Janelle Monáe is ready for 'The Age of Pleasure,' and it's been five years coming
The summer belongs to Janelle Monáe and Janelle Monáe only. Sorry, those are the rules.
The Grammy-nominated "Make Me Feel" singer is gearing up for a summer of sensual tunes with her forthcoming album, "The Age of Pleasure," they announced on social media Friday.
"The Age of Pleasure. 6/9," Monáe tweeted. Yes, that is the real release date. If that seems cheeky, it was most likely intentional.
News of Monáe's "The Age of Pleasure," her first album since 2018, coincided with the release of her latest single "Lipstick Lover" and its accompanying music video.
In the not-safe-for-work video, Monáe attends a sensual pool party where she sways her hips with some women and caresses others, while singing about making love.
"'Cause for your love, I'll take my time," Monáe sings. "Just wanna feel your hips on mine."
In the video Monáe, who broke out in 2010 shuffling in a buttoned-up tux and faux hawk in their "Tightrope" music video, seems to let loose and bares even more skin for her most revealing looks yet.
While the spotlight on sex and sexuality might have taken some Monáe fans by surprise, it's not the first time the singer has tapped into her sensuality.
Monáe's 2018 album "Dirty Computer" was a "warm and vibrant tribute to the marginalized people, especially women and those with fluid ideas about gender and sexuality, whom Monáe sees as the true embodiment of America’s promise," wrote Times critic Mikael Wood.
Their sexual desires were especially prevalent in the songs "Make Me Feel" (reminiscent of Prince's "Kiss") and the slower-paced tune "Pynk."
"Pink like the tongue that goes down, maybe / Pink like the paradise found / Pink when you're blushing inside," she sings.
Quick reminder that in the music video she wore those pink bow-legged pants meant to look like a vagina and sang to rumored ex-girlfriend Tessa Thompson.
For some time now, sensual music that leaves listeners hot and bothered has been classic Monáe.
"If you're thinking Janelle Monáe just 'discovered' her sexuality then you obviously haven't been listening to her music because it's been in the lyrics the whole time," said one Twitter user.
"As a legit Janelle Monáe fan for over a decade now, this isn't surprising," wrote a second user. "Very exciting, but not surprising. She's been in her sexual liberation bag for like 5 years now lol."
Monáe has opened up about her sexuality and queer identity in recent years. In April 2022, the "Tightrope" hitmaker told The Times that they identify as nonbinary.
"My pronouns are free-a— motherf— and they/them, her/she,” she said.
On Friday, Monáe — who will star as French entertainer Josephine Baker for an A24 series — announced there's more afoot than "The Age of Pleasure."
"The TheyTriarchy has landed," the singer tweeted.
The TheyTriarchy has landed. 👑
— Janelle Monáe👽🚆🤖🚀🪐 (@JanelleMonae) May 11, 2023
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.