I Get Lonely

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"I Get Lonely"
Janet Jackson I Get Lonely.png
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album The Velvet Rope
Released February 26, 1998 (1998-02-26)
  • March 1997
  • January 1998 (remix)
  • 5:17 (album version)
  • 4:03 (LP edit)
  • 4:23 (TNT Remix feat Blackstreet)
Label Virgin
  • Janet Jackson
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Together Again"
"I Get Lonely"
"Go Deep"
"Together Again"
"I Get Lonely"
"Go Deep"

"I Get Lonely" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson from her sixth studio album The Velvet Rope. It was written and produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Jackson's then-husband, René Elizondo, Jr. It was released on February 26, 1998 by Virgin Records as the album's third single. The track is a departure from Jackson's signature brand of dance-pop into a more R&B and quiet storm vibe. Lyrically, it expresses loneliness and the desire for an estranged lover. A remixed version of the song was featured by the American group Blackstreet.

"I Get Lonely" was met with mostly positive reviews from music critics, who praised it as "bold" and "raw." "I Get Lonely" became Jackson's eighteenth consecutive top ten hit on the Hot 100, setting a record as the only female artist to achieve that feat, surpassed only by Elvis Presley and The Beatles. The song received a BMI Pop Award for "Most Played Song" and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and was later included on Janet's second hits compilation Number Ones. Its music video, directed by Paul Hunter, received positive reception for its abounding sex appeal.


"'I Get Lonely' takes me to a place of loss — having lost a lover, wanting the lover back, and dreaming of the time when the dream is fulfilled. The vibe is bittersweet."
— Jackson's description of the song.[1]

"I Get Lonely" is a departure from Janet's usual style of dance-pop, as the song is more R&B-oriented. It was released as the third single from Jackson's sixth album The Velvet Rope, which chronicled Jackson's struggle with depression and intimacy. In an interview for MTV, she discussed how the depression was causing her to experience deep sadness, forcing her to take breaks from her music career.[2] During the writing and recording of The Velvet Rope she began to spontaneously cancel recording sessions and appeared constantly troubled.[3] The themes of loneliness and abandonment that are explored in "I Get Lonely" are a direct reflection of the emotional state that Jackson was in during the production of the album. Jackson described the album as her most personal work, developed throughout her entire lifetime. She explained, "I never looked deeply at the pain from my past, never tried to understand that pain and work it through. It was a journey I had avoided. But one I now had to face."[4]

Critical reception[edit]

"I Get Lonely" received favorable reviews, with many critics expressing approval of the song's theme and commending Jackson for delving more heavily into authentic R&B, which was a departure from her signature brand of dance-pop and R&B-flavored pop. Billboard commented "Miss Jackson follows her recent [pop] No. 1 "Together Again" with a grinding ballad that is clearly designed to strengthen her credibility with hardcore R&B listeners." [5] Billboard also considered "I Get Lonely" to be "bold", "R&B flavored", and themed around a "sensitive subject" like other songs from The Velvet Rope; in this particular case, "loneliness".[6] Vibe called "I Get Lonely" a "gigantic voicey song" and praised its structure, saying "the song starts with the beautifully overblown chorus [...] After that, it's official: you're singing it until next year. There're, like, 40 Janets singing the chorus, and she harmonizes with herself like she's the Pips. Honey butter. This is where she wins." The review also noted Jackson's vocal performance as being both heartfelt and convincing, observing "Or maybe Janet Jackson really feels lonely. Because she sounds more convincing, more alive, on "I Get Lonely" than on The Velvet Rope's title song, better than when she's singing about any of that tie-me-up-tie-medown, gettin'-freaked-from-behind "rope burn" stuff."[7] Yahoo! Music described "I Get Lonely" as highlighted by "catchy chord progressions" while The L.A. Times says the song "plumbed relatively raw neo-soul depths."[8][9] A review from Uproxx also praised the song's quality, stating "It's hard to pinpoint the best aspect of the song: the opening seconds, its melody, the hook or the way Ms. Jackson’s voice flutters seamlessly over the beat. What’s apparent, however, is that those three traits and more meshed to produce one of the standout records from the most famous female Jackson and a testament of what R&B once was." [10]

Award Nominated work Result
Billboard Awards Top Hot R&B Airplay Single Nominated
BMI Pop Awards Most Played Song Won
Grammy Awards Best R&B Vocal Performance – Female Nominated
Lady of Soul Music Awards Best R&B Single, Solo Nominated
Best R&B Music Video[11] Nominated
VH1 Video Music Awards Sexiest Music Video of the Year Nominated

Remix versions[edit]

Jackson singing "I Get Lonely" during her Unbreakable World Tour (2015-16).

