Multi-hyphenate Janelle Monáe took five years off between albums, following 2013’s The Electric Lady, during which she exercised her acting chops in the Oscar-nominated films Hidden Figures and Moonlight.
Her third album, Dirty Computer, dropped in February and it was worth the wait. It’s filled with sexy funk and soul filtered through the ‘alien visiting Earth’ vibe she has honed since 2010’s The ArchAndroid. This time around it comes with a large helping of bisexuality, and an accompanying film that features Tessa Thompson as her lover. Alert next year’s Pulitzer Prize jury!
Ariana Grande recently released her first single since last year’s tragic Manchester Arena suicide bombing that left 22 dead at one of her concerts.
‘No Tears Left to Cry’ doesn’t address that incident specifically, but it is about moving on from a negative experience and finding your salvation in sweet dance pop. So just about the perfect comeback tune for the pint-sized diva.
Childish Gambino dropped the video of the year right before he debuted his new song on Saturday Night Live last week. ‘This is America,’ a jarring but somehow catchy blend of gospel and trap, is a good song but a fantastic short film, one that has blown up the internet to the tune of 50 million views as of this writing.
Tackling gun violence, police brutality, Jim Crow, social media, black culture and a hundred other things, this is the video that launched a thousand think pieces, and I can’t pretend to be qualified to come up with one of my own. I’d rather let the video speak for itself.
First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, but most especially my own wonderful mother!
And now for today’s randomly selected Song of the Day.
1998’s The Globe Sessions is my favorite Sheryl Crow album. It kicks off with the excellent single ‘My Favorite Mistake,’ features the sublime cowboy funk of ‘There Goes the Neighborhood,’ finds room for a swell Dylan cover in ‘Mississippi’ and delivers one of its finest moments with the ramshackle penultimate track ‘Members Only.’
Not to mention ‘Anything But Down,’ another hit, the slow burn of ‘The Difficult Kind,’ the delicate ‘Riverside’ and the jaunty ‘It Don’t Hurt.’
Ryan Adams has released 16 albums in the past 17 years. He once went three years without releasing an album, but he had already made up for that by releasing three albums in a single year.
Of all those releases, the two I know best — the only two I know well, really — are the first two. 2000’s Heartbreaker and 2001’s Gold are both excellent, wide-ranging works and among my favorite records of that decade. In fact, it just struck me that I somehow missed that Heartbreaker was a 2000 release or else it surely would have made my personal best-of list.
I’ve featured nine critically-acclaimed albums from the year 2000, with decidedly mixed results, so I figured I’d throw a bone to the most commercially successful album of that year, NSYNC’s No Strings Attached.
This was not just the best-selling album of 2000, but a record-holder for best first week’s sales (2.4 million) for 15 years, until Adele’s 25 obliterated that mark by nearly a million copies.
D’Angelo, 44, is one of the most celebrated R&B artists of his generation, despite having released only three albums over two decades.
The Richmond-born singer-songwriter released his debut album, Brown Sugar, in 1995 at the age of 21. After a five-year hiatus, he dropped Voodoo, one of 2000’s most acclaimed albums. He didn’t surface again until 2014, when Black Messiah made a huge comeback splash.