Janelle Monáe has ended her five-year hiatus with the release of her latest album, The Age Of Pleasure. A stellar amalgamation of the singer-songwriter’s diverse artistic elements, the album invites listeners to a world of self-love, acceptance, and freedom. Building on her prior work, it represents a highly anticipated evolution of Monáe’s musical journey while retaining her playful and energetic style.
Across 14 tracks, the album boasts an eclectic list of collaborations featuring artists like Seun Kuti, Egypt 80, Doechii, Grace Jones, Nia Long, Amaarae, Sister Nancy, and CKay. It also arrives alongside the announcement of her upcoming North American tour across 26 cities, which will make stops in major cities like Toronto, New York, and Atlanta, to name a few.
Not a newcomer to the art of blending genres, the musician’s latest body of work serves as a testament to her artistic audacity. With a runtime of a little over half an hour, the album packs a punch, presenting a sonic tapestry that spans the Black diaspora.
Unlike 2018’s Dirty Computer, the project floats away from “dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves.” Instead, the music becomes the medium of communication, sending a message of community and unity. It stands as a tribute to life’s delights, a toast to the joys of being alive, with an open invitation to listeners of all gender identities and affirmations.
Tracks such as “The Rush” and “Haute” offer nods to the spectrum of gender fluidity, while “Lipstick Lover” is an anthem celebrating queer Black bodies. Its accompanying music video, which was recently given a censored makeover, has stirred up conversations and led to a toned-down version for mainstream viewers.
Throughout the release, the singer boldly encourages listeners to live their truth, whether it’s through emotional self-reflection or physical exploration. Ultimately, it attempts to resonate with themes of self-growth, affirmations, and personal liberation, with tracks like the pre-release single “Float” celebrating personal victories.
Listen to Janelle Monáe’s The Age Of Pleasure below.