An alternate remix of "I Get Lonely," known as the "TNT Remix," features vocals from Blackstreet and has an electro-R&B instrumental produced by Timbaland and Teddy Riley. A solo version of the remix was also produced under the title "TNT Main Mix - Janet Only". A demo of Riley's remix titled the "Teddy Riley Test Pressing Mix" features an instrumental similar to the original and also has alternate, more subdued vocals by Riley and Blackstreet. MTV reported on the release of the remix, stating "After using Gang Starr's DJ Premier on [remixes of] "Together Again," Jackson called in Teddy Riley of Blackstreet to work on 'I Get Lonely.'" Jackson revealed to MTV that she and Riley managed to collaborate on the concept for the remix "via phone." Jackson stated "[Riley] called me every single day with different ideas," Jackson continued, "and I would say, 'O.K., that's cool. Just put it down and let's go from there.' So he'd put a little bit down and call me and play it for me and it was fun." [12] Billboard critiqued the song's various remixes, commenting "Top 40 programmers who prefer Janet as a disco diva are treated to a solid, pop-smart house remix by Jason Nevins, while the cut's original co-producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, contribute an odd if ultimately useful booty-bass remix. In each case, the song's infectious chorus and taut melody wisely remain intact. Of course, quietly tacked between the numerous trend-conscious remixes of "I Get Lonely" is the far superior album version. Why not be among the few programmers to buck trends and let the original version works its unmistakable magic?"[5] Regarding the "TNT Remix," Billboard commented "Teddy Riley has been enlisted to spruce up the track with a skittling jeep groove, while Janet's yearning, thickly layered vamps are complimented by a single-only guest appearance by Blackstreet", adding Jackson's and "the groups' voices blend extremely well."[5]

Chart performance[edit]

When the song debuted and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 it became Jackson's 18th consecutive top ten hit, setting a record for her as the only female artist to achieve such a feat, surpassed only by Elvis Presley and The Beatles.[13] It fared even better on the Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, peaking at number-one on both charts, spending two weeks at the top position. It was eventually certified gold by the RIAA and has sold more than 900,000 copies.[14] Outside of the U.S. the song performed modestly, reaching the Top 5 in the United Kingdom, Top 10 in New Zealand, and the top 20 in Italy, Canada, and the Netherlands. It performed moderately well in Australia, peaking at number twenty-one.

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "I Get Lonely" was directed by Paul Hunter and choreographed by Tina Landon. It premiered on MTV in late April 1998.[15] Similar to other videos and imagery from The Velvet Rope, the video took a more artistic approach, blending Jackson's trademark sex appeal and choreography with the song's theme of loneliness and isolation. The video was later included on the video compilation DVD included with the special edition of Jackson's All for You album.[16] and on the video compilation From Janet to Damita Jo: The Videos.[17] An alternate music video for the "TNT Remix" with Blackstreet was also released, showing new scenes of Jackson performing the song with the group on a platform setting in between the video's original scenes.[15]

The music video received positive reception. MTV News commented, "Anyone who has seen Janet Jackson's latest video for "I Get Lonely" is well acquainted with the singer's physical attributes".[18] Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture author Shayne Lee remarked that Janet's "eroticism intensifies" within the video, saying "In the video for 'I Get Lonely' Janet rips open her shirt exposing a black lace bra and continues dancing as she sings about needing to resolve her loneliness".[19] King magazine also commented on Jackson's physical attributes, stating "You might think she’s just dressed like a sexy-ass private eye, but wait for it…wait for it..blaow! The twins come out to play, and they ain't playing fair".[20] Uproxx commented "God bless Janet Jackson for this song and also the cleavage shot in the video. She'll always remain one of the OG sex symbols", also revealing "years later, it still holds up quite well".[10] SoulBounce praised Jackson's new style of "full, vibrant red hair", also calling her appearance "easily the most stunning" of all her prior video looks, continuing to say "Armed with a collection of perfectly fitting pant suits, ample cleavage and undeniable sex appeal", Janet "embodies the passion, beauty and grace of the Velvet Rope era".[21]

The video additionally received nominations for "Sexiest Music Video of the Year" at the VH1 Video Music Awards and "Best R&B Music Video" at the Lady of Soul Music Awards.

