The description that Janelle Monáe gives for her new track is apt:
PYNK is a brash celebration of creation. self love. sexuality. and pussy power! PYNK is the color that unites us all, for pink is the color found in the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies of humans everywhere… PYNK is where the future is born…
The thing about empowerment songs like this is that it doesn’t take much to derail them lyrically. Go too far in the personal direction and you can make the song unrelatable to a large segment of your audience; conversely, if you go too far towards generic, you can make the song just a mass of meaningless words. Monáe manages to strike the balance by making the metaphor broad but keeping the meaning clear. You know when she’s talking about sexuality and you know when she’s talking about femininity. The best part is that the dividing line between the two, while distinct in many places, is also easily interchangeable and merges flawlessly on several occassions.
Monáe is a genre dancer and she knows it. With Make Me Feel and Jane Doe she gave us Prince-liness and hip-hip respectively. This time around she gives us a certain amount of eclectic pop mixed with a subdued rock bridge for something that defies exact classification. There’s a hint of electro-pop in the beginning that shifts by the bridge and becomes a lot more bombastic by the time the bridges come in. The song escalates throughout until she and her backing vocals are lifted up in celebration–a shift from the more sweet-sounding murmur that dominates the verses and makes the song very sweet.
This track seems to be the last single before the official release of the singer’s new album. Based on what we’ve heard so far, it’s hard to predict what to expect from it aurally…and we expect that’s what she wants. As for the content, this feels like we are going to get a project that is both highly personal and yet will have people able to see themselves in the story that develops throughout.
Dirty Computer: An Emotional Picture drops April 27.