's recorded in years."[12] Dan Gennoe of Yahoo! Music wrote that the song "proves that ballads don't have to be inane and that she doesn't have to spell out exactly where she wants it and how to be sexy."[13] Glenn Gamboa from Newsday praised the track, writing that it could be one of her best songs ever.[5] Caroline Sullivan, writing for The Guardian, simply wrote that "Can't B Good" is completely lovely.[14] Andy Battaglia of The A.V. Club called it a "majestic" song produced by Ne-Yo.[15] Tom Young of BBC Music called it "a potential diamond."[16] For Nick Levine from Digital Spy, the song was created to recall classic Jackson ballads like "Come Back to Me" (1990) and "Let's Wait Awhile" (1987), but failed to do so, due to its lack of melody.[9] Chad Grischow of IGN was less favorable, calling it "cheesy late-eighties ballad, featuring wafer-thin breathy vocals that sounds like someone calling you to their hospital bed rather than the bedroom."[8]

Remix and chart performance[edit]

A remix of the song was released, featuring Jamaican rapper Red Rat, and produced by HardWork.[17] "Can't B Good" was the fifth most added song on Radio & Records's Urban AC panel, where it debuted at number 40 on R&R's Urban AC Chart for the chart week dated March 28, 2008.[18] The song debuted and peaked at number 40 on the Billboard Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart the week ending April 5, 2008.[19] It peaked at number 76 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[20]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from Discipline album liner notes.[2]


Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[20] 76
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult R&B Airplay[19] 20


  1. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Discipline – Janet Jackson". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  2. ^ a b Discipline (LP, Vinyl, CD). Janet Jackson. Island Records. 2008. 1762969. 
  3. ^ Gardner, Elysa (February 25, 2008). "Still youthful Janet Jackson runs on imagination". USA Today. Gannett Company, Inc. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c P., Princess (January 23, 2008). "Janet Jackson "Discipline" Album Review". MWZA. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Gamboa, Glenn (February 26, 2008). "Review: Janet Jackson's latest CD 'Discipline'". Newsday. Cablevision. Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ BSX (August 11, 2008). "Janet Jackson - Discipline". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Can't B Good". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. October 22, 2008. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Grischow, Chad (February 28, 2008). "Janet Jackson - Discipline". IGN. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Janet Jackson: 'Discipline'". Digital Spy. Hearst Corporation. February 25, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008. 
  10. ^ Anderman, Joan (February 26, 2008). "Janet Jackson's hot and heavy act grows old". The Boston Globe. John W. Henry. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ Watson, Margeaux (February 15, 2008). "Discipline Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ Powers, Ann (February 25, 2008). "Still nasty after all these years - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Janet Jackson Discipline Album Review, New album reviews and latest album releases on Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music UK. May 2012. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  14. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (March 2, 2008). "CD: Janet Jackson, Discipline". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ Battaglia, Andy (March 10, 2008). "Janet Jackson: Discipline | The A.V. Club". The A.V. Club. The Onion, Inc. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ Young, Tom. "Review of Janet Jackson - Discipline". BBC Music. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Red Rat remix". Jamaica Observer. June 5, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  18. ^ "R&R - Radio & Records, Inc". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on March 14, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Billboard Adult R&B Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 8, 2013.