Live performances[edit]

Janet performed "I Get Lonely" at Europe's TMF Awards, the Soul Train Music Awards, and an acoustic version of the song at The Rosie O'Donnell Show.[22] It was later performed on Jackson's The Velvet Rope Tour, Rock Witchu Tour,Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour, and Unbreakable World Tour with a review from the New York date of the latter tour calling "I Get Lonely" a "classic" that received "the most love of the night" from the audience.[23] Jackson also included the song on her 2017 State of the World Tour in a medley with Dammn Baby.


Australian pop singer Sam Sparro confirmed his "I Wish I Never Met You" video, released 2012, was inspired by Janet's "I Get Lonely" video.[24][25] Kelly Rowland's performances of "Motivation" on both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the 2011 BET Awards were inspired by the performance, outfit, and choreography of Jackson's "I Get Lonely". Yahoo! Music interviewed Rowland, who confirmed the performance was inspired by Jackson, which "was considered by many to be the highlight of the night".[26] Idolator said Rowland stole the show with her "Janet Jackson inspired number".[27] The Round Table observed "Rowland segued into a mini dance breakdown reminiscent of Janet Jackson’s “I Get Lonely” towards the end of her performance of the song on The Tonight Show.[28] "I Get Lonely" is mentioned in a chapter of Vicent Tolliver's novel "Baptized: A Novel".[29][30]

Dance group SoReal Cru performed a choreographed routine to "I Get Lonely" during the "Janet Jackson Challenge" episode of America's Best Dance Crew. Cinema Blend commented on the tribute, saying "SoReal Cru tries to balance provocation with artistic merit in order to do Janet justice."[31] In 2009 Dance troupe "Choreo Cookies" performed a routine to "I Get Lonely" at the "World of Dance" tour.[32]


Audio Push sampled "I Get Lonely" on "Shine", the lead single from their "Come As You Are" project.[33][34] Ne-Yo spliced "I Get Lonely" into his performance of "Let's Go", a collaboration with Calvin Harris, at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.[35] Luke James performed a mash-up of "I Get Lonely" with his single "I Want You" during a performance on the UK's SB.TV in May 2013.[36] Eric Bellinger and Amber Riley of Glee! fame's single "Never Be Lonely" samples "I Get Lonely", altering the song's lyrics to be from a couple's point of view. In August 2013, House producer ESTA's "YouAre(TheOne)" sampled "I Get Lonely", "flipping the sample into a fantastically constructed groovy jam, bursting with sentimental house vibes."[37][38] B.Slade performed live covers of the song during various appearances throughout 2012.[39] Jessi Teich recorded a jazz cover of "I Get Lonely" for her "Live and Unwrapped EP", released 2013.[40] Boney James covered "I Get Lonely" for his "Body Language" album, while a jazz cover by Alexander Ethan Grey also appeared on the compilation "Smooth Sax Tribute to Janet Jackson".[41][42] Russell Gunn performed live covers of "I Get Lonely" at "The 32nd Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival" in 2009.[43] Janet, herself, sampled the track's intro in her dance song Get It Out Me, from her album 20 Y.O.. It can be heard at the end of the song then afterwards she says "next track." and the song ends. She'd sample the song again in "Dammn Baby", from Unbreakable (2015)

Track listings[edit]

