The Electric Lady: All Hail the Q.U.E.E.N.


The Electric Lady. Source: Wikipedia

I don’t listen to a lot of R&B. I do listen to a ton of classic rock. So that’s my frame of reference when I say that, if Freddie Mercury and David Bowie made a baby together and that baby grew up to be a tiny black woman, that tiny black woman would be Janelle Monae.

I’m a bit late to this cyberpunk apocalyptic android party. Monae’s music caught my attention with the publicity for her third album, The Electric Lady. If you’re a big fan of standard R&B, this one will probably be your favorite out of the three. But The Electric Lady’s mainstream R&B ballads like “Can’t Live Without Your Love” are woven into a grand epic story about a post-apocalyptic revolution led by Monae’s alter ego, an android messianic figure named Cindi Mayweather. If that’s your draw, you’ll want to start with Monae’s indie debut album, Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). Its themes and imagery draw heavily from the 1927 Fritz Lang silent film of the same name.

Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). Source: Wikipedia

Monae’s Afrofuturistic space opera continues with Suites II and III in her debut studio album, The ArchAndroid. Again, I don’t really have the background to assess Monae’s music from an R&B fan’s perspective, but as a fan of classic science fiction and classic glam rock, this is the droid I’m looking for.

ArchAndroid. Source: Wikipedia

Unlike the film franchise I just referenced, the big-budget prequel, The Electric Lady, lives up to its predecessors in Suites IV and V. Now, if you’ll excuse me, The ArchAndroid commands me to dance.

 


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