Janelle Monáe – “I Like That”

In a couple of weeks, soul-music futurist Janelle Monáe will return with her much-anticipated new album Dirty Computer. Thus far, all the album’s singles have branched out in bold new directions: Princely strut on “Make Me Feel,” bars-heavy rap on “Django Jane,” glimmering new wave on “PYNK.” This morning, Monáe has shared a new track called “I Like That.” Musically, it’s the closest thing to conventional R&B that we’ve heard from Monáe in a while. But since it’s a Monáe track, it still bursts with ideas and feelings.

“I Like That” is an anthem of self-assurance, a song about finding pride in your own differences. It’s a warm, organic, slow-building song made with lots of organ and guitar, and with some cool gasping backing vocals. And Monáe’s vocal is casually virtuosic, calm and in-charge in ways that sound almost conversational: “I’m always left of center, and that’s right where I belong / I’m the random minor note you hear in major songs.”

Monáe also acts as her own guest rapper, delivering a fast and easy verse about being a kid in school, not being able to afford Air Jordans, and being made fun of: “But even back then, with the tears in my eyes, I always knew I was the shit.” Listen to the track below.

Dirty Computer is out 4/27 on Bad Boy.