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That's the Way Love Goes (Janet Jackson single - cover art)

CD single cover art.

"That's the Way Love Goes" is the lead single from Janet Jackson's 1993 album, Janet. Released on April 20, 1993, the song became a worldwide hit and was also Jackson's biggest number-one single in the United States, staying atop the Billboard Hot 100 for a total of eight weeks. It also won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. To date, the single has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and is considered one of Jackson's signature songs, along with "Nasty", "Rhythm Nation", "Together Again" and "All for You", among others.

BackgroundEdit

"That's the Way Love Goes" was written and producd by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. It contains a sample of James Brown's 1974 number-one hit "Papa Don't Take No Mess". As the lead singe from Janet., the song had to stark contrast to her previous album Rhythm Nation 1814. Jackson was not initially excited about the track the first time when she heard it, which prompted her to ask Jam and Lewis to give her a tape of it to listen to just as she was leaving for vacation. When she returned in January the following year, she told the producers, "You know that track you did? I love it. It's the absolute bomb", according to Billboard.

Jackson then came up with the song's title and the first draft of the lyrics had a lovelorn tone that was very different from the final version. She then called Jimmy Jam early in the morning to tell him she was going a different direction, casting the lyrics aside for a more seductive light. "If" was the original choice for the lead single by Virgin Records, however, Jackson argued otherwise. "Everybody was talking about 'If'", says Jam. "To me, your first single should say, 'Welcome to the album. If you like this, check out the rest.' And we really felt 'That's the Way Love Goes' was keeping in with the spirit of the rest of the album. And since it went to number one, we were right!" "If" was later chosen to follow-up "That's the Way Love Goes" as the second single from Janet.

Co-producer Jimmy Jam again spoke about Janet. developing the concept for the song and its title, saying "janet. was very much a departure from Rhythm Nation in that we were all kind of happy and in love, and that’s what the album ended up reflecting. It was about creating what that sounds like – what ‘sexy’ sounds like, what ‘love’ sounds like. For us, ‘That’s the Way Love Goes’ was the perfect entrée, if you will, into what the album was going to be. At one point in the recording we took a two-week break for the holidays and Janet went to a place in Anguilla called Cap Juluca, her favourite little getaway spot. She said, ‘Would you make me a cassette of all the tracks?’ I put ‘That’s the Way Love Goes’ on for the heck of it, which sampled ‘Papa Don’t Take No Mess’ because I’d been a big James Brown fan back in the day. Two weeks later, she comes back, walks into the studio and says, ‘We’ve gotta do that track! Oh my God, we played it non-stop!’ At that time, she and René were staying at my house. At about one in the morning, the intercom went off in my bedroom. She goes, ‘Jimmy? Are you awake?’ I said, ‘I am now.’ She said, ‘I’ve got the concept. It’s going to be called ‘That’s the Way Love Goes’.’ Throughout the whole project, it was our favourite record. We liked everything we did, but there was something about that song that we just thought was so different and really captured that part of her life."

The song later appeared on Jackson's greatest hits compilation albums Design of a Decame 1986/1996 and Number Ones.

CompositionEdit

"That's the Way Love Goes" is set in common time, in the key of G minor. Jackson's vocal chords ranges between the tonal nodes of high-tone F3 to low-tone Bb4. The song is in a medium tempo of 100 beats per minute with the chord progression being set like Am–E–Gb

Critical receptionEdit

"That's the Way Love Goes" received extremely positive reviews from critics and was praised for being innovative and a departure from her previous works, leading to an evolution to an edgier style. Entertainment Weekly described the song as "gently percolating pop" and "easygoing", with another critic saying "the sexy lyrical composition blends well with the seductively arranged harmony of the song." Rolling Stone described the song as a "warm bed of soul sounds", Amazon calls it "extremely slinky", while AllMusic says it qualifies as both "sultry" and "hypnotic".

Billboard exclaimed it to more of an adult affair than her previous releases, saying "Janet leaves the flirting to the kids and instead lets her guard down for her lover ("Come closer baby closer / reach out and feel my body.")" The L.A. Times described "That's the Way Love Goes" as "one of the most endearing pieces of romantic pop confection of the '90s." "The song is a highlight of Jackson's latest and best album, "janet.," a silky collection of contemporary R&B/pop that explores questions of sexual awakening and desire with a classy sense of pop craft and convincing passion." Suite 101 said "That's the Way Love Goes" and the "janet." album "shattered any illusions the public still held that Janet remained a little girl. Filled with sexual desires and adult fantasies, Janet broke boundaries but still managed to channel her desires into chart-topping hits."

