Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 19 | The Electric Lady x Janelle Monae


Artist: Janelle Monae
Album: The Electric Lady: Suites IV & V (2013)

Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady: Suites IV & V, to my great anticipation, dropped  on 9.10.13 and it was an instant classic. From start to finish, this project has a continuous retro funk/soul/pop energy, accompanied by genius collaborations and an incredible live band sound throughout.  In so many ways, it's so reminiscent of 90's summer in Atlanta.  Anyone who is  true fan of the hip-hop music duo, Outkast, can hear Big Boi's influence in most of her work, along with other notable artist, however it's all her original style with no comparisons needed. The vocals, lyrics, and instrumentation all come together in such a lovely way, that a masterpiece production was inevitable. Even listening to it almost 3 years later, my sentiments remain the same. 

Although it was hard choosing even a 6/19 (with 3 interludes and 2 short introduction tracks, therefore it's really 5/14), my favorite tracks are: Electric Lady (tt. Solange), Primetime (ft. Miguel), Look Into My EyesDorothy Dandridge Eyes (ft. Esperanza Spalding), What an Experience, and Victory, which samples Lauren Hill's Zion to a subtle perfection.  This still does not exclude the fact that I am literally in love with every song on this album. 

I like the way she has yet to lose sight of her original technological/android theme that she started with on her debut album; the title is so fitting. The coolest thing about this entire project is Janelle's vivid imagination and how she uses it to convey her truth. As the ArchAndroid saga continues, her individuality rains pure gold on everything she touches. What is even more apparent is that it's not a rushed compilation, full of filler tracks and awful songwriting, which is something many of us can appreciate. 

Back in 2007, I remember attending one of her shows here in Atlanta.  From Sugar Hill and Apache Cafe to where she is now, watching this young gift to music grow has been incredible. She shows that a woman in the music industry is not subjected  to stripping herself of all her clothes, all her dignity, in order to be to be sexy. She doesn't have to compromise her art to appeal to the masses. Last but not least, she is using her gift to spread positive messages of love, unity, and rising above. This is the thing that I've always loved about her and it's what made people recognized that Janelle Monae is absolutely an artist way ahead of her time.


{original review posted on 09/14/13}
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