When Ari Lennox dropped her debut album Shea Butter Baby in 2019, the D.C. native was a young woman exploring love and heartbreak while trying to understand her self-worth beyond sex. Now, with her sophomore outing, Lennox ditches the romantic uncertainty and frustrations about not receiving the love she deserves for a sultrier, sexier, more self-assured collection of songs. “I just was being my regular hopeless romantic self and crushing on just completely terrible individuals that for whatever reason in that state I completely romanticized, and I’m recognizing I love the idea of love,” Lennox tells Apple Music radio’s Nadeska. “Sometimes it can feel like something that’s really unavoidable or unhealthy or avoidant. So it’s just really me just trying to maneuver through this dating life, which can be so exhausting.”
Described by Lennox as a “transitional space before my current ‘eat, pray, love’ journey,” age/sex/location is a play on online dating and AOL chat rooms, where Lennox’s adventures in dating began. The opening track, “POF,” named after the dating site Plenty of Fish, introduces Lennox’s frustrations with the lack of good men in her life. However, despite experiencing not-so-good outcomes with these lackluster relationships, she still desires companionship. Over a bluesy bassline and gentle percussion, Lennox yearns for love but asserts her power in understanding what she doesn’t want. “Young Black woman approachin’ 30 with no lover in my bed/Cannot settle, I got standards,” she sings.
Not every song on the 12-track project is about setting boundaries and lovelorn texts; the best moments are when Lennox pivots into the salacious details of her sensual pleasures. On the seductive and hypnotic “Hoodie,” Lennox lustfully crushes on a potential lover while trying to get underneath his clothes. She continues to express her passion and desires on tracks like “Pressure,” “Stop By,” and the Chlöe Bailey-assisted “Leak It.”
Other guests on the album include Summer Walker, who lends her buttery vocals on the Erykah Badu-esque closer “Queen Space,” and Lucky Daye, who does his best to woo Lennox on the flirtatious duet-skit “Boy Bye.” The song plays like a game of cat and mouse with Daye’s slick talk and player-like lines, and Lennox, who’s dismissive but secretly is kind of into him too, offers up her cheeky one-liners in response, singing, “Those lines belong in 1995/Just like them funky Nikes.” “I love people who play,” Lennox says of the song. “Or not play with my feelings, but we’re playing around. We’re goofing around as long as your actions or your energy can show that you’re a secure, nice person. Me and Lucky, it was just really innate and natural. And we’re just lovers of soul. I feel like lovers of love.”
age/sex/location showcases Lennox’s storytelling as the album starts with her search for authenticity in her suitors and ends with removing negative influences (“Blocking You”) and setting boundaries while emphasizing her self-worth (“Queen Space”). The evolution is evident in comparison to her Shea Butter Baby debut: Where she was hoping for reciprocation from her lover, now she demands it with a promise of cutting the relationship off without it.