With the release of Janelle Monáe’s newest video, “Lipstick Lover,” the internet is alive with chatter about the nonbinary music superstar’s singular sound and style. If, like us, you can’t get enough of the irresistible “Lipstick Lover” video, we’ve got good news! The incredibly talented Monáe has plenty of previous videos to enjoy while you wait for the release of their new album, The Age of Pleasure.
The video for “Many Moons” from Monáe’s 2008 album Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) was originally released in April 2009. Directed by Alan Ferguson, it features Monáe playing multiple different androids at an android auction attended by the rich, famous and immoral.
Featuring the recurring character “Cindi Mayweather,” aka “The ArchAndroid,” Monáe’s first video showcases the synthesis of music and science fiction that makes her videos so sensational.
The video for “Tightrope [feat. Big Boi]” off 2010’s album The ArchAndroid was directed by Wendy Morgan. In this video, Monáe and her backup dancers wear black and white tuxedos. This “black and white” motif became an important part of Monáe’s aesthetic.
The video for “Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu” off 2013’s The Electric Lady was directed by Ferguson. “Q.U.E.E.N.” is an acronym that stands for “Queer, Untouchables, Emigrants, Excommunicated, and Negroid,” and in 2013, Monáe stated the song was for the “ostracized and marginalized.”
“It’s hard to stop rebels who time travel,” the Time Council announcer intones at the top of this mind-blowing sci-fi video. The announcer describes “Project Q.U.E.E.N., a musical weapons program in the 21st Century.” According to the announcer, this program allowed Wondaland to send out “various freedom movements” disguised as “songs, emotion pictures, and works of art.”
In the video for “Electric Lady” from Electric Lady, directed by Ferguson, Monáe appears as a college student. At the beginning of the video, she says goodbye to her mother. Their real-life mother plays this role.
Monáe’s mother says she’s never heard of the sorority called “The Electric Ladies,” but Monáe corrects her, saying it’s actually the “Electro Phi Betas” (say it out loud).
The videos from the songs on Monáe’s 2018 album, Dirty Computer, combine to form a 49-minute emotion picture of the same name. Released in December 2018, the emotion picture was directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning. This musical film adds context to the world of Dirty Computer, explaining that those who do not fit society’s expectations have been labeled “Dirty Computers” and subject to reprogramming.
One of the most arresting videos from the Dirty Computer emotion picture is the unapologetic anthem “Django Jane.” Donoho and Lightening direct this video. After watching this video, which features Monáe atop a throne, anyone would be hard-pressed to question the musician’s royal status.
The video for Dirty Computer‘s “PYNK” features many of the characteristic hallmarks that Monáe has developed for her videos. This includes groups of talented and beautiful Black women, convertible cars, impressive choreography and memorable costumes.
Directed by Emma Westenberg, this video (like several from Dirty Computer) features a guest starring role for movie star Tessa Thompson.
Crazy, Classic, Life
The video for “Crazy, Classic, Life” is directed by Ferguson and filled with subtle and exciting sci-fi concepts. This includes hovering vehicles, illuminated pavement markings and a party filled with diverse guests that must surely rank among humanity’s greatest shindigs. The song is a vow to live in spite of those who would outlaw one’s existence based solely upon one’s identity. As the lyrics state, “I am not America’s nightmare / I am the American dream.”
The opening of this video, taken from the Dirty Computer emotion picture, also includes a clip of another song off the album, “I Got the Juice (feat. Pharrell Williams).”
The newest music video from Monáe gives us a glimpse of their next album, The Age of Pleasure. Directed by Monáe and Ferguson, the video features a sapphic summer pool party for the ages.
This video was released only four days ago, on Friday, May 12, 2023. Nevertheless, it has already garnered over one million views. How many times have you watched it?
The Age of Pleasure will be available from Atlantic Records on June 9, 2023.
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