Artist: Janelle Monáe
Album No.: 2nd Studio Album
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Studio: Wondaland Arts Society
I’ve always been a big fan of Janelle Monáe This goes back before The ArchAndroid to The Metropolis days. I am absolutely in love with the connected theme of her albums. As with her previous albums, she uses futuristic scenarios to discuss prejudices found in today’s society.
This particular album focuses around a radio station that plays her music and it sounds like they’re on a college campus. During this futuristic time, the world is filled with androids, clones and humans. It sounds like there’s quite a bit of tension between the groups. Janelle Monae takes center stage as The Electric Lady/Cindi Mayweather. Some people believe that she is actually The ArchAndroid as well. She’s also being hunted by bounty hunters for unknown reasons. I would venture to guess that it had to do with her empowering the minority.
With 19 tracks on the album, this album hits a wide range of genres. It was extremely hard for me to put it in just one. If I HAD to choose it would be Psychedelic Soul, but it touches on Pop-Rock, Jazz, Gospel, and Neo-Soul. I really thought the list of featured artists was also very impressive. I mean she got Prince on the album!
She’s beginning to find herself. This particular album flows well with the others, but shows a lot of growth as well as her perfectionist nature. I definitely could hear a bit of Teddy Pendergrass, Diana Ross, James Brown, and Steve Wonder in many of her songs. She’s great at channeling the older greats.
There were a lot of beautiful, soulful ballads like “Can’t Live Without Your Love” and “It’s Code.” There were also some really other great songs, but my top 3 favorite songs would have to be “Q.U.E.E.N”, “Electric Lady”, and “Victory.”
“Q.U.E.E.N” features Erykah Badu and was one of the singles released. It talks about being happy with who you are even if others don’t approve. Many of her songs are very queer-positive, this one included. I know it has led a lot of people to question her sexuality.
“Electric Lady” features Solange and it would have to be my favorite out of the three. It’s an upbeat song that talks about how awesome a woman is.
“Victory” sent chills up my spine. It’s a beautiful song about fighting for a love lost and accepting the pain that comes with it. This comes in a very close second in my top 3.
Despite the fact that the album hits multiple genres it still works and conveys a sense of empowerment for women. I read an article about how she wanted to create this new woman where it’s not about the color of her skin or what she looks like, but what she does for her community. This album communicates that.
I would definitely suggest that everyone check it out. It’s one of my favorite albums of the year.