Fall Music Preview 2013: The 26 Albums You Need to Hear

Paul McCartney, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Pearl Jam and 22 more of the season's biggest albums

Janelle Monae, 'The Electric Lady' (9/10)

Courtesy Wondaland Arts Society

"I started thinking about a new 21st-century breed of women," Janelle Monáe says of the process that led to her second album, The Electric Lady. "How does she make love? What are her feelings regarding politics, sexuality, religion, oppression? These questions led me to a portal into the future." The past was pretty important, too – she cites Bo Diddley, Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone as key inspirations. The disc also features a festival-worthy guest list, with spots from buddies Erykah Badu, Solange and Monáe's "musical icon and mentor," Prince. "Prince doesn't just appear on anybody's album," Monáe says. "To have him be a part of The Electric Lady was incredible – I'm still in disbelief."

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