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Together Again (Janet Jackson song)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

"Together Again"
Janet Jackson Together Again.png
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album The Velvet Rope
ReleasedDecember 1, 1997 (1997-12-01)
Recorded1997
Genre
Length5:01
LabelVirgin
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Got 'til It's Gone"
(1997)
"Together Again"
(1997)
"I Get Lonely"
(1998)

"Together Again" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson from her sixth studio album, The Velvet Rope (1997). It was written and produced by Jackson and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with additional writing by Jackson's then-husband René Elizondo Jr. It was released as the second single from the album in December 1997 by Virgin Records. Originally written as a ballad, the track was rearranged as an uptempo dance song. Jackson was inspired to write the song by her own private discovery of losing a friend to AIDS, as well as by a piece of fan mail she received from a young boy in England who had lost his father.

"Together Again" was well received by music critics, who praised the song's structure and Jackson's vocals. The single was a commercial success, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, as well as reaching number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. The single was additionally certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Worldwide, it peaked within the top-five in many countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, and topped the charts in the Netherlands. The single sold six million copies worldwide.[1]

Two music videos were produced for "Together Again". The video for the original, directed by Seb Janiak, shows Jackson and her dancers performing in a futuristic African paradise where people are seen living side by side with wild animals such as elephants, giraffes, and wildcats. Another video released for the 'Deeper Remix', was directed by Elizondo Jr. and shows Jackson in an apartment. Jackson performed "Together Again" in a number of occasions to promote The Velvet Rope, including at the American Music Awards and also on all of her tours since its release. It is also included in two of her greatest hits collections, Number Ones (2009) and Icon: Number Ones (2010).

Background and release

"Together Again" was written as a tribute from Jackson to a friend who had recently died of AIDS as well as AIDS victims and their families worldwide, as stated in the liner notes of The Velvet Rope (1997). Originally written as a ballad, the track was re-arranged as a dance and house song. Jackson was reportedly inspired to write the song from her own personal experience, as well as a piece of fan-mail she received from a young boy in England who had lost his father.[2] According to Jimmy Jam, "it had a deep meaning for her because it was about a friend she lost to AIDS, but as with all her songs, she tries to make them apply in a general sense to anybody. The idea was to make it a joyous song musically".[3] The arrangement of the song was constructed in 30 minutes by Jam, Lewis, and Jackson while in the recording studio. Once the melody was in place, Jackson finished writing the lyrics to the song. The song's sound was inspired by Donna Summer's song "Last Dance".[3] Jackson told MTV News that her inspiration to write "Together Again" was "Runaway" by Nuyorican Soul, as the song reminded her of being in Studio 54 in New York when she was a child. "Runaway" gave Jackson a kind of New York feel of disco and she wanted to do something like this.[4] "Together Again" was released in the United Kingdom on December 1, 1997, as a 7-inch vinyl single, a 12-inch vinyl single, a CD single, and a cassette single.[5] The following day, the song was released in the United States on the latter two formats.[6][7]

Composition

"Together Again" was written and produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with additional writing by Jackson's then-husband, René Elizondo Jr. It is a dance and house track.[8][9][10] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by EMI Music Publishing, the song is set in common time with a key of C major. Jackson's vocals range between A3 to D5. The song has a moderate tempo of 123 beats per minute with the chord progression following the sequence of C–Em7/B–Em7(b5)/Bb–A7–Dm9–G13–Dm9–G13. The bass line in the chorus descends according to the key until reaching the supertonic, after which it goes back to the dominant note set up the resolution, the repetition of the chorus or the interlude, which begins on the submedian. At the end of the second bridge, the song modulates up a minor third into E-flat major.[11] Three versions of the song were released; the original dance version, the "Deep Remix", an R&B and hip-hop version, and the "Deeper Remix", which is an R&B and soul remake. Lyrically, it was described as an ode from Jackson to a friend who had died from AIDS.[12] Larry Flick from Billboard noted its "tear-stained lyrics".[9] Ernest Hardy of Rolling Stone described it as "unsullied pop bliss", saying "The bass-heavy house track "Together Again" showcases a poignant lead vocal, giving off a '60s soul/girl group vibe",[10]

Critical reception

"Together Again" received positive reviews. BBC deemed it a "thumping great hit, an old-fashioned piece of professional dance music, played perfectly".[8] Larry Flick from Billboard magazine called it a "gorgeous disco ode to loved ones lost to AIDS-related illnesses". Jackson "has clearly been studying Donna Summer records, delivering a wonderfully nuanced performance that takes firm command of the track's vibrant house beat without sacrificing an ounce of emotion".[13] Music critic Joey Guerra from The Daily Cougar stated, "Jackson pours her heart into "Together Again," which builds to an ecstatic house beat" which takes "a cue from the soaring melodies of '60s girl groups". He further commented that the song is "genuine happy-feeling. It sounds lame at first but pay attention to what she's singing; that vocal smile changes everything."[14] A reviewer from Daily Record said, "Michael's wee sis has never sounded so good. Janet has found herself and her sound."[15]

