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The Meaning Behind The Song: What’ll I Do by Janet Jackson

The Meaning Behind The Song: What’ll I Do by Janet Jackson


What’ll I Do is a poignant ballad by Janet Jackson, released as the eighth and last single from her iconic album “janet.” in 1993. This emotional song explores themes of longing, dependence, and the fear of losing the love of someone special. As with many of Janet Jackson’s songs, What’ll I Do showcases her incredible vocal range and ability to convey raw emotions through her music.

Lyrics and Analysis

The lyrics of What’ll I Do express the vulnerability and desperation of a person who is deeply dependent on their partner for happiness and satisfaction. The chorus poses the central question: “What’ll I do for satisfaction? If you take away your heart.” This line reflects the sense of desperation and loss that would accompany the departure of a loved one.

In the verses, Janet Jackson touches on feelings of loneliness and the fear of being unable to move on from a lost love. She sings, “I can’t take no more of missin’ you, I don’t know just what I’m gonna do. How can I love another? Oh, you don’t know just what you mean to me.” These lines highlight the depth of the protagonist’s emotions and the struggle to find solace and fulfillment without their partner.

The bridge amplifies the longing and desire for the partner’s presence by repeating, “What’ll I do, baby?” This repetition emphasizes the significance of their love and the impact it has on the protagonist’s life. It further emphasizes the desperation and uncertainty that accompany the potential loss of this relationship.

Personal Connection

As a devoted fan of Janet Jackson, I have always been captivated by the raw emotions she expresses in her music. What’ll I Do is a song that particularly resonates with me because it speaks to the universal experience of dependence on a loved one. At times, we may find ourselves so entwined with our partner’s presence and affection that the thought of losing them becomes unbearable. Janet’s heartfelt delivery in this song perfectly captures the emotional rollercoaster that comes with such a dependency.

Album Information

What’ll I Do was released as a Double A-side single with Whoops Now, the seventh single from Janet Jackson’s album “janet.” The single reached the 49th position on the Australian charts. Produced by Janet Jackson and Jellybean Johnson, the song’s lyrics were written by Janet Jackson, Steve Cropper, and Joe Shamwell.


What’ll I Do by Janet Jackson is a beautifully crafted song that captures the essence of love’s power and vulnerability. With its heartfelt lyrics and Janet’s emotive vocals, this ballad resonates with listeners who have experienced the depths of longing, fear, and dependence in a relationship. The song serves as a reminder of the profound impact love can have on our lives and the struggles we face when it is threatened or lost.

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