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!
Janelle Monae’s The ArchaAdroid is an odd album that I’ve never really given the time it probably deserves.
I bought it because I loved the infectious single, ‘Tightrope,’ and I heard the rest of the album was equally worthy.
It may well be, but it’s definitely not as accessible as ‘Tightrope’ and I didn’t have the patience to stick with it.
My final entry on the village Voice Pazz & Jop poll features #19 on that list, Janelle Monae’s ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’
I like Janelle Monáe even though I don’t listen to her music. Something about her look, her style and her ambition rub me the right way. I love the weird sci-fi concepts she works into her music (including the video for this track).
For the past 36 years, Village Voice has released their year-end “Pazz & Jop” poll, a compilation of top albums as voted by over 800 music critics. And while some of their selections are on the pretentious side, they actually have a pretty great track record when it comes to naming the top album of the year.
Artists who’ve had an album in the #1 spot over the past few decades include Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. In fact, I don’t see a weak pick in the history of the poll (you can see all the winners here).