Janelle Monáe is that person in high school who got all As, was friends with everyone, was the best player on the basketball team and could play the cello. You know the one, great at everything and loved by everyone. Yep, that’s her. She has done an amazing job in Glass Onion and now has returned to the music scene with Float. I adore Monáe in movies and wish that she would act more…but I originally fell in love with her music…so I want her to do that more. In reality, I just want more Janelle Monáe, but who doesn’t?
Float sees Monáe team up with Seun Kuti, who is the youngest son of famous Nigerian Afrobeat / Jazz pioneer Fela Kuti, and now leads his father’s old band Egypt 80. Gone are the more electro hip hop beats of previous records like Dirty Computer in 2018, which is also her last studio album, in favour of a warmer more grounded sound. The trap beats are still there, but they play more of a secondary role to the horns and funk / soul grooves coming out of Egypt 80. Like I said before, this is a far more grounded and organic sound than we are used to from the self proclaimed ArchAndroid Janelle Monáe. I love the evolution of her music into this electro organic fusion that is both epic in scale, but more relatable.
Lyrically, Monáe is following the trend of 2022 / 2023 releases from artists like Lizzo, Beyoncé and P!nk who all focus on self – love, agency, power and celebration. During the track Monáe sings about her evolution as an artist and as a person. As she says, “I used to walk into the room head down / I don’t walk I float.” This is a song about self – confidence and pride in your ethnicity, sexuality and identity. Intersectional feminism is a bit of a hot topic, but this is a truly intersectional song about how all the different aspects of herself are meant to be celebrated. It is not about being proud to be a black woman or pride in LGBTIQA+, but all of it. Monáe knows who she is and this gives her power to float above all of it and love herself.
Float is a very uplifting and inspirational song. I think this song will speak to millions of people from different walks of life who walk with their heads down in shame, or closeted, or are overwhelmed with negative self-talk. It is great to hear new music from Janelle Monáe and see her become a multifaceted artist. I hope this single leads to a new record in 2023, but if not, this is an incredible track to give us.
Listen to Float
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