Earlier today, Janelle Monáe – known for her seamless fusion of concept albums and pop sensibility, as well as a starring role in Moonlight – released a music video for her new single PYNK. Grimes, aka Claire Boucher, provided harmonies. According to Boucher, the collaboration came about “abt a yr ago” while Monáe was workshopping songs in preparation for the release of her upcoming album, “Dirty Computer.”
Let’s mince no words here: PYNK is about vaginas. The song is an ode to the feminine, a funky, electronic Vagina Monologues that sees Monáe affirming her sexuality through pregnant visuals and suggestive lyrics. “Pink where it’s deepest inside, crazy/Pink beyond forest and thighs/Pink like the secrets you hide, maybe,” she utters, a pillowtalk prelude to the sensual chorus. Interestingly, Janelle explicitly refers to the Vagina Monologues in “Make Me Feel,” where she says, “let the vagina have a monologue.” Huh.
Take one look at the cover for the single – Monáe posing in a ruffled pair of what you could generously and naively call cowboy pants – and you’ll instantly see visual innuendo turned up to eleven. Oh yeah, and there’s a literal neon sign that says “PUSSY POWER” in a cut.
The music video’s shots are saturated in an elegant shade of pink, and have Monáe’s characteristic allusions to her concept album world of the Archandroid. But the video mostly eschews any coherence to her greater universe in favor of crisp edits and color coordination that would make Martha Stewart blush.
Musically, the song rebounds elastically between its verse and its swaggering chorus. The verse, Monáe’s tender morning whispers, like waking up lovesick, sundappled next to someone new; the chorus, pure passion and empowerment.
And any experienced Grimes listener (guilty) will notice Boucher’s harmonies. The two worked together previously on the music video for “Venus Fly,” which won the MuchMusic Video Award for Best EDM/Dance Video and the Juno Award for Video of the Year. And of course it slaps.
Watch the sublime Janelle Monáe’s PYNK below!