‘Screwed’: Janelle Monae & Zoe Kravitz Turn Post-Election Depression Into a Sunny Pop Anthem
Remember the grim, gray morning of November 9, 2016? (Why the fuck would you ever want to?)
Janelle Monae – sometimes known as futuristic electro-robo diva Cindi Mayweather – certainly does, and she wrote a summery bop of all bops dedicated to feeling genuinely screwed ever since that moment.
Janelle’s new album, Dirty Computer, is out as of Friday (April 27), and it’s a fierce blend of sexual liberation and self-empowerment, challenging the patriarchy and tackling racial and gender inequality — all while living a life unapologetic and getting the funk down.
“Screwed” is a clear standout, and a total Song of Summer ’18 contender: with an assist from Big Little Lies free spirit and savior Bonnie – otherwise known as Zoe Kravitz! – Janelle channels her frustration while watching the world crumble around us into a sunny, sarcastic, fuck-it-all pop anthem.
“Let’s get screwed / I don’t care! / You fucked the world up now, we’ll fuck it all back down,” the two declare on the immediately catchy, entirely fucks-free chorus. “We’ll put water in your guns / We’ll do it all for fun! / Let’s get, let’s get screwed.”
In addition to post-election depression, Janelle explained that the song was also inspired by Gloria Steinem’s tearful quote “I’m just tired of being screwed, and being screwed by my friends,” in the Shirley Chisholm documentary, Unbought and Unbossed.
When there aren’t literal bombs falling from the sky, Janelle drops some food for thought in the bridge: “Everything is sex / Except sex, which is power / You know, power is just sex / You screw me and I’ll screw you too.”
That’s based on a quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde, although there doesn’t appear evidence he said it, according to The Internet. It’s been bouncing around for a while, whoever originated the thought – and only adds to the song’s excellent contrast between its seemingly chipper energy (it pairs nicely with Ciara‘s “Livin’ It Up”!”) and an underlying sense of dread and hopelessness representative of the current climate.
That exasperated laugh, followed by “we’re so screwed“? Basically the musical equivalent of this:
Oh, and that nod to Prince‘s “Kiss” with that intro! It’s got everything, really.
The song is not only an obvious highlight, but the best “Screwed” since the one found on Paris Hilton‘s debut – and that is high praise.
“Screwed” was released on April 27. (iTunes)
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Photo credit: Atlantic Records / JUCO