"She even makes a bid for gay icon status", wrote Neil McCormick in a review of The Velvet Rope for The Daily Telegraph, "delivering a diva-ish performance reminiscent of Diana Ross on 'Together Again'."[16] J.D. Considine for Entertainment Weekly said that "the gently throbbing house beat beneath ”Together Again” keeps this tribute to a dead friend from sounding as lachrymose as it looks on the page."[17] Jon Pareles from The New York Times described "Together Again" as "a creamy Diana Ross homage", noting that Jackson "deploys her small voice shrewdly" in it.[18] Ian Hyland from Sunday Mirror said it is "some of the best club tunes she's ever done."[19] Danyel Smith, while interviewing Jackson for Vibe in November 1997, elaborated that the song was a big, perfect ode to Donna Summer, and likened it to her songs "MacArthur Park" and "Last Dance".[20] In 1999, 'Together Again" won the award for "Most Played Song" at the BMI Pop Awards.[21]

Chart performance

Jackson performing "Together Again" as the final song of her Number Ones, Up Close and Personal tour (2011).

"Together Again" debuted at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the issue dated December 20, 1997,[22] before becoming Jackson's eighth number-one single on January 31, 1998, spending two weeks at number one, and a total of forty-six weeks on the chart. It was Jackson's first single to reach number one in the U.S. since "Again" in 1993.[23] The song also peaked atop the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and at number eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[24] "Together Again" was certified Gold by the RIAA.[25] In Canada, it peaked at number two on the official singles chart and reached number one on the dance chart.[26][27] In Australasia, "Together Again" also experienced success. In Australia, it debuted at number eighteen on the issue dated December 7, 1997, peaking at number four and staying on the ARIA Charts for twenty-five weeks and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for 70,000 copies shipped.[28][29] In New Zealand, it debuted at number sixteen the week of December 21, 1997. On February 22, 1998, it reached its peak of number five, staying on the chart for ten weeks.[30]

The song debuted and peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart on December 13, 1997, falling to six the following week, three weeks later it returned to its peak of four, spending ten weeks in the top ten and 19 weeks inside the chart.[31] It was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), selling 600,000 units in the UK.[32] It also spent a week atop the UK R&B singles Chart and number six on the UK Dance Charts.[33][34] It is Jackson's best selling UK single. In Austria, it entered the singles chart at number twenty-five, eventually peaking at number six and spending a total of fourteen weeks on the chart.[35] In France, the song peaked at number two for ten weeks, and was certified Platinum by the SNEP.[35][36] In Germany, it peaked at number two for two weeks and remaining on the German Singles Chart for twenty-four weeks. It was certified Platinum for 500,000 copies sold.[37][38] In the Netherlands, "Together Again" entered the singles chart at number sixty-one during the week of December 13, 1997. It eventually peaked at number one, staying a total of thirty-two weeks on the chart.[39] The Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers (NVPI) certified the single Gold for shipment of 10,000 copies.[40] On the Swiss Singles Chart dated January 11, 1998, "Together Again" debuted at number thirteen.[41] After two weeks, it peaked at number two and was later certified Gold by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).[42] A portion of the single's worldwide sales were donated by Jackson to The American Foundation for AIDS Research.[2]

Music videos

Jackson in the "Deeper Remix" video for "Together Again"

Two music videos were produced for "Together Again". The original version was directed by French photographer Seb Janiak and choreographed by Tina Landon.[43] Filmed in the Serengeti, Tanzania, the video depicts Jackson with mini red ponytails on her head.[44] She and her dancers perform in a futuristic African-flavored[4] paradise where people are seen living side by side with wild animals such as elephants, giraffes, and wildcats. At a point of the video, Jackson appears to be hugging another version of herself. Dan MacRae from ET Canada commented, "Janet is positively beaming as she participates in some lovely choreography and chills out with local wildlife".[45] This version received a nomination for Best Dance Video at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.[45] Another music video was released for the "Deeper Remix". Directed by René Elizondo Jr, the video depicts Jackson in an apartment remembering a lost lover, with the singer commenting that "there's a butterfly that's throughout the video that represents the spirit" of this lover.[46] Both videos are featured on the DVD edition of 2001's All for You and the 2004 video compilation From Janet to Damita Jo: The Videos.[43][47]

Live performances

Jackson performing "Together Again" during her Unbreakable World Tour (2015-16).

