Janelle Monae’s Electric Lady

JANELLE-MONAE-ELECTRIC-LADY-e1376434058729I recently saw Janelle Monae in concert which has prompted me to write about the perfection that is Electric Lady. I appreciate what Janelle Monae put out prior to this album, but none of it has caught me the way this album has. Excellenty written, spanning across genres, with a sci-fi narrative that manages to stay really fucking real. Nothing out there now can compare. No other artist emulates what Janelle Monae is putting out there right now, not just musically, but energy-wise, if that makes sense. She is singular in her ferocity and tenderness, and, in short, a badass motherfucking bitch.

Electric Lady is Monae’s third album, and with it she continues the story of an android on the run in the city of Metropolis. It’s interspersed with DJ introductions, serving the illusion that what we’re listening to is radio in the future, nevermind that the DJ is clearly emulating a very funky fresh 70’s disk jockey. These little interruptions push the narrative along, and we learn a little bit about Cindi Mayweather, her haters, her fans and the political climate of this fictional moment. The album does a very good job of mirroring our current political climate and commenting on it, without every being too heavyhanded or preachy. Ultimately Cindi Mayweather stands for the other in our world, and Monae with her music empowers that other.

Electric Lady is most importantly full of really good music. Beyond what the album represents, what it stands for, the story it attempts to tell, the music is so fucking good. It is rock, rap and pop, love ballads, rockabilly and funk. Tracks stand alone as testaments to genre and influence, and they together create this expansive experience of genre and booty shaking beats. Let me tell you, what tracks Q.U.E.E.N. and Electric Lady do to me, the way they make me move and feel, I just can’t praise them enough. They are the perfect duo, blending seamlessly into one another and featuring some of my all time favorite artists, Erykah Badu and Solange. I can’t get enough, this is music that appeals to the masses, but feeds their souls too.

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