Chart performanceEdit

"That's the Way Love Goes" debuted at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100. Two weeks later, a day before Jackson's birthday, it became Jackson's sixth number one on the Hot 100, eleventh number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and ninth number one on the Hot Dance Club Play. The single is also Janet's biggest hit on the Hot 100 Airplay, where it spent ten weeks at number one, in addition to being Jackson's most successful single in the U.S. to date. Internationally, it reached number one in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand; the top five in Finland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom; and the top ten in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and Sweden. The song is also the biggest selling single by a female artist in South Africa, spending 9 weeks at number 1.

"That's the Way Love Goes" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number fourteen and peaked at number one. The single was certified gold by the RIAA on November 12, 1993. "That's the Way Love Goes" remained at number one for eight weeks — the most successful chart performance by any member of the Jackson family, even exceeding the longevity of any of Michael Jackson's single's peaks at number one. The single earned a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in addition to BMI Pop Awards, BPI Sales Awards and Billboard Awards, among various other accolades.

Awards and accoladesEdit

"That's the Way Love Goes" earned Jackson her second Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and was also nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The song also received various Billboard awards and sales awards internationally.

In 2009, "That's the Way Love Goes" was ranked number 427 on Blender's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born", with VH1 ranking it as one of the "Greatest Songs of the '90s" in 2012.

Year Award Nominated work Result
1993 MTV Video Music Awards Best Female Video ("That's the Way Love Goes") Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Dance Video ("That's the Way Love Goes") Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Choreography ("That's the Way Love Goes") Nominated
Billboard Awards Top Pop Albums Artist – Female Won
Billboard Awards Top R&B Single – Airplay ("That's the Way Love Goes") Won
Billboard Awards Top R&B Artist – Female Won
Billboard Awards Top Hot 100 Single of the Year ("That's the Way Love Goes") Nominated
BMI Pop Awards Most Played Song ("That's the Way Love Goes") Won
BPI Sales Awards (UK) Silver Award ("That's the Way Love Goes") Won
Grammy Award Best R&B Song ("That's the Way Love Goes") Won
Grammy Awards Best R&B Vocal Performance – Female ("That's the Way Love Goes") Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards Single of the Year – Female ("That's the Way Love Goes") Won
Soul Train Music Awards Song of the Year ("That's the Way Love Goes") Nominated
1994 American Music Awards Favorite Soul/R&B Single ("That's the Way Love Goes") Won
2008 VH1 Top 100 Love Songs (#52) Won
SoulBounce Top 100 R&B Songs (#33) Won
2009 Blender 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born (#427) Won
2012 VH1 40 Greatest Songs of the '90s (#4) Won

Music videoEdit

That-s-The-Way-Love-Goes-janet-jackson-17559726-600-435

Screen cap from the video.

The video was directed by Jackson's former husband René Elizondo, Jr. in March 1993. Set in a loft, Jackson is depicted amongst her friends who persuade her to play her new song. Jackson plays the song, being interrupted by a backing dancer who pauses it to tell her "Yo, this is slamming!" The song then resumes playing while Jackson and her friends begin to dance along to it. The video was choreographed by Tina Landon. The music video is also infamous for introducing a then-unknown Jennifer Lopez, who appeared as a backing dancer and also had a spoken line during the video's opening dialogue. Lopez would later credit Janet as the inspiration to be a singer and performer in the entertainment industry, saying "When I saw the "Pleasure Principle" [video] it inspired me to get into this business" and "I can also never forget the magnificent Janet Jackson as she is a big inspiration for all my dance and music videos."

PopMatters praised the video, saying "The video for “That’s the Way Love Goes” once again showcases Janet and her friends, but this time the portrait is much more sensual and relaxed. When this video was released, Janet had been out of the public eye for several years. The video gave hungry fans a fresh eyeful of a radiant, sexy-looking Janet, murmuring a tribute to the joys of physical love." Idolator also praised Jackson's evolution to an edgier image and style with the video, exclaiming "Ms. Jackson had finally shed her bulky “Rhythm Nation” uniform in exchange for a midriff baring top and a choker, long before anyone would associate her name with the words “wardrobe malfunction”.

"That's the Way Love Goes" was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards: Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, and Best Choreography. The video is featured on the Janet. and Design of a Decade compilations, the limited bonus-DVD edition of Janet's All for You album, and the From Janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos compilation. Behind the scenes footage of the making of "That's the Way Love Goes" was also released.

Live performancesEdit

Thatsthewaylovegoeslive

Jackson performing "That's the Way Love Goes" on the All for You Tour in 2002.

Janet performed the song as a medley with "If" at the MTV Video Music Awards. The audio recording of the performance appears on the limited double disc edition of janet., while a remix of the medley entitled the "CJ FXTC Club Mix & CJ FXTC Bass Hit Dub" appears on her second remix album janet. Remixed. The song was also performed along with "Because of Love" on MTV's New Year's Eve special.

