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Feedback (song)

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Janet Jackson Feedback.png
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Discipline
Released December 26, 2007 (2007-12-26)
Recorded 2007
Length 3:57
Label Island
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"With U"
"Rock with U"
"With U"
"Rock with U"

"Feedback" is a song by American recording artist Janet Jackson, released as the lead single from her tenth studio album, Discipline. It was written and produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and D'Mile, with additional writing from Tasleema Yasin and LaShawn Daniels. "Feedback" fuses electropop and dance, while also incorporating elements of Eurodance and hip hop. Its lyrical composition is based on Jackson's sexual bravado; questioning the listener while responding with a chant of "sexy, sexy." Its chorus compares her body to instruments such as a guitar and amplifier, using metaphors to demonstrate sexual climax.

"Feedback" received acclaim from critics, who praised its sonic innovation and contrast from her prior release, commending Jackson as "back in the form that made her a pop superstar." It reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked atop the Hot Dance Club Play chart, becoming her biggest hit since "Someone to Call My Lover." Internationally, it topped the charts in South Korea and reached the top ten in Canada, Greece, Slovakia and South Africa.

Its music video, directed by Saam Farahmand, portrays Jackson jumping from various planets before dancing among an unidentified white liquid. The video received positive reception from critics, who praised its galactic visuals and choreography. Jackson performed "Feedback" on Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and TRL, the latter being Jackson's first admittance to MTV since her Super Bowl performance incident. "Feedback" received three nominations at the International Dance Music Awards.

Background and composition[edit]

"Feedback" was written and produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and D'Mile, with additional writing from Tasleema Yasin and LaShawn Daniels. It saw Jackson returning to an experimental dance-pop sound in contrast to the subdued rhythmic feel of prior album 20 Y.O. The song was her first single released via the Island label after departing with Virgin Records. Island's A&R director likened its drum pattern to "Rhythm Nation", though clarified, "it doesn't sound like it. It's a 2008 version."[1] The song leaked on December 12, 2007 and was premiered by New York radio station Z100 the same day.[2]

"Feedback" is an electropop and R&B song with slight elements of Eurodance and hip-hop. It features varied instrumentation, such as guitars, synthesizers and drums. It uses a "digitized" robotic effect on Jackson's vocals to heighten its futuristic aura and sensual tone, likened to a sex gynoid by Rolling Stone.[3] Erotic Revolutionaries author Shayne Lee wrote "In "Feedback," she puts her body on display for a peep show in which her partner is free to explore her erotic zones."[4]

The line within the song, "My swag is serious, something heavy like a first day period," in which Jackson compares her dominant presence to the initial side effects of a woman's menstrual cycle, drew media attention. Digital Spy remarked the song deserved heightened notoriety due to the lyrical boast, praising her return to "brilliantly filthy form".[5][6] Louis Virtel of Movieline highlighted the line as he called "Feedback" Jackson's "biggest feat" in several years.[7] In 2013, Thought Catalog declared Jackson among "23 Essential Role Models" for young women, saying despite the line, "somehow the song is still sexy and hot and amazing.[...] Her witchcraft is something to be studied for years to come."[8]

Critical reception[edit]

"Feedback" received general acclaim upon its release. Chuck Taylor of Billboard declared it a "bona fide smash," equipped with "the goods for a meaningful return to pop." Taylor noted the song "features a gracious dance groove, but more so, supplies a sing along hook and distinctive melody," likening it to "a funked-up 'All for You'," concluding "Welcome back, Janet. Missed you much."[9] Glenn Gamboa of Newsweek called it "enjoyable fluff," with a "robo-dance" sound highlighting "Jackson's playful phrasing and ability to mine the electro-groove."[10] Blender called it "her most distinctive track in years," and MTV News cited Jackson as "bringing back the dance sound" to the mainstream.[11] Nick Levine of Digital Spy deemed it a "libidinous strut" that contains "everything you want from a Jackson single", including "hard-edged beats, plenty of hooks and enough attitude to compensate for her flimsy-as-cling-film voice."[6][5] Levine went on to call the track "a Shoulda Been Smash, if only for Janet's boast that she's "something heavy like a first-day period."[12] Keith Harris of Rolling Stone called the song a "high-voltage money shot," likening Jackson's vocals to a "sex droid," complete with "crass" beats and "heavy breathing." Harris added, "When Janet brags she's heavy like a first-day period [...] all the amateur competition should just pack up their Webcams and go home."[3]

