|Album||The Age Of Pleasure|
|Year of release||2023|
No, I’m not the same. That’s the way Janelle Monáe opens her latest album. It’s a correct statement, she’s definitely not the same anymore. Sex is the main theme on the 32 minute The Age Of Pleasure. It provides a number of good songs, but it doesn’t fascinate as much as her earlier work.
I learned about Janelle Monáe in 2010 when she had released her second album The ArchAndroid. The single Tightrope in particular made me take notice. Just as on her debut album Metropolis, the latest album was framed towards androids. Her image fit that perfectly. Tightly suited up and sexless.
From the next album, The Electric Lady, with Prince guesting, on forward, Monáe started addressing the LGHBTI+ movement and the just cause for equal rights specifically. Going forward, Monaé would speak out more and more on that theme and portray herself as being non-binary.
The following album, Dirty Computer (2018), addressed Monáe’s convitions more explicitly, and the subject of eroticism and/or sex became more prominent. The phenomenal single Make Me Feel was a global hit (and rightfully so). Monáe was superfunky and supersexy.
So, after 5 long years there’s a new album, number 4. The album was preceded by two singles, Float and Lipstick Lover. That last song was accompanied by an explicit video, showing lots of nudity, which Monáe herself didn’t shy away from as well. On May 11, 2023, she tweeted “Titties out for the next 15 years. ?”. It depicts Monáe’s current state of mind and the album’s content perfectly.
Even though the album is largely about sex, its joys and the pleasure of human interaction, Monáe sees the album as more than mere hedonism.
We had an Everyday People Wondaland party, and I was like, Oh, this is who I want to make music for. This moment right here, I want to make the soundtrack to this lifestyle. They get it. This is what we fight to protect. All of my work that centers around protecting my communities that I’m a part of, from the LGBTQIA+ communities to being Black to all of that.
My friends have gotten an opportunity to see a different side of me that nobody gets to see, and this album, this moment that I’m having, I’m allowing myself to show that version of Janelle that friends get to see all the time, I want to own all of me and be all of me.”
Janelle Monáe’s new album feels like a sultry, be it somewhat predictable, summer’s evening. Nonetheless, it does provide 30 minutes worth of pleasure.
Songs written by Ama Serwah Genfi, Anthony St Aubyn Kelly, Barrington Levy, Brian Thompson, Chukwuka Ekweani, Clifton Dillon, Derrick Harriott, Dorothy Patra Smith, Emelie Walcott, Ewart Everton Brown, Grace Jones, Handel Tucker, Herbert Harris, Janelle Monáe, Jarrett Goodly, Jaylah Ji’miya Hickmon, Leroy Romans, Michael McEwan, Nana Kwabena Tuffour, Nathaniel Irvin III, Ophlin Russell, Richard Foulks, Roman GianArthur, Sensei Bueno, Sly Dunbar, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Monet Parks and Winston Riley.
- Float (feat Seun Kuti & Egypt 80)
- Champagne Shit
- Black Sugar Beach
- Phenomenal (feat Doechii)
- Ooh La La (feat Grace Jones)
- Lipstick Lover
- The Rush (feat Amaarae & Nia Long)
- The French 75 (feat Sister Nancy)
- Water Slide
- Know Better (feat CKay, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80)
- Paid In Pleasure
- Only Have Eyes 42
- A Dry Red
What’s your take on The Age Of Pleasure? Let me know!
The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated.
Janelle Monáe – Rolling Stone photo shoot image: rollingstone.com
Janelle Monáe – The Age Of Pleasure image: spotify.com
Janelle Monáe – The Age Of Pleasure (vinyl) image: amazon.com