Again (Janet Jackson song)

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"Again"
Janet Jackson Again.png
Standard cover art (US CD single pictured)
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Janet
B-side
  • "Funky Big Band"
  • "Again" (French version)
ReleasedOctober 12, 1993 (1993-10-12)
Recorded1992
StudioFlyte Tyme (Edina, Minnesota)
GenrePop
Length3:47
LabelVirgin
Songwriter(s)
  • Janet Jackson
  • James Harris III
  • Terry Lewis
Producer(s)
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"If"
(1993)
"Again"
(1993)
"Because of Love"
(1994)
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 on October 12, 1993, by Virgin Records, and talks about the reconnection with an old lover. 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 on their opinions of "Again". Some praised it 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 2010 single, "Solo".

Background and recording

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.

Composition and lyrics

"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.[6] "Again" is a "lightweight" piano ballad,[7] 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.[8]

Critical reception

"Again" divided music critics. Despite calling it a "throwaway", Alex Henderson of AllMusic picked the song as a highlight from the album.[9] Larry Flick from Billboard called it "a delicate ballad". He added, "Her evocative voice is swathed in grand piano lines and quasi-orchestral strings that will thrill ardent fans at top 40 radio. Melancholy lyrics are icing on a sweet musical cake that millions will want to taste."[10] In a "classic track-by-track review", another editor, Andrew Hampp 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."[11] Essence ranked "Again" as the number-four Greatest Break-up song of all-time.[12] John Martinucci from the Gavin Report described it as "a tender love song that definitely tugs on the heart strings."[13] Music writer James Masterton viewed it as "a slushy ballad" in his weekly UK chart commentary.[14] Alan Jones from Music Week rated it four out of five, stating that "this fragile and fragrant ballad draws a sophisticated vocal performance from Jackson. With full orchestral accompaniment, it is sweet but not saccharine, and is likely to grow into a huge hit."[15] 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."[16]

Chart performance

"Again" was a success on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching the top 40 in August 1993 and the top 10 in October 1993.[17] 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 10, making it Jackson's longest running top-ten single.[17] The song was also a success on other Billboard component charts, including the Top 40 Mainstream (peaking at number two),[18] the Rhythmic Top 40 (number three),[19] Adult Contemporary (number four),[20] and Hot R&B Singles & Tracks (number seven).[21] In Canada, the song was also a success, reaching number two.[22] In the United Kingdom, "Again" was a success, peaking at number six, becoming her sixth top-ten single.[23]

Elsewhere, the song peaked inside the top-twenty. In Australia, "Again" debuted at number 26, before peaking at number 19, four weeks later.[24] In New Zealand, the song was even better, peaking at number 13,[25] while in Sweden, the song was even higher, with a peak of number five after 11 weeks on the chart, becoming her highest charting-single there.[26]

Music video

The music video for "Again" 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. "Again" was published on YouTube in November 2010. The video has amassed more than 3,1 million views as of September 2021.[27]

Live performances

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

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.[17] "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".[28] 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.[11] 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."[29] The melody was also used in Stanley Clarke's song "Lucky Again" on his 1995 album At the Movies.

Track listing and formats

Charts and certifications

References

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