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The Electric Lady

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Album Review

Prince, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Solange, and Miguel contribute to the fourth and fifth Metropolis suites, but it's not as if Janelle Monáe and her Wondaland associates were short on creative energy. Equally as detailed and as entertaining as The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady likewise is a product of overactive imaginations and detailed concept engineering, and it also plays out like a sci-fi opera-slash-variety program with style and era-hopping galore. Suite four is the album's busier and more ostentatious half, more star-studded and less focused, highlighted by the bopping "Dance Apocalyptic" and the strutting Badu duet "Q.U.E.E.N." Suite five is considerably stronger with a handful of firmly R&B-rooted gems. The inspiration for its overture is noted in the liners as "Stevie Wonder listening to Os Mutantes on vinyl (circa 1973)," but shades of Stevie's '70s work are heard later in more obvious ways. "Ghetto Woman" is impeccably layered soul-funk, fluid and robust at once, with chunky percussion and synthesizer lines bounding about as Monáe delivers a performance as proud and as powerful as Stevie's "Black Man." It contains an autobiographical 30-second verse that is probably swift and dense enough to make early supporter Big Boi beam with pride. The enraptured liquid glide of "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes," featuring Spalding, recalls "I Can't Help It," co-written by Stevie for Michael Jackson's Off the Wall. Earlier, on "It's Code," Monáe channels the yearning Jackson 5-era MJ. "Can't Live Without Your Love," presumably a paean to human love interest Anthony Greendown has Monáe — or Cindi Mayweather, aka Electric Lady Number One — yearning like never before. The album is sure to astound Monáe's sci-fi/theater-geek following. Its second half cannot be denied by those who simply value creative R&B that owes to the past and sounds fresh. Anyone can appreciate the phenomenal interludes, which are close to 3 Feet High and Rising level. Power-up to the Droid Rebel Alliance and the Get-Free Crew indeed.

Customer Reviews

Rivals Archandroid

Great follow up to Archandroid. As some have suggested, buy direct off her website, Apple need to stop ripping off Australian customers. Highlights so far for me are 'Primetime', 'What an Experience' and 'Dance Apocolyptic'.

SImply Stunning...

This is the album of albums. Oh Itunes Australia, why do you force people to look elsewhere for quality music...This album has been released inertnationally and here we are at pre-order status...dumbasses!! BUT back to the album.. Everything about this album is a jouney worth taking. I was always worried that when Janelle went mainstream, they would try and alter her to fit a specific genre, I am happy yo say, Janelle has remained true to her roots..If you thought the Archandroid was great, you will find this one to be brilliant. I hope to see her tour again at the Opera House. Well Done Ms Monae.

Brilliant!

Janelle's done it again. Her sophomore release evolves from, and outpaces 'The Archandroid' by leaps and bounds. She doesn't waste any time either. After the now traditional overture, she opens the album with a warning shot, in the form of the Prince assisted 'Givin Em What They Love'. After that's there's no stopping her, from the funky first single 'Q.U.E.E.N', to the smooth groove of the the title track 'Electric Lady', and the amazing Miguel assisted 'Primetime', a track I expect will be the soundtrack to many a bedroom encounter.

Other standouts include 'Ghetto Woman', a funky calypso-infused joint that wears it's Stevie Wonder inspiration proudly on it's sleeve, and 'We Were Rock & Roll', an uptempo number with a catchy hook.

This is now front runner for album of the year for me, and even with 19 tracks, it still has me hungry for more!

Biography

Born: 01 December 1985 in Kansas City, KS

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Growing up, Janelle Monáe (born Janelle Robinson) felt constrained by the limited resources offered to her in her greater Kansas City, Kansas home. When she finished high school, she moved to New York to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy with the intention of pursuing musical theater, but in 2004, after performing in a couple of off-Broadway shows and realizing there weren't roles available to her that she wanted, she moved to Atlanta to try her luck there. She soon joined a band and...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Janelle Monáe

The Electric Lady, Janelle Monáe
View in iTunes
  • $16.99
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Rock, Pop, Pop/Rock, Soul
  • Released: 06 September 2013

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