Janelle Monae has gone into mainstream territory on her single “Yoga,” featuring Wondaland label mate, Jidenna. Janelle Monae has been killing it under the mainstream radar since 2007 when she released her second EP, Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), off of Diddy’s Bad Boy label to rave reviews. It’s not hard to see why critics and devoted fans of the musical android (Monae isn’t actually human if you didn’t know about her ArchAndroid persona) want to see her music get more love. From writing her own music, to her soulful vocals that can grace any genre and sound amazing to the overall image she’s created for herself, if you haven’t heard anything from Janelle Monae, I’d suggest starting with her debut album, ArchAndroid (“Cold War” is epic), but that’s another conversation. Back to “Yoga!”
Now your reaction to “Yoga” might be different if you’ve listened to Monae’s previous work. “Yoga” isn’t the sexy slow jam “Primetime (featuring Miguel)” or the funky “Electric Lady,” but Monae never wants to put herself into a box, so don’t expect to hear her sounding the same on every track. This bouncy cut has Monae and Jidenna vibing over very current sounding production that has everything a single needs to become a hit these days. From a chorus instructing you to bend over like you’re about to attempt a downward dog to the beat breakdowns before the instructive yet catchy chorus, “Yoga” is a fun song that doesn’t sound like Monae is trying too hard, even though it’s different from her style.
The lyrics to “Yoga” are hands down my favorite part of this twerk-ready track. I can’t help but get into the track more when Monae references Michael Jackson‘s “Dirty Diana” or telling the haters to get off her areola (I’m sorry, did I hear that wrong? Your areola??). Lyrics like that can be cringeworthy, but the instant shock prevents that from happening. “Yoga” isn’t just a way to showcase a new sound for Monae, but it’s also introducing Jidenna, an exciting new R&B artist that is effortlessly infusing a current sound with an old school style (check out his single, “Classic Man”). I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this song on the radio soon, and I hope people go back and listen to Monae’s previous offerings as there’s a lot to discover. So while I wait for Janelle Monae and her label, Wondaland Record’s, compilation EP, The Eephus, to come out, I guess I’ll practice my yoga and limber up for some more songs that’ll make me want to dance.