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Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)

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Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
Single by Janet Jackson with Carly Simon featuring Missy Elliott
from the album All for You
Released December 11, 2001 (2001-12-11)
Format CD single, 12"
Recorded 2000–01;
Flyte Tyme Studios
(Edina, Minnesota)
Record One
(Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length 5:56 (Album version)
4:14 (Remix featuring Missy Elliott)
Label Virgin
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Janet Jackson
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Janet Jackson chronology
"Someone to Call My Lover"
(2001)
"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
(2001)
"Feel It Boy"
(2002)
Carly Simon chronology
"Love of My Life"
(1992)
"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
(2001)
"Let It Snow"
(2005)
Missy Elliott chronology
"Take Away"
(2001)
"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)"
(2001)
"4 My People"
(2002)

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" is a song by American singer-songwriter Janet Jackson with Carly Simon from Jackson's seventh studio album, All for You (2001). It was written and produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with additional lyrics by Simon. The R&B and hip hop song is built around a sample of 1972's "You're So Vain" by Simon, who also added some new spoken parts into the song; it talks about an unidentified man who attempted to extort money from Jackson. An official remix featuring Missy Elliott was released as the third single from the album on December 11, 2001 by Virgin Records.

The album version of "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" received mixed reviews from music critics, with some calling it a highlight from the album, while others criticized Simon's rapping. The remix version also received a mixed reaction from reviewers. The song reached number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Jackson's lowest-charting single since 1983, and also reached low positions worldwide. Its accompanying music video directed by Francis Lawrence depicts Jackson stalking a man in a hotel. "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" was performed on the 2001–02 All for You Tour.

Contents

  • Background and release 1
  • Composition 2
  • Critical reception 3
  • Chart performance 4
  • Music video 5
  • Live performance 6
  • Track listings 7
  • Personnel 8
  • Charts 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Background and release

According to Jackson, she phoned American singer-songwriter Carly Simon, asking for permission to use samples of her song "You're So Vain", but Simon wanted to re-record her vocals. She agreed, with Simon wanting to write new lines. Jackson's producer Jimmy Jam sent her the tracks they were already working on, and she went into a studio on Martha's Vineyard to record some material. She rapped, initially thinking that Jackson and the producers would not use it, but they eventually liked it. They decided to marry both tracks, as the singers thought it "worked perfectly", and it became a duet. Simon expressed that Jackson "could not have been sweeter or more appreciative".[1]

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" generated media speculation of who exactly the man described in the song was. Many journalists believed the song was about Jackson's ex-husband René Elizondo, Jr.[2][3] Jackson responded: "Everybody says that. Actually, that song's about a few people, not one person in particular. Everyone likes to [say], 'Ah, I know that's about Rene.' It's about a few people that have entered and exited my life."[4] Simon created a similar controversy when she released "You're So Vain". It was speculated to be about Warren Beatty or Mick Jagger, both of which she denied.[5]

In 2000, Jackson called American rapper Missy Elliott to reveal that she loved her work. She asked the rapper to work with her on a remix of the song "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)". Elliott then wrote and rapped for the remix, and became the third single from All for You on December 11, 2001.[6][7]

Composition

30-second sample from the song's chorus where Jackson and Simon sing "I betcha think this song is about you" repeatedly.

Problems playing this file? See .

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" is an R&B and hip hop song which features a "rap poem" from Simon and samples her song "You're So Vain".[8][9] Its composition excoriates an unfaithful lover for attempting to extort money, described as a "mean-spirited duet that rails against enemies."[10][11] Jackson unveils anger and deceit, saying "Thought you'd get the money too / Greedy motherfuckers try to have their cake and eat it too". She also offers a comeuppance to a "baby gigolo" who hollers at "everything that walks / No substance, just small talk."[12] Simon also cited the claims of sampled song "You're So Vain" to be written about Mick Jagger, singing "The apricot scarf was worn by Nick / There's nothing in the words that refer to Mick".[5] In response to critics regarding it about her divorce, Jackson explained it was directed towards several people, while Jimmy Jam revealed it to be written in regards to music executives and lawyers.[13]

