Our weekly podcast contains in-depth evaluation of the music we discover extraordinary, thrilling, and simply plain horrible. This week Senior Editor Anna Gaca hosts Contributing Writers Julianne Escobedo Shepherd and Heven Haile to speak about Janelle Monáe’s musical and private evolution over the previous decade, and the way their celebratory new album The Age of Pleasure serves as an oasis for queer listeners.
Hearken to this week’s episode beneath, and observe The Pitchfork Overview here. You can too take a look at an excerpt of the podcast’s transcript beneath.
Anna Gaca: Janelle is now making music that’s rather more explicitly about and for queer folks and Black folks, actually dialing into these audiences. How does that play out on this album?
Heven Haile: At a time like this, when queer individuals are being legislated away, simply creating music that may encourage pleasure is vital. Additionally they use sure phrases that you simply wouldn’t essentially perceive except you had been part of a selected group, and platform younger queer artists like Doechii and Amaarae on the album. And a number of the musical types, like reggae and Afrobeats, have been traditionally very homophobic and misogynistic as properly, so it’s significant for Janelle Monáe to faucet into them whereas enjoying this actually androgynous position, or this persona of a sultry strip membership proprietor, or a very down unhealthy lover, like Pepé Le Pew, who’s fawning over girls.
Gaca: I see Janelle Monáe and their profession present on this transitional second after we went from subliminally queer to explicitly queer in popular culture, they usually’ve been strolling proper throughout that line the entire time. And now they’re actually and figuratively throwing off their outdated uniform as a performer. It’s symbolic as a result of, whether or not it’s a lodge employee or a safety guard or a pop star, a uniform says, You recognize what to anticipate from me. I’m going to behave a sure means and maybe serve you the shopper. However with this album they’re tearing that off to say, No, titties out.
Haile: With this album they’ve pleasantly alienated their white, sci-fi dude viewers. I used to be on Reddit seeing reactions to the album, and folks had been actually, actually mad. They had been like, “Oh, they used to make such deep music with socio-political commentary and now they’re making these actually vapid songs.” However it’s like: You simply don’t get it.