Iggy Pop had descended into dark place marked by heroin addiction and the dissolution of his band, only to have David Bowie come to the rescue by helping get the Iggy and the Stooges a new record deal and producing the album. On the resulting Raw Power LP, James Williamson's buzzsaw guitar replaced Ron Asheton's primal blues licks, and Iggy moved lyrically from playful and scary to aggressive and lurid. "I created 'Penetration' at Williamson's mother's house one afternoon," Iggy recalled. "From that riff and that vocal I was able to conjure with it." The two "conjured" the rest of the album after this song.
Jason Mraz re-emerged after his disappointing second album with this lead single, a Jack Johnson-esque ditty about giving yourself fully to someone else. The success of the reggae-tinged song (it earned two Grammy nods and a spot on the Billboard singles chart for well over a year) was something the folk-pop singer never predicted when he wrote it in 15 minutes at home. "I played a happy-hippie chord progression that would probably work without 50 different Bob Marley songs," he told Rolling Stone. "I thought, 'It's too novelty. This is a nursery rhyme,'" concluding that "you can never guess what's gonna be a hit."