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.
The Electric Lady
- The Electric Lady
- Janelle Monae
- Wondaland/Bad Boy/Atlantic
From The Archives Issue 1192: September 26, 2013
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Around the Web
CrackedThe 5 Greatest Movie Sex Scenes
SalonThe 7 Most Tragic Band Deaths In Rock History
Mental Floss11 Hit Songs Originally Intended for Other Artists
Mental Floss24 Things You Didn't Know About 'Goodfellas'
DiffuserMusicians We've Already Lost in 2016
Cracked6 Bands That Reinvented Themselves To Get Famous
- Watch Beyonce's Surprise New Video 'Formation'
- A Polygamist Cult's Last Stand: The Rise and Fall of Warren Jeffs
- Watch Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Slam Politically Correct Youth Voters
- Slay Anything: Is Beyonce Beyond Criticism?
- Stephen King on 'Dark Tower' Movie: 'It's Likely to Happen'
- 40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time
- Max Weinberg on 'River' Tour, What He Learned From Bruce Springsteen
- Watch Blue Jean Committee Help Hall & Oates Announce Summer Tour