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Janelle Monáe Returns to Music with a Queer and Joyful Bang: “Lipstick Lover” is the Summer Anthem We’ve Been Waiting For

by Emily Lauletta

After five long years without a new music release, fans of Janelle Monáe will be pleased to hear that the actress and singer is finally back in the recording studio. The “Pynk” singer just released her newest single and dropped a video to go along with it. “Lipstick Lover” is the second single off of Monáe’s newly announced upcoming album, The Age of Pleasure, which is set to be released on June 9th. 

The single feels like what summer would sound like if it was a song. Monáe is the queen of blending elements of funk, R&B, and disco to create pop perfection, which is exactly what she did on “Lipstick Lover.” Its’ message of queer joy and catchy refrain make this a must-add to your Pride 2023 playlist. 



The video is as vibrant as the single. Directed by Alan Ferguson and Monáe herself, it follows Monáe as she navigates through an exuberant (and delightfully gay) summer pool party. The song and video also explore themes of both community and self-love, in all definitions of the term. These are not new motifs for Monáe, who has been consistently honest and wonderfully experimental in her music over the course of her career. Her 2018 album Dirty Computer featured songs that explored queerness, community, and self-love, similarly to “Lipstick Lover.” Though the production, instrumentals, and general vibe of the album’s first two singles (the first of which being “Float”) introduce new musical elements that lead us to believe that The Age of Pleasure will be something we’ve never heard before.

Monáe has clearly stayed busy since the release of Dirty Computer. She’s appeared in several blockbuster films including Glass Onion and Antebellum, and she’s consistently been one of the best dressed at the Met Gala for the past few years. That being said, we’re so excited to see Monáe returning to music. Her joyful, quirky, and sweet melodies truly make her an important and distinctive queer voice in the music industry.

Top photo: Screen grab from “Janelle Monáe – Lipstick Lover [Official Music Video]” from @janellemonae on YouTube

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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