Janelle Monáe has never quite fit into any musical or personal label that people have tried to put on her. With her newest single, "I Like That," she celebrates what makes her different in a sexy, R&B slow jam. This song is the fourth single off her upcoming fourth album Dirty Computer, which is due to be released on April 27.
This song marks significant growth for the artist. Contemporary R&B is usually associated with upbeat songs or slow jams about lovers and partners. While previous Janelle Monáe songs like "Primetime" and "It's Code" do fall into this category, "I Like That" shows that self love can be just as sexy as romantic love. Despite being a single from Dirty Computer, the song could've easily fit right along side the eclectic R&B songs from Monáe's previous album The Electric Lady.
Another interesting factor about the song is that it displays a newfound sense of confidence that wasn't there before. Although Janelle Monáe has always been unapologetic about who she is, this song really enhances the "sexually liberated" empowerment found in the music videos for "Make Me Feel," "Django Jane," and "PYNK."
"You don't own me or control me and you will not use my image to defame or denounce other women," Monáe said in an interview for The Guardian.
For those who are familiar with Janelle Monáe's musical discography up to this point, the song feels like a personal triumph we can use to celebrate not only Janelle Monáe, but our own selves. Before Janelle Monáe released her first three albums, she released a hard-to-find demo project called The Audition. A mix of pop and R&B, the album showed Monáe trying to figure out her own worth as a music artist, particularly on the introspective track "Cindi."
When you align "Cindi" with every Janelle Monáe song up to "I Like That," you realize that Janelle Monáe is here to empower us and to teach us that we can all love every part of ourselves, even if it takes a while. In "I Like That," Monáe croons, "I'm always left of center, that's right where I belong." More than ever, Janelle Monáe embraces who she is, and that's definitely something to aspire to!
Listen to "I Like That" in the video below!