Entertainment Weekly's Tim Stack analyzed it as "breathy with a propulsive beat" and "exactly how I like my Jsquared," calling Jackson "the comeback story of 2008."[13] Andy Battaglia of The A.V. Club considered it "a slight digital jam" which masks Jackson among "uncertain vocal tones and incongruous lines about guitars."[14] IGN called Jackson's vocals a "metallic mess" but goes on to say that the song is saved by a "mediocre hook" and a "fuzzy dance beat."[15] The New York Times referred to the track as "blippy and propulsive," stating that it offers "more proof that for Ms. Jackson, sex really doesn’t sell."[16] PopMatters called it "energetic" and a "club-ready track perfect for both Janet's celebrated choreography and flirty vocal stylings," adding "she opts to forgo any shock and awe moments," repeating the lines, "sexy, sexy, sexy" to grab your interests, versus a full onslaught of visceral come on's."[17] The Boston Globe called it "droid-like," built on "metaphors and analogies."[18]

Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine said the track "shows Janet the 4/4 we assumed she lost, though the beat whomps so relentlessly here it's hard to know how she could've ever misplaced it." The song's "octane," composition, and bridge were also praised, with Henderson adding she's "accidentally discovered the essence of hip-hop for good measure."[19] Slant Magazine ranked it the eighth best single of 2008 and fifty-ninth best song of the decade, declaring it "infectiously bizarre" and commending its advanced production and lyrical content.[20][21] NRJ France commended its "sexy chorus" and "fat electro bass", saying it "remains easily in your head."[22] The Los Angeles Times noted its "top-notch" and "glossed-over" production, praising the "tech-savvy groove" while adding "It'll sound great in a club."[23] The Daily Star heralded the "buzzy hook fest" as Jackson's "best single in a decade," while Australia's Daily Telegraph called it a "cracking pop track."[24][25] Elsewhere, it was called "crisp", "danceable", and "ridiculously good", also "lavished with Janet's trademark velvet harmonies."[26] MuuMuse ranked it the nineteenth best single of the year, while MuchMusic praised the single as a return to form, saying "People want to dance. You like to dance. Together, the world can dance once again."[27][28] Bob Burke of FMQB described the song as "a whole new groove for Jackson" that "fits like a glove," adding "the early 'feedback' indicates another multi-format hit in the making."[29]

Chart performance[edit]

"Feedback" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty-four.[30] Several weeks later it rose to its peak position of number nineteen, becoming Jackson's twenty-ninth top twenty hit on the chart and her first top twenty hit since 2001's "Someone to Call My Lover".[31] "Feedback" reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, number two on Hot Singles Sales and three on Hot Dance Airplay, number seven on Hot Digital Songs, number thirty on Pop Songs, and number twenty-three on the Pop 100.[32] It also peaked within the top twenty-five of rhythmic and urban airplay formats. It was the year's fifth most successful song on Hot Dance Club Play and Jackson's eighteenth number one on the chart. It has sold 822,000 in digital sales as of 2010.[33] It peaked at number three in Canada and number two on Hot Canadian Digital Singles.[30]

Internationally, "Feedback" reached number one on South Korea's Hanteo chart, number five in Belgium and Greece, and number eight in South Africa and Slovakia, where it charted for forty-one weeks.[34] In Japan, it peaked at number fourteen on the Japan Hot 100, peaking at number seven on the Japan Hot 100 airplay chart. It peaked within the top twenty in Norway and New Zealand; also reaching number twenty-one in Finland, twenty-two in Brazil, twenty-five in Croatia, thirty-two in Ireland, and the top forty in France, Denmark, and Germany.[30][35][36] In Australia and the United Kingdom it was not as successful, Peaking at 50 and 114 respectively, However did manage to chart at 14 on the UK R&B Chart. It was the year's thirty-third most played song on Lebanon's NRJ radio.[37]

Music video[edit]

Background and concept[edit]

The music video for "Feedback," directed by Saam Farahmand, was filmed over two days in December 2007, on a sound-stage located in New York City. Jackson approached Farahmand with a "futuristic" galactic concept, which he created based on Jackson's vision. Jackson was the first pop artist to work with Farahmand, resulting in a "far more" successful attempt at mainstream recognition than his prior works.[38] A second version of the video, with several scenes lightened and edited to appear more clearly, was released to iTunes two months after the original.[39] Rolling Stone later announced it the third most expensive music video of 2008.[40]


Jackson portrays an intergalactic being in an alternate universe, commanding white objects to ascend from a liquid surface.