"That's the Way Love Goes" was also performed on French entertainment show Les Années Tubes and was later performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during promotion for her ninth studio album 20 Y.O.

Jackson has performed the song on all of her tours since its release, including the Janet. Tour, The Velvet Rope Tour, All for You Tour, Rock Witchu Tour, and Number Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour.

Legacy and impactEdit

"That's the Way Love Goes" is one of Jackson's biggest hits and is known as one of her signature songs, often being praised for its vocals, innovative production and timeless aura. It's also noted for being an alternative to popular radio trends and for being an essential part of Janet's growth as an artist and entertainer, becoming a massive shift in both her music and image with the song's music video. It also continues to inspire pop artists today, with the song often being covered and Britney Spears crediting "That's the Way Love Goes" as the inspiration for "Touch of My Hand", which appeared on her fourth album "In the Zone". To date, the song continues to receive various awards and accolades, with it being ranked among Blender's "500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" in 2009 and placing at #4 at VH1's "Greatest Songs of the '90s" in 2012.

Yahoo! Music describes "That's the Way Love Goes" as "iconic" and timeless, calling it a "silky, sultry, and iconic smash that sounds as good today as it did in 1993", also noting "it went all the way to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 where it remained for eight weeks." Billboard praised the song's structure and longevity, saying "That indelible refrain: "Like a moth to the flame / burned by the fire / my love is blind / can't you see my desire?" That slinky Jam & Lewis beat. Even at 20 years old, this Janet jam can still ignite any house party, much like the one in its music video", and also commented on its influence in pop culture, exclaiming the song as "a sexual awakening for both Jackson and American culture" and classified it as one "of the most sexually frank to reach the upper reaches of the charts at the time."

AllMusic called it "the biggest and best hit from janet.", while The L.A. Times described "That's the Way Love Goes" as "one of the most endearing pieces of romantic pop confection of the '90s." "The song is a highlight of Jackson's best album, "janet.," a silky collection of contemporary R&B/pop that explores questions of sexual awakening and desire with a classy sense of pop craft and convincing passion." GuidetoGay called the song unexpected and "equally sexy" as her image, "but unlike Madonna’s ‘Erotica’, ‘janet.’ left more to the imagination. Our first taste was the sensual lead single, ‘That’s The Way Love Goes’", which had previously "sat at #1 on the Australian ARIA chart." "While most expected her to return with an in-your-face dance track, Jackson “eased in the side door” with a more soulful groove. The music video was equally laid back, showing Jackson chilling with her dancers - one of whom was a then unknown Jennifer Lopez."

Idolator noted "That's the Way Love Goes" and its accompanying video as being an essential part of Janet's transition to an edgier style, saying "Ms. Jackson had finally shed her bulky “Rhythm Nation” uniform in exchange for a midriff baring top and a choker, long before anyone would associate her name with the words “wardrobe malfunction”. Slant Magazine remarked the song as being a departure for Janet's previous style and what dominated radio at the time, being unique and an alternative to popular trends. "But while true singer's singers like Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men ruled the charts, Janet's "That's the Way Love Goes" offered a subtler alternative. With its measured hip-hop loop and titular one-line hook, the song was sleek, smart, and sexy—everything you didn't expect from the lead single from a Janet album."

Many critics praised the opening lines of the song as being memorably and hypnotic, with one review exclaiming "Janet makes it read like poetry". "That's The Way Love Goes" didn't surface until seven years into Janet's post-Control career, and realistically, no one had any reason to think she was sexy enough to pull it off. Where Janet used to hint at getting it in, she now openly admitted to wanting it without hesitation; "Go deeper baby, deeper...you feel so good I wanna cry." At 25, it made sense for her to give up the coyness of her earlier years. But, who knew she'd pull it off quite so well?" Pop! Blerd remarked the song "offered up a whole different Miss Jackson", analyzing it as "a smooth, seductive groove that had nothing in common with the high energy dance tunes that had been her previous claim to fame". J!-Ent raved about the single, writing it "debuted at #1, featured a sexy video and just a groove and beat that you just can help but fall in love with. The sultry vocals of Janet Jackson and that hypnotic groove ceases to get old."