Critical reception

Both the album and remix versions of "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" received mixed reviews from music critics. While reviewing All for You, Dan Aquilante from New York Post commented that the track would be remembered as one of the highlights from the album.[14] Michael Paoletta from Billboard magazine called the song a "clever sister-to-sister" song.[15] The New Rolling Stone Album Guide called the duet between Jackson and Simon "harsh", and found Simon's rap "silly".[16] John Mulvey of Yahoo! Music referred to it as "bizarre", and criticized Simon's rap, classifying it as "incompetent".[17] AllMusic's contributor Stephen Thomas Erlewine also was one of the reviewers who were unsatisfied with rapping by Simon.[18] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine considered the song the album's biggest misstep. He likened it to a car wreck: "impossible not to be horrified yet strangely intrigued", and called Simon's spoken-word verses "embarrassing".[10]

Chuck Taylor from Billboard reviewed the remix version of "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" and considered it "more of a breakdown than anything we might regard as a standard composition, but the ingredients somehow make musical gumbo".[8] Contactmusic.com criticized the number of guests on the single version, but said it created a "soulful and very catchy version", and noted that its "Grover Washington style sax break and the kind of infectious percussion vibe that Masters at Work are so adept at making".[19]

Chart performance

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" debuted at number 72 on the US Billboard Hot 100, before reaching a peak of number 28.[20][21] This peak became her lowest since 1983, when "Come Give Your Love to Me" reached number 58. Since the release of Control in 1986, every single released by the singer had peaked within the top 10, with the exception of "The Pleasure Principle".[21] The song additionally reached numbers 7, 20 and 26 on the Hot Dance Club Play, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs component charts, respectively.[22][23] In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at number 13, remaining for 10 weeks inside the chart.[24] The song debuted at its peak of number 20 in Australia, and reached number 49 in New Zealand.[25] In Europe, "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" failed to gain success. It peaked at number 69 in Germany, 54 in Romania, and 56 in Switzerland, although it achieved moderate success in Denmark, reaching the top 20.[25][26][27]

Music video

The music video for "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" was directed by Francis Lawrence,[28] with The Original Flyte Tyme Remix of the song being used. It was filmed at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. In the video, Jackson is stalking a man (played by Jerell Scott)[29] in an abandoned hotel. She summons Elliott and a legion of zombies, including one that was created from a toilet. Jackson is also seen eating a spider, smashing jugs of water with a baseball bat, and taunting the man using telekinetic powers. Simon does not appear in the music video. A video for the P. Diddy Remix also was released, and uses the same footage of The Original Flyte Tyme Remix, with P. Diddy appearing in some parts.

The video was nominated for "Best Cinematography" at the MVPA Awards in 2002.[30] It was also placed as the seventh best music video of 2001 by Slant Magazine, who said "it's been a while since we've seen the reigning Jackson crank up a little attitude. It's her own mini-'Thriller', if you will".[28] The video was included on the 2004 video compilation From Janet to Damita Jo: The Videos.[31] In 2002, American singer Britney Spears referenced and was inspired by "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" music video in her "Overprotected (Darkchild Remix)" video. It is seen in scenes of Spears walking down the hotel lobby and while in the elevator. Both videos also use the same hotel setting.[32]

Live performance

"Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" was performed by Jackson during the All for You Tour in 2001 and 2002. Gina Vivinetto from St. Petersburg Times, while reviewing the concert, noted that fans cheered with the performance.[33] The February 16, 2002 final date of the tour at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, was broadcast by HBO, and had an appearance by Elliott on the performance of the song. This rendition was also added to the setlist at its DVD release, Janet: Live in Hawaii, in 2002.[34]

Track listings

Personnel

Credits adapted from Japanese promo CD single liner notes.[45]