In order to promote The Velvet Rope and the single, Jackson performed "Together Again" at the American Music Awards of 1998.[48] The singer has also performed the song on all of her tours since its release. She included the song on the 1998 The Velvet Rope Tour. Dressed up in "chandeliers and sensible clothing", it was performed as the closing song from the concert.[49] Jon Pareles from The New York Times viewed the performance as "an elegy disguised as an arm-waving, feel-good song".[50] The performance of the song at the October 11, 1998 show in New York City, at the Madison Square Garden, was broadcast during a special titled The Velvet Rope: Live in Madison Square Garden by HBO. It was also added to the setlist at its DVD release, The Velvet Rope Tour – Live in Concert in 1999.[51] It was again performed as the encore on the All for You Tour in support of her follow-up album, All for You in 2001 and 2002. Gina Vivinetto from St. Petersburg Times, while reviewing the concert, described the performance, "The show closed with a buoyant Together Again that found Jackson grinning, surrounded by dancers moving in refreshing, unscripted merriment".[52] The February 16, 2002 final date of the tour at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, was broadcast by HBO, and included a performance of "Together Again". This rendition was also added to the setlist at its DVD release, Janet: Live in Hawaii, in 2002.[53] Jackson also performed it on VH1's The Concert for New York City benefit concert which paid tribute to victims of the September 11 attacks the same year.[54]

In 2004, while promoting her eighth studio album, Damita Jo, Jackson made surprise performances of "Together Again" and "All Nite (Don't Stop)" at New York's Gay Pride March.[55] "Together Again" was one of her older songs on the 2008 Rock Witchu Tour, her first tour in seven years. It was at the middle of the setlist.[56] She was dressed in a gold and black glam hip hop-inspired track suit, and one gold glove.[57] Variety magazine's Phil Gallo likened her vocals in the song to that of Diana Ross's.[58] Rap-Up noted the audience "went wild" during the song.[59] While reviewing the Vancouver concert, Marsha Lederman of The Globe and Mail noted that the most memorable moment of the show was when Jackson "stopped on the catwalk after her hit Together Again, listened to the crowd roar its approval, and became emotional – really emotional. We're talking tears. 'Thank you,' she said – seeming to really mean it, as she waved her hands, begging the audience to stop", she completed.[57] While promoting her second greatest hits album, Number Ones, the singer performed an eight-minute medley of six hits during the American Music Awards of 2009. It included "Control", "Miss You Much", "What Have You Done for Me Lately", "If", "Make Me", and finished with "Together Again". For the latter's performance, Jackson stood alone at center stage, smiling, as the received applauses and standing ovation from the audience.[60][61] It also was the closing song of her concert at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, in July 2010, which she headlined.[62] "Together Again" was again performed as a closing number on her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal 2011 tour as a dedication to her late brother, Michael Jackson, wearing a tight white one-piece disco suit. MTV News' writer Vaughn Schoonmaker noted that the song appeared to be the biggest hit of the show.[63] Writing for the Hartford Courant, Thomas Kintner pointed out that "A finale of 'Together Again', offered as a simple tribute that recalled her brother again, proved the evening's highlight, a relaxed trip through the sort of juicy pop Jackson has stockpiled throughout her career, and which still charms when she lets it run".[64] Jackson also included the song on her 2015-16 Unbreakable World Tour. The song is also included on the 2017-2019 State of the World Tour. Jackson also included the song on her 2019 Las Vegas Residency Janet Jackson: Metamorphosis.

Track listings

US CD single[65]

  1. "Together Again (Jimmy Jam Deep Remix) – 5:46
  2. "Together Again (Jimmy Jam Deeper Remix) – 4:52
  3. "Together Again (Tony Moran 12-inch Club Mix) – 11:00
  4. "Together Again (Tony Humphries Club Mix) – 6:44
  5. "Together Again (DJ Premier Just the Bass) – 5:22

US 12-inch vinyl[66]

  1. "Together Again (Tony Moran 12-inch Club Mix) – 11:00
  2. "Together Again (Tony Humphries Club Mix) – 6:44
  3. "Together Again (Jimmy Jam Extended Deep Club Mix) – 6:29
  4. "Together Again (DJ Premier Just tha Bass) – 5:22

Credits and personnel

Credits are adapted from The Velvet Rope's CD liner notes:[67]

  • Janet Jackson – vocals, songwriter, producer, vocal and rhythm arrangement
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – songwriters, producers, all other instruments, vocal and rhythm arrangements
  • René Elizondo Jr. – songwriter
  • Steve Hodge – engineering, mixing
  • Alexander Richbourg – drum machine
  • Xavier Smith – assistant engineer

Charts

Certifications

Certifications and sales for "Together Again"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[29] Platinum 70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[117] Platinum 50,000*
France (SNEP)[36] Platinum 500,000*
Germany (BVMI)[38] Platinum 500,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[40] Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[118] Gold 5,000*
Sweden (GLF)[119] Gold 15,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[42] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[120] Platinum 812,000[32]
United States (RIAA)[122] Gold 800,000[121]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

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