Rich Juzwiak of Gawker calls "That's the Way Love Goes" a "classic" that "everyone's heard a million times", asking "Have you listened to this song lately? Like, really listened to it, not just took it for granted as the pop wallpaper that megahits can become over time? It's worth it." The song was also praised for its "hypnotic" tempo and vocals, also being noted for the pivotal role the video played in Janet's evolution to a sexier, more adult image. "This song is all about the audacity of chill — it bumped its way into pop culture 19 years ago to launch Janet's fifth album (but third one that really mattered), janet. Instead of hitting us in the face with any of the album's many uptempos, Jan, Jam and Lewis teased the set with the relaxed hip-hop soul of "That's the Way Love Goes." The album it comes from was all about her sexual blossoming, and here's where the petals started to move. The song relies on deceptively gripping hooks (earworms are never chill and this is crawling with them) and exploits Janet's musical muttering [possibly] better than anything before or since. For not demanding too much and letting her just ooze, this song resulted in the vocal performance of the woman's career." SoulBounce called the single's release 'strategic timing' "to urge the label to go with something that was romantic, grown and laid-back, but still had that slight aspect of Hip Hop coolness that made the track move, instead of opening the course of the janet. era with a big dance record", also exclaiming "this single for Janet was, at a minimum, a genius move". "This track earned Janet her second Grammy for "Best R&B Song" and counts as her sixth number one single. Because of its broad appeal, it would thrive on Pop stations (she's a Jackson, after all), Urban radio and Adult Contemporary formats." "It still sounds fresh to this day, and I'd be willing to bet that people who aren't even die-hard Janet fans have always been in love with this single."

Another critic described it as an "extravaganza" and "easily iconic", praising both the song and its infamous music video. "With the sex-drenched refrain ‘Like a moth to a flame burned by the fire, my love is blind can’t you see my desire‘, Janet Jackson launches into the biggest hit of her career in the US, a silky smooth flirt-fest that can set any house-party on fire – as depicted in the Rene Elizondo-directed golden-hued video featuring a then-unknown Jennifer Lopez cozying up to choreographer Omar Lopez looking all cool right next to Janet, who, incidentally sports abs that desperately deserve the Nobel Prize." "The Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis/ Janet Jackson production is a supreme baby-making extravaganza – incorporating Jam and Lewis’ smooth Minneapolis sound with Janet’s slinky soul drenched vocals. As Janet sensually coos ‘Don’t mind if I light candles, I’d like to watch us play, baby I’ve got on what you like…‘, it’s really, REALLY hard not to think about getting it on. Easily, iconic."

Track listingsEdit

UK CD single
  1. "That's the Way Love Goes" (LP Version) – 4:25
  2. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ R&B 7" Mix) – 4:10
  3. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ R&B 12" Mix) – 6:16
  4. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Club Mix 12") – 6:23
  5. "That's the Way Love Goes" (Macapella) – 6:22
  6. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Instrumental) – 6:14
UK promo 7" single
  1. "That's the Way Love Goes" (LP Version) – 4:25
  2. "That's the Way Love Goes" (Instrumental) – 4:25
UK 12" single
  1. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ R&B 12" Mix) – 6:16
  2. "That's the Way Love Goes" (LP Version) – 4:25
  3. "That's the Way Love Goes" (Macapella) – 6:22
  4. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Club Mix 12") – 6:23
  5. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Dub) – 6:14
  6. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Instrumental) – 6:14

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U.S. 12" single
  1. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ R&B 12" Mix) – 6:16
  2. "That's the Way Love Goes" (LP Version) – 4:25
  3. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Club Mix 12") – 6:23
  4. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Dub) – 6:14
U.S. promo CD single
  1. "That's the Way Love Goes" (That's the Remix (We Aimsta Win) #1) – 5:42
  2. "That's the Way Love Goes" (That's the Remix (We Aimsta Win) #2) – 5:14
  3. "That's the Way Love Goes" (That's the Remix (We Aimsta Win Instrumental)) – 5:42
U.S. CD maxi single
  1. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ R&B 7" Mix) – 4:10
  2. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ R&B 12" Mix) – 6:16
  3. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Club Mix 12") – 6:23
  4. "That's the Way Love Goes" (Macapella) – 6:22
  5. "That's the Way Love Goes" (CJ FXTC Instrumental) – 6:14
  6. "That's the Way Love Goes" (LP Version) – 4:25

ChartsEdit

Chart positionsEdit

Chart (1993) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA) 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 16
Canada (RPM) 1
European Hot 100 Singles 1
France (SNEP) 15
Germany (Media Control AG) 9
Ireland (IRMA) 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 11
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 2
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
US Hot Club Dance Songs 1
US Adult Contemporary 16
US Pop Songs 1

End of year chartsEdit

End of year chart (1993) Position
Australian Singles Chart 17
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 3
Dutch Singles Chart 42
Swiss Singles Chart 32
Billboard Hot 100 4

End of decade chartsEdit

Chart (1990–1999) Position
Billboard Hot 100 17

CertificationsEdit

Country Certification
Australia Platinum
United Kingdom Silver
United States Platinum
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