"I'm Better" is a consummate jam. Its insistent beat and repetition of the title's claim means that, even if you don't have it on loop on Spotify, it's going to be on repeat in your head. Resistance is futile. But it's not just exciting because it's a great song; it's exciting because of what it could signify. By which I mean: is Missy Elliott releasing a new album in 2017? You'd certainly hope so. Her last album, Respect M.E, came out all the way back in 2006, and, my goodness, I've missed Missy.
In 2016, she dropped two new tracks "WTF (Where They From)" and "Pep Rally," but, as Pitchfork observed, this was "like giving Saltines to someone crawling across the Sahara" when compared to Missy Elliott's unbelievable output between 2001-2006 (four entire albums) and lengthy silence following this time.
During an interview with Billboard around the time "WTF (Where They From" dropped, when asked about a new album, Missy Elliott responded, “I want to say 2016 but I don’t want to give a time. Nowadays you say a time, they’ll stone you.” As Billboard themselves observed, it was hard not to be a tiny bit skeptical about this claim. Way back in 2008, according to journalists who heard the new music, Missy Elliott had almost made an entire album, Block Party, but this never got released.
But Missy was insistent. When asked whether things were different now, she stated, “Yes, yes, definitely.”
While we didn't get a new Missy Elliott album in 2016, there's an obvious explanation for why this might have been the case. The musician suffers from Graves' Disease, an autoimmune illness, and she told Billboard, “My blood pressure was always up from just overworking.” Hopefully she's taking things a little slower these days to self-care, and, for anyone who is a genuine fan, that's got to be good news.
But there have been further hints that a new album is genuinely on the way. Last August, she posted the following picture on her Instagram account along with the caption:
"Where can I find the illest new undiscovered dancers🤔 send me to your IG page"
And a post 13 weeks ago showed one of "my dancers" in rehearsal. This would imply she intends to tour soon, which normally accompanies a new album.
So, while we've waited a long, long time for a new album, all signs point towards that most exciting of things: not just a new Missy track, but a whole new body of work from the talented musician. So get excited. This is just the beginning. 2017 is going to be the year a whole new generation learns to love Missy Elliott.