A teensy part of us was holding out hope that to Janelle Monáe's "What Is Love" would be a space jam cover of the Haddaway track made (in)famous on "Saturday Night Live." But a larger part of us was relieved to find out it's not. (And maybe we're better off leaving such a classic untouched. That would be like re-painting the "Mona Lisa" TBQH.)
Like something straight out of Carnaval, "What Is Love," from the upcoming film "Rio 2" (she's also joined by Bruno Mars and B.o.B. on the soundtrack), is so bursting with boundless joy thanks to samba rhythms, get-up-off-of-your-seat percussion, bells, whistles, and party vocals (think Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" takes a trip to the rainforest) that we're gonna go ahead and call it: This may be the new "Happy."
The track feels more like a freestyle salute to Motown than the intergalactic R&B dystopia of The Electric Lady, but it's every bit as heartfelt as the COVERGIRL #GirlsCan spokeswoman pops the question,"What is love if it's not with you?" The answer: "In your arms is where I long to be/ 'Cause being with you gives me sanity."
There's also a video that cuts between Monáe in the studio and irresistibly charming tropical birds dancing along to the track. Whether you check out the clip or just play the infectious track, get ready. Your head's about to bob Haddaway-style in 3, 2, 1...
Photo credit: Atlantic/Marc Baptiste