Janelle Monáe Unveils New Album and Single for Her ‘Lipstick Lover’

Janelle Monae rocks a striped suit and a hat at the Film Independent Spirit Awards 2017

Janelle Monáe is back with a bang! The singer, rapper and actress has announced her first album in five years, The Age of Pleasure, and shared a new single, “Lipstick Lover”, a romantic reggae tune that celebrates queer intimacy.

Janelle Monae wearing a black velvet dress with crystals and a starry headpiece at the 2022 Met Gala
Janelle Monae sparkles in custom Ralph Lauren at the 2022 Met Gala

Table of Contents

  1. Who is Janelle Monáe?
  2. What is The Age of Pleasure about?
  3. What is “Lipstick Lover” about?
  4. How did Monáe tease her new album and single?
  5. What else has Monáe been up to?
  6. Call to Action

Who is Janelle Monáe?

Janelle Monáe is an American musical recording artist, actress and model signed to their own imprint, Wondaland Arts Society, and Atlantic Records. They were born in Kansas City, Kansas, to Janet, a janitor, and Michael Robinson Summers, a truck driver.

A Screen Actors Guild Award and a Children’s and Family Emmy Award went to Monáe, and she also received eight Grammy Award nominations. The ASCAP Vanguard Award honored Monáe, and Billboard Women in Music gave her the Rising Star Award (2015) and the Trailblazer of the Year Award (2018). In recognition of their artistry and activism, Boston City Council declared October 16, 2013 as “Janelle Monáe Day”.

Music Career

Monáe’s musical career began in 2003 upon releasing a demo album titled The Audition. In 2007, Monáe publicly debuted with a conceptual EP titled Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). Their first full-length studio album, The ArchAndroid, a concept album and sequel to their first EP, reached number two on the US Top Heatseekers chart when Monáe released it through Bad Boy Records in 2010. ² Fun. featured Monáe as a guest vocalist on their single “We Are Young” in 2011, which topped the charts of more than ten countries and earned a Diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), exposing Monáe to a wider audience. ² The fourth and fifth installments of the seven-part Metropolis concept series, Monáe’s second studio album, The Electric Lady (2013), debuted at number five on the Billboard 200.

Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer

Monáe’s third studio album, Dirty Computer (2018), also a concept album, was released to widespread critical acclaim; it was chosen as the best album of the year by several publications; it earned Monáe two nominations at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. It was accompanied by the science fiction film of the same name. The album peaked within the top ten of the Billboard 200 and was further promoted by Monáe’s Dirty Computer Tour. In 2022, they wrote the cyberpunk story collection, The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, based on the album.

What is The Age of Pleasure about?

The Age of Pleasure is Monáe’s fourth studio album and their first since 2018’s Dirty Computer. It is set for release on June 9, 2023. According to Monáe’s statement about the album,

This is our audio oasis made with love and signed with cherry red kisses from me to you.

The album title suggests that Monáe is embracing their sexuality and sensuality more openly than ever before, as well as celebrating their freedom and joy in a world that often tries to oppress them.

What is “Lipstick Lover” about?

“Lipstick Lover” is the second single from The Age of Pleasure, following the single “Float” featuring Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. It is a romantic reggae tune that celebrates queer intimacy and expresses Monáe’s attraction to their “lipstick lover”. Moreover, the song features sugary harmonies and an earworm hook that will make you want to sing along.

Janelle Monáe in a red dress and lipstick looking at her friend who is floating in a swimming pool with blue water and palm trees in the background.
Janelle Monáe by the pool side in the “Lipstick Lover” single.

The song is also an ode to Monáe’s own identity as a non-binary person. “Lipstick Lover” is a song by Janelle Monáe, released on May 11, 2023 as the second single from her upcoming album The Age of Pleasure. In addition, the song is a reggae-infused track that expresses Monáe’s sensual and confident attraction to her female lover. Furthermore, the official music video, co-directed by Monáe and Alan Ferguson, features Monáe and her lover in various intimate scenes. The song’s lyrics include lines like:

‘Cause for your love, I’ll take my time
Just wanna feel your hips on mine
I really got a thing for my lipstick lover, lover, lover, lover
I’d do anything for my lipstick lover, lover, lover, lover

The song has been praised by critics and fans for its catchy melody, empowering message and representation of queer love.

How did Monáe tease her new album and single?

Monáe announced her new album, The Age of Pleasure, with a new single, “Lipstick Lover”, on May 11, 2023. She teased the single with a short clip of her emerging from a shallow pool as the track played in the background. The video quickly gained traction online. She also previewed the song at her exclusive Met Gala after-party, where she performed it atop the bar. The Age of Pleasure is Monáe’s first album in five years and follows her previous album Dirty Computer.

What else has Monáe been up to?

Monáe has been up to various activities besides working on her new album. She has appeared in movies like Harriet and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, published her first book The Memory Librarian, and narrated the ABC/ESPN’s NBA Saturday Primetime campaign. During quarantine, she enjoyed spending time with her friends, learning French, DJ’ing, and playing trivia games. She also spoke out about social justice issues and joined protests against police brutality.

References: WikipedeaRollingStoneIMDBIMDB-Bio

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