Hunnypot Does...
Powered by CircleSquareLA


Written by 

My first time through Janelle Monáe's The Age of Pleasure,  I had two thoughts; this is very different from her previous albums in style and this is a very quick album, only 31 minutes long.  Janelle makes a big shift from her Afrofuturist persona, character driven themes of race, power and humanity, shifting focus from outwardly political to inwardly personal.  The lyrics and music change from future dystopias to having fun, sexual, self-love and expression with an R&B, reggae, Afrobeat and soul sound. Monáe offsets bold, dirty lyrics with calmer, mellow beats with trumpets, steel drums, and soulful pianos.

We start with “Float”, the longest song on the album, featuring Seun Kuti and Egypt 80’, and they let’s us know right from the start this is different, “No I’m not the same/I think I done changed.”  The horns on this track hit so nicely. We move onto "Champagne Shit", with a dancehall sound and marching band horns flowing into, not really noticing though, "Black Sugar Beach". All the songs flow so well into each other, at times you don’t realize a new song has started. We then have an ultra self-confident jam in "Phenomenal" with Doechii, “I'm lookin' at a thousand versions of myself, And we're all fine as fuck, Say it to my face, Bitch, say it to my face, Say it.” The powerful ode to self-reliance and fearlessness, Janelle gives us "Haute", “They say I look good (Good), They say I look haute (Haute) ,They say I look pretty (Pretty), Can't tell me I'm not,” also with a nod to gender-fluidity, “A bitch look pretty, a bitch look handsome.” We have Grace Jones on "Oooh La La", a very short 35 second “song.”  The soulful "Lipstick Lover" is one of my favorite tracks. It is a seductive, Caribbean groove and a queer experience of love and pleasure. “I like lipstick on my neck , It let me know I'm your number one select, I like lipstick on my neck, Hands around my waist, so you know what's coming next, I wanna feel your lips on mine, I just wanna feel a little tongue, we don't have a long time.” 

The second half of the album has a more reggae feel with more pleasure-seeking lyrics, songs like "The Rush" with Nia Long and Amaarae and "Water Slide" with a more sexually euphoric meaning.  Janelle hits us with “Feel your ocean come to my moon, Let our rain become a monsoon” in "The Rush" and the many metaphors in "Water Slide", about self-pleasure.  The "French 75" is more of an intro than a song, but we do hear Sister Nancy on this track.  We come to "Know Better" with CKay, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80’ and a nice Afrobeat rhythm, a nice upbeat groove to make you dance, another one of my favorites. "Paid in Pleasure" is another fun bouncy song to make you dance, but a little too short, once you start hitting that groove the song is over. We move onto a reggae or a rock steady tune, "Only Have Eyes 42".  Probably the most soulful performance on the album, a nod to polyamory that concludes with a euphoric string outro. “'Cause you're the one, you're the one, Double the fun, triple the time for love, 'Cause you're the one, you're the one, You suck the words from my tongue, That's when I knew, I only (I only), I only (I only), I only have eyes for two (I only have eyes for two).”

We finish this journey Janelle takes us on with "A Dry Red".  A more romantic song with Spanish guitar, but a nice way to finish off this album.  I have always admired Janelle’s voice, style, acting and look, but was not a huge fan of the music itself.  I really enjoy this album, I love the mix of the horns with the reggae, afrobeat, R&B and soul sounds all coming together, I only wish the songs were longer, by the time you are feeling a song, we are onto a different song. For those reasons, The Age of Pleasure is 100% Hunnypot Approved!

-One Love, Todd


Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Twitter