Grammy winner Janelle Monáe graces New Music Friday with The Age of Pleasure, her first full-length album in five years. It’s the long-awaited follow-up to her 2018 album, Dirty Computer.
The Age of Pleasure includes the previously shared tracks “Lipstick Lover” and “Float” featuring Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. The former track climbed to No. 13 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay chart in just three weeks.
Although the titles of the songs “Phenomenal” featuring Doechii and “Haute” may suggest a focus on vanity, the artist deftly blends in messages of self-affirmation to create a balanced composition.
While Monáe subtly references explicit themes in “Water Slide” and “Pain In Pleasure,” her prowess in creating sensual songs is evident in the cleverness of her lyrics.
The Age of Pleasure is a star-studded affair, featuring cameos from Grace Jones, actress Nia Long, Ckay and Amaarae.
In an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music, Monáe shared how The Age of Pleasure came to fruition.
“When I was writing The Age of Pleasure, I wrote it with friends for friends. This is for us. What I would do is if I knew we were having a party on that Friday or Saturday, on Monday and Tuesday, I’d be like, ‘All right. We’re going to write three songs. If the songs can’t work at the party, they’re not going on the album,'” Monáe explained.
She added, “I have my friend, who is my DJ, DJ Nana Kwabena, he worked on some of the songs on the project with me, and I was like, ‘Just play it, put it after this song, we’ll put it in the setlist.’ That’s how we made the album.”
As noted above, The Age of Pleasure is Monáe’s first effort since 2018’s Dirty Computer. That risk-taking album received recognition from Rated R&B and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 61st Grammy Awards in 2019. Its singles “I Like That” and “Make Me Feel” achieved gold certification in 2020.
Monáe’s Age of Pleasure Tour starts on Aug. 30 in Seattle, Washington, and ends Oct. 18 in Inglewood, California, with stops in several cities, including Kansas City, Philadelphia, Nashville, and Atlanta.
Stream Janelle Monáe’s new album The Age of Pleasure below.