Official remixes[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


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  2. ^ Norris, John. "Janet Jackson Discusses The Meaning Of "The Velvet Rope," Pt. I". MTV. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ Richard, Harrington (July 9, 1998). "Crushed Velvet". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Velvet Rope". Janet Official Fan Club. Archived from the original on May 15, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
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  7. ^ Smith, Danyel (November 1997). Vibe - Google Books. Vibe. p. 90. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
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  10. ^ a b "Janet Jackson's Verizon Store Classic - The Smoking Section". The Smoking Section. January 23, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ Vanhorn, Teri (May 9, 1999). "Lauryn Hill, TLC Top Lady Of Soul Awards". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Janet Jackson Gets "Lonely" With Blackstreet's Teddy Riley". MTV. April 21, 1998. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ Causing a Commotion, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, archived from the original on 2011-06-13, retrieved 2012-01-13 
  14. ^ a b "Best-Selling Records of 1998". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 111 (5): 75. January 30, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 31, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b http://www.mtv.com/news/1426090/janet-jackson-gets-lonely-with-blackstreets-teddy-riley/
  16. ^ All for You - Special Limited Edition (DVD liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 7243 8 12363 0 7. 
  17. ^ From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos (DVD liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 7243 5 99508 9 1. 
  18. ^ "Janet's Cleavage Wreaks Havoc at Home and Abroad". MTV News. May 4, 1998. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  19. ^ Lee, Shayne (August 4, 2010). Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture. p. 13. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
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  21. ^ "16 Janet Jackson Barbie Dolls That We'd Like To See - SoulBounce.com". SoulBounce. December 9, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
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  24. ^ "A Sneak Peak at Sam's New Video : Sam Sparro". SamSparro.com. March 27, 2012. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Sam Sparro - Return To Paradise : Album Review". Blogspot. July 7, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Kelly Rowland Says Switching Up Team Was Toughest Decision - Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music. July 25, 2011. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  27. ^ "BET Awards 2011 Performances - Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on Idolator.com". Idolator. June 26, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Kelly Rowland Performs "Motivation" On Jay Leno - The Round Table Online". The Round Table. July 30, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  29. ^ Baptized: A Novel - Vincent Tolliver - Google Books. iUniverse. February 28, 2002. p. 153. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  30. ^ Baptized: A Novel - Vincent Tolliver - Google Books. iUniverse. February 28, 2002. p. 154. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  31. ^ Dennis, Charmaigne (July 16, 2008). "TV Recap: America’s Best Dance Crew – Janet Jackson Challenge". Cinema Blend. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  32. ^ Navarro, Gail (April 20, 2009). "Racket Magazine >> World of Dance – Show Review". Racket Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  33. ^ "SWAY EXCLUSIVE: Hit-Boy Presents Audio Push – "Shine"". Sway's Universe. July 26, 2013. Archived from the original on August 18, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Audio Push Releases Janet Jackson-Sampled, "Shine" - New Music". ThisGoesIn. July 26, 2013. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Alicia Keys, Ke$ha, Ludacris and More Close Out NBA All-Star Weekend 2013 - Billboard". Billboard. February 18, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  36. ^ "News - Luke James Delivers On 'I Want You/I Get So Lonely' Mash Up". Singersroom. May 18, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  37. ^ "ESTA. – "YouAre(TheOne)" - New Music". Soulculture. August 18, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Listen: ESTA x Janet Jackson "You Are The One" - Prefix". Prefix. August 15, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  39. ^ B.Slade Live at WitZend
  40. ^ "Jessi Teich - Soul Singer. Elegant and Edgy. - Press/Reviews". Archived from the original on December 22, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Late Night Snack: Boney James - I Get Lonely". March 7, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  42. ^ "iTunes - Music - Smooth Sax Tribute to Janet Jackson by Alexander Ethan Grey". iTunes. August 3, 2004. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  43. ^ Wilsin-Morris, Michelle (June 14, 2009). "MusicDish e-Journal - The 32nd Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival". Music Dish. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  44. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  45. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  46. ^ Janet* - I Get Lonely
  47. ^ Janet Jackson I Get Lonely Australia 5" CD SINGLE (309931)
  48. ^ Janet Jackson I Get Lonely USA Promo 5" CD SINGLE (108949)
  49. ^ Jackson Janet CDs, Vinyl Records, CD Singles, Used CD's and Music Albums - Buy at MusicStack
  50. ^ Janet* - I Get Lonely
  51. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  52. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
  53. ^ Janet* - I Get Lonely
  54. ^ Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely (Teddy Riley Test Pressing Mix) on YouTube
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  56. ^ RPM http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?brws_s=1&file_num=nlc008388.3594&type=1&interval=24&PHPSESSID=tk6momctgosfs9h5liat1s2gt4. Retrieved September 19, 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  57. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 17 – 1998". Radio 538 (in Dutch). Top 40. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 
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  61. ^ "Chart Stats – Janet Jackson – I Get Lonely". The Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Archived from the original on July 5, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 
  62. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/r-and-b-singles-chart/19980329/114/
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  66. ^ "American single certifications – Jackson, Janet – I Get Lonely". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH