CD single cover art.

"I Get Lonely" is the third single from Janet Jackson's 1997 album, The Velvet Rope. Released as the album's third single on February 26, 1998, it became a top five on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as Jackson's twelfth R&B chart-topper, also becoming successful in various territories worldwide.

"I Get Lonely" became Janet's eighteenth consecutive top ten hit on the Hot 100, setting a record for her 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 is also infamous for its sex appeal, choreography, and artistic theme and imagery.


Unlike Janet's usual style of dance pop and hybrid of pop and R&B, the song is more of an R&B-orientated affair. An alternate electro-R&B remix of the song featuring R&B group Blackstreet was produced by Timbaland and Teddy Riley and also released for airplay. Describing the song, Janet said "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."

Critical receptionEdit

"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 as a departure from her signature brand of dance pop and R&B-flavored pop, which she had also previously attempted with "Got 'til It's Gone", while pop sensibilities and harmonies still remained intact. Billboard exclaimed "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." 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".

Vibe calls "I Get Lonely" a "gigantic voicey song" and praises its structure, saying "the song starts with the beautifully overblown chorus-"I get so lonely / Can't let / Just anybody hold me / You are the one / Who lives in me my dear / Want no one but you." 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. Makes pop. Art. Hits you where? In the head, the heart, the booty." 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." 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", noting it to be a contrast from Jackson's previous dance pop and slower-tempo releases such as "Again". The Round Table describes it as "a soothing performance", while another critic praises Janet's vocals, observing "what Jackson lacks in power, she makes up for with technique."

Additional reviews also gave the song positive reception for its emotion and vulnerability, describing it as "slow and smooth r&b" with "vulnerable delivery" by Jackson that effectively "resonates with the effectiveness of Janet's pleading, so that you know her wayward lover is on his way back for at least on more night of making up." Billboard also critiqued the song's various remixes, ultimately selecting the original version to be superior. "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?" Other reviews exclaimed both the original and the "TNT Remix" of the song "conveys pain, vulnerability, love, and every other emotion that runs through a person’s veins when they want the object of their affection to hold them close", while a further review from Uproxx also raved about the song's quality, saying "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", asking the listener to attempt the "impossible" challenge to "listen to this song and try not to tap your feet or sing the hook."

Chart performanceEdit

A risky song to release due to its stark contrast in sound from Jackson's previous singles and little promotion, the song debuted and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, also reaching the number-one spot on the Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and singles sales charts in its second week, spending two weeks at the top position. It fared relatively well in Europe, reaching the Top 5 in the United Kingdom, number 7 in Italy, Top 10 in New Zealand, and Top 15 in various countries. The song also achieved chart success in Australia and Canada.

Music videoEdit


Gif from the video. (click to view)

The music video for "I Get Lonely", directed by Paul Hunter and choreographed by Tina Landon, received positive reception and heavy rotation on music channels. Similar to other videos and imagery from The Velvet Rope, "I Get Lonely" took a more personal, artistic and theatrical approach to fit the song's concept, blending Jackson's trademark sex appeal and choreography with the song's persistent theme of loneliness, isolation and pleading.

The video took three days to shoot and involved over 500 people during its creation, with a total cost of over one million dollars. The video's director Paul Hunter spoke about the concept, saying it "imagined her traveling to this place where it would be better for her. We came up with a lot of metallic designs based on a Japanese airport, which kind of lends its [theme] to travel", while Jackson said the video focused on the display of "futuristic" imagery.

The video was later included on the video compilation DVD included with the special edition of Janet's All for You album. An alternate music video for the "TNT Remix" with Teddy Riley's group Blackstreet was also released, showing new scenes of Jackson performing the song with the group on the platform setting in between the video's original scenes. This version appears on the video compilation From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos.

The "I Get Lonely" video continues to influence newer artists, including Australian pop singer Sam Sparro's "I Wish I Never Met You" video, released 2012, and Kelly Rowland's "Motivation" video and performances, which were both inspired by the video, outfit, and choreography, among others. The outfits and choreography in Britney Spears' "Me Against the Music" video, which featured Madonna and was also directed by Hunter, was also compared and thought to be inspired by "I Get Lonely", while critics also noted the "I Get Lonely" and "Together Again (Deeper Remix)" videos, as well as Janet's Velvet Rope-era look as the inspiration for Rihanna's image during her Loud era, and "Only Girl (in the World)" and "What's My Name" videos.


The video opens with scenes of a car driving down a wet street at night as it's raining, with Janet in the back seat wearing a black trench coat, visibly upset and mourning her lover. Janet and her dancers are then shown in an abandoned aircraft hangar, standing on a futuristic hovering platform encompassed by a glowing ring of light. Moving objects circulate in the air and cast shadows over Jackson and the set while steam is released intermediately. Throughout the choreographed scenes on the platform, Janet is wearing the signature outfit for the song's performances, which consists of a white fitted pant suit and tie with black pants, a corset, and a large hat lowered over her face, concealing her emotions and making her expressions undetectable in order to correspond with the song's sensitive theme of pain and loneliness. Meanwhile, the video's desolate and isolated settings represent her emotions, vulnerability, and sorrow.

Janet and her dancers begin to perform the song's choreography, while scenes of Jackson singing the song in the car are shown throughout, with the car's driver never revealed. The car door suddenly swings open, entering a glowing opening in a suitcase in the back seat, revealing Jackson walking seductively towards the camera in a white hallway while wearing a studded leather collar and blue Dior bodysuit, revealing her cleavage. Scenes of Jackson perched on an opening in the hallway are shown between the other hallway scenes, while shots of Jackson sitting on a set between large structures of art are then shown as it briefly begins to snow, representing Jackson's sorrow. This quickly transitions to a close up of Janet on the set, with a backdrop of dark storm clouds and a camera seen in the background, emphasizing the song's feel of depression and solitude. During this segment of the video, Janet's outfit again changes, with Jackson wearing a light blue blouse (which is torn at the sleeves), black fitted pants, and leather boots.

Spliced between the steamy hallway scenes are scenes of Jackson sitting in a small white room with blue-tinged features, with close-up shots of Jackson's face briefly shown periodically. Janet then undresses and embraces a silver mannequin, further highlighting the song's meaning of unwanted isolation and longing for something no longer present. The scene reveals diamonds pasted at the side of Jackson's eyelids, which briefly transitions to Jackson shown laying on a clear glass surface resembling a film reel while wearing a one-piece suit designed to appear as snakes wrapped around a white tiger, possibly to again indicate the song's theme of helplessness. Janet's face is then revealed, with Jackson blissfully reminiscing while grasping strands of blonde and brunette hair.

The main choreography and hallway scenes continue to be shown, with the car and white room scenes briefly shown in between. All the video's various settings are then shown again, however, the main focus now returns to the choreographed setting on the platform. This leads to the video's infamous scene of Jackson unbuttoning her sleeves before removing her tie and corset, then ripping her top open, exposing her breasts in a black lace bra while continuing to perform the song's dance routine. The video ends with Janet walking down the white hallway with her back turned, fading into the radiant white light as the camera zooms out of the ethereal setting. The video then returns to the hovering platform for the final scene of Janet and her dancers performing the song's ending routine, where Jackson swings her arm to point forward with a stern look on her face as she kneels down. Jackson remains still in the ending pose as the video fades to black, while various objects continue to hover over the set and steam pours from the ceiling.

Critical receptionEdit

The music video for "I Get Lonely" received positive reception for its choreography, sex appeal, artistic theme and Jackson's now-infamous shade of red hair, receiving heavy rotation on music channels. The video is also extremely infamous for its scene of Jackson opening her top towards the end of the song's dance routine, revealing her breasts in a black lace bra, with MTV News commenting "Anyone who has seen Janet Jackson's latest video for "I Get Lonely" is well acquainted with the singer's physical attributes." Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture author Shayne Lee exclaimed Janet's "eroticism intensifies" with 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." 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."

The Round Table commended the video's entertainment value, observing Jackson's performing style and choreography "has defined her career and set her apart from contemporaries, including the newer crop of performers", describing the "I Get Lonely" routine as "fluid". "Proving that Janet doesn’t always have to serve up-beat hyper-fast choreography to be sickening, this had to be very sensual and Tina Landon’s choreography was quite possibly some of the best Janet’s ever had. The video itself and the visuals are great, but it’s the choreography that takes it to another level", also remarking "and let’s say HELLO to Janet’s cleavage, which had a starring role in this clip." King Magazine raved "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." Critics continued to praise Jackson's revealing wardrobe removal in the video, with one review exclaiming "if Janet's vulnerable delivery isn't enough to bring you home, the shameless shirt ripping near the end of the video will certainly lead to a change of heart", while 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."

Live performancesEdit

The song received little promotion, with Janet only performing "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.

It was later performed on Jackson's The Velvet Rope Tour, Rock Witchu Tour, and Number Ones: Up Close and Personal 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.

Legacy and influenceEdit

  • 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.
  • In August 2013, Australian electro duo Cosmo's Midnight selected "I Get Lonely" as the song they would like to perform on The X-Factor in an interview.
  • Kelly Rowland's performances of "Motivation" were inspired by Janet's "I Get Lonely" performance, outfit, and choreography, including performances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the 2011 BET Awards, which featured a guest appearance by Trey Songz. Yahoo! Music interviewed Rowland, who confirmed the performance was inspired by Jackson, which "was considered by many to be the highlight of the night". Idolator said Rowland stole the show with her "Janet Jackson inspired number", while another critic commented "Kelly Rowland paid tribute to Janet Jackson during her “Motivation” performance".[35][36] 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. Rowland later exclaimed Janet "played a major role" when asked who her biggest inspiration to enter the music industry was.
  • Gawker likened electronic musician Jimmy Edgar's "In Deep" as being influenced by the alternate radio version of "I Get Lonely" known as the "TNT Remix", saying the song "tips its hat to both Timbaland and Teddy Riley by way of Roger Troutman" and was comparable to "an alternate scenario as to what it would sound like if Timbaland and Riley followed up their collaboration on the remix of Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely". The song appeared on Edgar's "Majenta" album, released 2012.
  • Billboard compared Brandy's "Angel in Disguise", a promotional single release from her sophomore album "Never Say Never", to "I Get Lonely", noting "the gutsy "Angel in Disguise" seems to borrow from Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely".
  • The Jermaine Dupri remix of Maxwell's "Lifetime" received comparisons to the song, with SoulBounce commenting the remix "treads awfully close to "I Get Lonely".
  • Various Youtube parodies of the song, such as "I Get Hungry", have been released by Jackson's fans.
  • "I Get Lonely" was mentioned in a chapter of Vicent Tolliver's novel "Baptized: A Novel".

Track listingsEdit

U.S. CD single (V25H-38632)
  1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix feat. Blackstreet) – 5:13
  2. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Bonus Beat Remix feat. Blackstreet) – 5:18
  3. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Club Remix) – 8:09
  4. "I Get Lonely" (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix) – 5:15
  5. "I Get Lonely" (Album Version) – 5:17
U.S. CD maxi single (V25D-38631)
  1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix Edit feat. Blackstreet) – 4:16
  2. "I Get Lonely" (LP Edit) – 4:03
  3. "I Get Lonely" (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix - Radio Edit) – 5:15
UK CD maxi single (VSCDT 1683)
  1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix Edit feat. Blackstreet) – 4:17
  2. "I Get Lonely" (Extended Street Remix) – 5:13
  3. "I Get Lonely" (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix) – 5:15
  4. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Remix Sessions Part 2) – 8:39
  5. "I Get Lonely" (LP Edit) – 4:03
Australian CD single (8950162)
  1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix Edit featuring Blackstreet) – 4:16
  2. "I Get Lonely" (Extended Street Remix) – 5:13
  3. "I Get Lonely" (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix) – 5:15
  4. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Remix Sessions Part 2) – 8:39
  5. "I Get Lonely" (LP Edit) – 4:03
  6. "Together Again" (Tony Moran 7" Edit w/ Janet Vocal Intro) – 5:29
U.S. promo CD single (DPRO-13108)
  1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix Edit featuring Blackstreet) – 4:16
  2. "I Get Lonely" (LP Edit) – 4:03
  3. "I Get Lonely" (Janet Vs. Jason - The Club Remix - Radio Edit) – 3:13
  4. "I Get Lonely" (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix - Radio Edit) – 4:02
  5. "I Get Lonely" (Call Out Research Hook #1) – 0:14
  6. "I Get Lonely" (Call Out Research Hook #2) – 0:11
UK promo CD single (VSCDJ 1683)
  1. "I Get Lonely" (LP Edit) – 4:03
  2. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix Edit feat. Blackstreet) – 4:17
European 12" single (VST 1683)
A1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix feat. Blackstreet) – 5:13
A2. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Bonus Beat Remix feat. Blackstreet) – 5:18
A3. "I Get Lonely" (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix) – 5:15
B1. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Remix Sessions Part 2) – 8:39
B2. "I Get Lonely" (Jason's Special Sauce Dub) – 6:40
U.S. 12" single (7243 8 38632 1 1)
A1. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Club Remix) – 8:10
A2. "I Get Lonely" (Jason's Special Sauce Dub) – 6:40
B1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix feat. Blackstreet) – 5:13
B2. "I Get Lonely" (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix) – 5:15
U.S. 12" promo single (VSTDJ 1683)
A1. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Club Remix) – 8:09
A2. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Remix Sessions Part 2) – 8:39
B1. "I Get Lonely" (Jason's Special Sauce Dub) – 6:40
B2. "I Get Lonely" (LP Version) – 5:17
U.S. double 12" promo single (SPRO-13108)
A1. "I Get Lonely" (Jason Vs. Janet - The Club Remix) - 8:10
A2. "I Get Lonely" (The Jason Nevins Radio Remix) - 3:13
B1. "I Get Lonely" (Jason's Special Sauce Dub) - 6:40
B2. "I Get Lonely" (LP Version) - 5:19
C1. "I Get Lonely" (TNT Remix feat. Blackstreet) - 5:13

Official versions/remixesEdit

  • Album Version – 5:17
  • LP Edit – 4:16
  • Video Edit – 4:45
  • Extended Street Remix (aka Main W/ Blackstreet Ext. Pt. 1) – 5:12
  • TNT Remix (Janet Only) – 5:15
  • TNT Remix Edit (feat. Blackstreet) (aka Teddy Riley TNT Remix Video Edit) – 4:16
  • TNT Bonus Beat Remix (feat. Blackstreet) (aka Main Pass 2) – 5:20
  • TNT Main Pass #2 – 5:11
  • Teddy Riley Test Pressing Mix (feat. Blackstreet) – 5:21
  • Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix – 5:15
  • Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass [Radio Edit] – 4:02
  • Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix #2 – 5:33
  • Janet Vs. Jason - The Extended Club Remix – 8:09
  • Janet Vs. Jason - The Club Remix – 7:03
  • Jason Vs. Janet - The Radio Remix - 3:15
  • Jason Vs. Janet - The Remix Sessions Part 2 – 8:39
  • Jason Vs. Janet - The Extended Radio Remix – 3:58
  • Jason Vs. Janet - The Special Sauce Dub – 6:43
  • Silky Velvet Ballad Mix – 5:22
  • Summer Uptempo Mix – 3:15
  • Call Out Research Hook #1 – 0:14
  • Call Out Research Hook #2 – 0:11


Peak positionsEdit

Chart (1998) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 21
Canadian Singles Chart 18
Dutch Top 40 18
European Hot 100 Singles 14
French Singles Chart 72
German Singles Chart 75
Italian Singles Chart 7
New Zealand Singles Chart 6
Swedish Singles Chart 50
Swiss Singles Chart 4
UK Singles Chart 5
Billboard Hot 100 3
Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 5
Billboard Pop Songs 29
Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales 1
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 10
Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales 1

Year-end chartsEdit

End of year chart (1998) Position
Billboard Hot 100 43
UK Singles Chart 42


Country Certifier Certification Sales
United States RIAA Gold 500,000
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