.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/janelle-monae-1378499589.jpg The Electric Lady

Janelle Monae

The Electric Lady

Wondaland/Bad Boy/Atlantic
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
September 10, 2013

You've got to admire an artist who can cut through the weight of her own pretensions. And with Janelle Monáe, the pretensions are pretty impressive. Her 2010 full-length debut, The ArchAndroid, was a head-spinning album conceived as parts II and III in an ongoing suite based on Fritz Lang's expressionist silent-film classic Metropolis. This album is parts IV and V, and it weaves hiphop soul, Seventies funk, gospel, jazz and rock while dropping references to sci-fi author Philip K. Dick and ghetto-revolutionary politics. Prince shows up for some Hendrixian soloing on "Givin Em What They Love," and Erykah Badu spreads butter around Monáe's fierce rap freestyle on the sumptuous hater-hating "Q.U.E.E.N." There's radio skits and cinematic overtures, too. But Monáe holds it together through sheer force of freakadelic will and a radical feminist's sense of self-exploration that makes lines like "I'm packing my spacesuit/And I'm takin' my shit and moving to the moon/Where there are no rules" seem like cosmic salvation and excellent travel advice.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Santa Monica”

    Everclear | 1996

    After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com