The music video begins with a purple liquid forming the word 'JANET'. Jackson is then shown sitting on top of a planet in outer space, wearing a bodysuit adorned with jewelry, long ponytail, and mask. Various asteroids and dancers mounting planets in black latex attire and helmets are shown. Jackson flips her ponytail, revealing her face as cosmic dust is tossed about. Several dancers leap to other planets as Jackson descends to a cratered surface, performing abstract choreography with two dancers. Jackson jumps to another setting, shown in slow motion as the audio is filtered, landing on a white liquid surface with a crimson atmosphere. Backed by eight dancers, Jackson performs the song's choreography as various objects crash into the liquid. Jackson and the dancers fall into the liquid, with Jackson reemerging in a red catsuit. Jackson then performs a dance routine with six glowing spheres. The final sphere ascends upward as fourteen white liquid objects explode.

Release and reception[edit]

The video premiered on January 7, 2008 and debuted on Yahoo! Music the next day. Upon mending her relationship with MTV, it premiered on TRL on January 14, 2008. The video and behind the scenes footage is featured on a DVD included with the deluxe edition of Jackson's Discipline album. Yahoo! Music declared "Feedback" the tenth most streamed video of 2008.[41] Billboard favorably called it "pretty insane".[42] MTV News regarded Jackson as being "big-time back," citing the clip as an "indication of her new look and feel."[11] MTV added, "Janet looks amazing, and the track bumps," regarding it "hot enough to undo the damage of Nipplegate, of course, but, more recently, 20 Y.O."[11] MuchMusic declared it "awesome", adding "the dance sequence is classic Jackson fabulousness and the ending is super cool."[43] The Los Angeles Times praised the science fiction aura among its "planetary effects".[23] NRJ France praised its "magnificent" choreography, adding that the video closes with "a squirt of milk."[22] Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine thought it was "a minor revelation" in comparison to the song itself, though credited Jackson for "juggling CGI in a skin-tight red jumpsuit during what appeared to be the middle ground of her yo-yo weight swings" and "whipping up cosmic dust with that ponytail (how's that for an entrance?!)."[19]

Live performances and legacy[edit]

Jackson and her dancers performing "Feedback" during her Unbreakable Tour (2015-16).

Jackson performed "Feedback" on Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and MTV's TRL.[44] "Feedback" and several other songs were scheduled to be performed on Saturday Night Live, but Jackson was required to cancel due to illness.[45][46] Performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and London nightclub G-A-Y were also initially planned.[47][48] Jackson taught the video's choreography to Larry King during an appearance on Larry King Live.[49] It was later performed on the Rock Witchu Tour, Number Ones, Up Close and Personal, and the Unbreakable World Tour. The performance on TRL became Jackson's first appearance on MTV in six years, following a lengthy period in which the network blacklisted Jackson and her music videos after they were fined regarding her controversial Super Bowl performance incident. MTV News called the performance "fantastique", with the audience "completely losing their cot-damn marbles."[50] Jackson's rendition on Number Ones, Up Close and Personal was called "throbbing" by The Courant, noting its "explicit dance moves".[51]

Musician Justin West recorded an acoustic version of "Feedback."[52] Miley Cyrus performed a dance routine to the song on the premiere episode of YouTube series "The Miley and Mandy Show".[53] So You Think You Dance winner Jeanine Mason performed a dance routine to the song on the show's fifth season.[54] It was also used in an episode of MTV's The Hills.[55] In 2013, it was mentioned in the novel Cruising: Gay Erotic Stories.[56] Fitness magazine included it among their list of Best Songs for Running.[57]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Track listings[edit]

Official remixes[edit]




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External links[edit]