New Crush: Janelle Monae

30 Sep

Simply put… Janelle Monae is fucking awesome.  She’s one of those artists whose name I kept hearing about long before I finally gave in and listened.  She is also one of those artists who does not disappoint, and in fact exceeds the expectations set by all that name dropping, and all while tearing it up on the dance floor and wearing some damn fine tux’s!

Her second full length album The Arch Android, widely [and bizarrely] reported as a debut, presents suites 2 and 3 of the on going epic of her Bowie like alter-ego Cindy Mayweather – a love lorn robot in an oppressive sci-fi society.  Monae masterfully uses this story to draw comparisons and allusions to the problems in our own society, following in the footsteps of Vonnegut, Huxley, Le Guinn and Orwell before her.  Yet perhaps the truly astounding proof of her talent is her ability to combine all of these heavy ideas and dense story lines into really fucking good music.  And by good, I mean downright toe tapping, dance with your headphones on amazing.  Truth be told, when you strip away the sci-fi facade what Monae is truly singing about are complex issues of race, representation, oppression and freedom, themes that form the bedrock of all great R&B, Soul, Funk, Punk, Hip Hop and even dance music out there.  In summation, it’s pretty rad to have a pop singer who is able to fluidly synthesize genres and book-smarts into great music.  Also, did I mention she look’s great in a Tux?  It’s a win-win all around I’d say.

For your viewing pleasure here’s what very well might be my favorite song of the year, “Tightrope”.

I also recommend checking out the “Tightrope (Wondamix)” version, featuring Lupe Fiasco and B.o.B. I wasn’t able to embed it here but it’s also damn good, and features a badass rap by Monae at the end.

Janelle Monae’s two albums, Metropolis: The Chase Suite’s vol 1, and The Arch Android: The Chase Suites vol 2 and 3, are widely available and well worth the listen.

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