“On The Floor” by Jennifer Lopez (ft. Pitbull)
Most simply put, Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” is a dance-themed song. Thus the titular “floor” which the listening audience is being advised to get “on” would of course be the dance floor. But J-Lo and Pitbull are not necessarily speaking to the listening audience in general, unless said audience does in fact consist of ‘party freaks’ and ‘animals’ who enjoy expending excessive amounts of energy getting their boogie on.
Indeed this track serves partially as an ode to “a new generation of party people”, and this grouping of individuals is global in scope. That’s why J-Lo gives a shoutout to localities as diverse as Brazil, Ibiza and yes, even the Motherland in acknowledging such persons. And again, the primary purpose of the tune is to serve as an encouragement for them to dance.
Meanwhile Pitbull takes on the role of general support, though his lyrics are not as uniform in subject as those of his collaborator. For instance, he dedicates ample time to actually addressing a romantic interest. This occurs most pointedly in the first verse.
And he also uses the opportunity of said passage to let her know that even though he may play games with her, it isn’t advisable for her to do the same. Or viewed alternatively, he’s like a mentalist or something when it comes to dealing with ladies. And in fact this verse has very little to do with dancing, though he does conclude it on such a note.
So even though “On the Floor” may have proven to be an international mega hit, one in which J-Lo set out to venture into sounds she never generated before, lyrics-wise it isn’t anything revolutionary. In fact it is based on two tropes which we come across quite often.
First and foremost would actually be one of the most-common in the music industry, which is admonishing the audience to dance. And secondly, this is one of those kinds of tracks in which a certain group of people, in this case clubheads, are being singled out as a unique “generation”, or what have you.
And the implication is that the vocalist(s) herself is also down with the cause, even being a leader in that regard, as she has taken it upon herself to get the party jumping on this particular night.
When did Jennifer Lopez release “On the Floor”?
This track is from Jennifer Lopez’s 2011 project Love?, which by that time was already the multi-faceted entertainer’s seventh-studio album. More specifically the tune came out on 8 February of that year as the lead single from the project, with its label being Def Jam Records.
The producers of this song are Kuk Harrell and RedOne. RedOne is also amongst its writers, as are the following songwriters:
- AJ Junior
- Teddy Sky
- Geraldo Sandell
- Gonzalo Hermosa
- Ulises Hermosa
- Bilal Hajji (aka The Chef)
Success of “On the Floor”
“On the Floor” proved to be a big hit for J-Lo. In fact it was somewhat of a comeback song for the songstress as. J-Lo was actually not really musically active between 2008 and 2010. And prior to its release she hadn’t had a notable hit since 2007’s “Do It Well”. And even the entire album that particular song was featured on, 2007’s “Brave”, wasn’t that big of a success in relation to the standard Lopez had set prior.
In fact as the story goes, “On the Floor” was not originally intended to be the lead single for Love? J-Lo actually began developing the album while still under contract with Epic Records and in late 2009 actually issued another song, “Louboutins”, which was intended to serve the aforementioned purpose of being its lead single. That particular outing topped Billboard’s Hot Dance Songs chart but overall failed to really hit. And ultimately, it didn’t even make the track list of her “Love?” album.
So “On the Floor” took its place instead. And verily, it did its thing in terms of serving as the type of lead single J-Lo expected. For starters, it performed the phenomenal feat of topping music charts in over 20 nations. And amongst such was the UK Singles Chart, UK R&B Charts and Billboard’s Dance Clubs Songs lists. And overall it charted in nearly 40 countries, in the process peaking at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 itself.
Moreover certification-wise, this song has gone multi-platinum in approximately 10 countries. At the top of the list is it achieving quintuple-platinum status in Canada. But honorable mentions also include going double-platinum in the UK and triple-platinum in the US.
The music video to this song was directed by one Taj Stansberry. And whereas he may not be a household name, Stansberry has worked with many of the biggest hip-hop and R&B artists out there. Moreover, J-Lo enlisted real-life clubheads to serve as dancers and extras on the clip.
And in putting together, J-Lo gave fans the option of voting out of three possible endings which one would make the final cut. And according to the songstress, she did so to give casual viewers a chance to see how it feels to be involved in the music video-making process.
The visual went on to premiere, on the date of 3 March 2011, via two different venues. One would be via Lopez’s own official Vevo channel, as expected. But secondly, it was also featured on an episode of American Idol. And this was while Jenny from the block was simultaneously serving as a judge on the show. In fact the first time J-Lo and Pitbull performed it live was a couple of months later, once again on American Idol.
The video went on to become the very first music video by a female artist to hit a billion views on YouTube.
And as of the writing of this post, the video, as featured on YouTube, is nearing 2 billion views. In fact it proved so popular upon release that it is also partially credited with helping J-Lo reestablish her A list musical status, as expounded on earlier. In other words, the clip contributed significantly to the overall success of the song.
Notable Performances of “On the Floor”
Another notable performance of this song came in 2020. This was when Lopez rendered it during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
The first teasing of this track, via Jennifer Lopez, took place via her Twitter account during January 2011. And the track actually made its debut in the UK later that month. This was about a week before its official release date, probably as a response to the fact that a demo of it leaked sometime prior.
Jennifer is someone who has dealt with, shall we say her fair share of musical controversies. And rank “On the Floor” amongst the tracks which earned her such a reputation, as it has garnered its own accusation of unethical composition.
Indeed in this case, critics and casual listeners alike noted that Jenny’s outing was a bit too similar to a track entitled “Party O’Clock” that a much less-popular singer, Kat DeLuna, dropped in 2010. Even DeLuna herself publicly acknowledged, in direct response, that Lopez was “inspired by (her) musical sound and style”.
And at first Kat did not get up in arms over the whole ordeal as, being a Latina from the Bronx herself, she rightfully considers J-Lo as being someone who “helped paved the way” in the mainstream American music industry for individuals such as herself. However, as time progressed (and presumably as the song really began to blow up as illustrated above), her feelings changed.
And DeLuna rather presented herself as being a small fish that more or less got gobbled up by one of the big sharks in the games. Or as she put it, the entire scenario represented yet one of many cases of a major artist taking advantage of an upcoming artist. Or calling a spade a spade, she basically accused Lopez and co. of plagiarism.
However, Kat obviously never went as far as to file a lawsuit or anything like that. And as far as J-Lo’s personal response to the accusation, at first she denied being “aware of” it altogether. However, later, during the same interview, she verified her knowledge of its existence.
Samples on “On the Floor”
“On the Floor” samples a couple of other tracks. Most notably amongst the two is a 1989 song called “Lambada” that was dropped by a French-Brazilian group known as Kaoma.
And second is the 1990 bilingual edition of a song entitled “Crying He Left” via The Kjarkas, a band from Bolivia. And by bilingual, in this case that actually means it was rendered in Spanish and Japanese.
Pitbull and J-Lo actually dropped a completely-Spanish version of “On the Floor” in 2011. The said version goes by the tittle “Ven a Bailar”. And this version, whose title translates to “Come to Dance”, also experienced its own success, such as receiving a couple of nominations at the 2012 edition of the Billboard Latin Music Awards.