Charts

Chart (2001–02) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[25] 20
Belgium (Flanders Ultratop 50)[25] 20
Belgium (Wallonia Ultratop 50)[25] 25
Denmark (Tracklisten)[25] 19
Germany (Media Control Charts)[26] 69
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[46] 34
Ireland (Chart-Track)[47] 21
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[25] 49
Romania (Romanian Top 100)[27] 54
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 48
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[25] 56
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 13
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 28
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[23] 20
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[22] 26
US Hot Dance Club Play (Billboard)[22] 7

References

  1. ^ Gelman, Jason (April 25, 2001). "Janet Jackson On Teaming Up With Carly Simon".  
  2. ^ Jim, DeRogatis (April 24, 2001). "'"Janet's back to give her 'All for You. JimDeRo.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Music Notes: Janet Jackson Album".  
  4. ^ "Janet: Backstage Pass".  
  5. ^ a b "You're So Vain". CarlySimon.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ Bezdecheck, Bethany (2009), Missy Elliott, The Rosen Publishing Group, p. 9,  
  7. ^ "Janet Heads To Hawaii For HBO Live Special".  
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Chuck (November 24, 2001). "News & Reviews".  
  9. ^ Nichols, Natalie (April 22, 2001). "Keepin' It Real Conventional".  
  10. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (June 14, 2001). "Janet Jackson: All for You".  
  11. ^ =Seymour, Craig (August 10, 2001). "HER OWN RHYTHM NATION ; JANET JACKSON'S PERSONAL AND FIESTY LYRICS STRIKE A BEAT FOR WOMEN".  
  12. ^ Stout, Gene (July 5, 2001). "Janet Jackson's steamy album leaves room for romance".  
  13. ^ Gordinier, Jeff (2001). "Will the real Janet Jackson please stand up?".  
  14. ^ Aquilante, Dan (April 24, 2001). "PLEASED TO HEAT YOU".  
  15. ^ Paoletta, Michael (April 28, 2001). "News & Reviews".  
  16. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 411.  
  17. ^ Mulvey, John. "Janet Jackson 'All For You' Album Review".  
  18. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "All for You - Janet Jackson".  
  19. ^ "News & Reviews".  
  20. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (New York: Prometheus Global Media) 113 (47): 85. November 24, 2001.  
  21. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (January 12, 2002). "Chart Beat". Billboard (New York: Prometheus Global Media) 114 (2): 8.  
  22. ^ a b c d "All for You > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2008. 
  23. ^ a b "Janet Jackson – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Janet Jackson. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  24. ^ a b "Search Results".  
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Janet Jackson – Son Of A Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)".  
  26. ^ a b "Musicline.de – Chartverfolgung – Janet Jackson – Son Of A Gun".  
  27. ^ a b "Romanian Top 100".  
  28. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (December 15, 2001). "Top 10 Albums & Singles of 2001". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  29. ^ Moreno, Andrew (October 2008). "Jerell Scott". De Novo Magazine. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  30. ^ "The Music Video Production Association Announces This Year's Nominees For the 11th Annual MVPA Awards".  
  31. ^ From janet. to Damita Jo: The Videos (DVD liner notes). Janet Jackson. Virgin Records. 7243 5 99508 9 1. 
  32. ^ "Britney Spears' 10 Best Music Videos: Readers' Poll Results". Billboard. February 19, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  33. ^ Chonin, Neva (October 27, 2001). "Let Janet entertain you".  
  34. ^  
  35. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (European 12-inch Single liner notes).  
  36. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (European CD maxi-single liner notes).  
  37. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK 12-inch promo single liner notes).  
  38. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK 12-inch promo single liner notes).  
  39. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK promo single liner notes).  
  40. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (UK CD single liner notes).  
  41. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US 12-inch promo single liner notes).  
  42. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US double 12-inch promo single liner notes).  
  43. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US 12-inch single liner notes).  
  44. ^ Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (US promo CD single liner notes).  
  45. ^ a b Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You) (Japanese promo single liner notes).  
  46. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 51 – 2001".  
  47. ^ "Irish Top 50 Singles, Week Ending 10 January 2002".  

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