Howdy people time for another music review, this one has been a long time coming but I’m finally going to be doing my review on Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady album. Janelle Monáe has been one of my favourite music artists for almost 5 years now and she has yet to make anything that I don’t like. And since I’m hopefully gonna see her live this year I thought that the review would have to be up sooner rather than later, so let’s begin.
So The Electric Lady is Monáe’s second album after The ArchAndroid that came out in 2010. Now I really loved Monáe’s first album, it was one of the most musically diverse and addictive albums I had heard in a while. So when her follow-up album was announced I waited for what felt like an eternity for its release. And after “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Dance Apocalyptic” were released, I knew I had to buy the album and it didn’t disappoint as it is easily one of the best, if not the best album I came across last year.
The album present the fourth and fifth suites which are part of her Metropolis series and continues a similar approach with themes and stories she delivered in the past except here it is a lot deeper. While I normally have trouble trying to connect these types of concept albums, for the most part I could understand the material in the songs, a lot of which is incredibly heartfelt and beautiful. Musically this album is more in-depth than Monáe’s previous work with hip-hop, soul, funk, gospel, jazz and rock being incorporated to great effect. And as I’ve listened to it on repeat listens the album has gotten better and better.
As with Monáe’s last album this one begins with an orchestrated instrumental song called “Suite IV Electric Overture” and it is glorious. Reminds me of a 1960’s film, possibly a gangster flick. Then we step into “Givin Em What They Love” which is the first vocal track on the album and it features Prince. It is a fantastically addictive song and alongside her, Prince’s contributions to the song are awesome with his beautiful backing vocals and guitar work. Monáe and Prince’s vocals blend so well. From the lovely intro to the great chorus and spectacular ending, this is the first stand out track. “Q.U.E.E.N.” is obviously the first single released from this album and it is still as sexy and powerful as it ever was. It has great lyrics, rhythm and an awesome breakdown featuring Erykah Badu who just kills in my favourite part of the song. “Electric Lady” features the additional vocals of Solange and together with Monáe they craft one of the best songs on the album with a chorus and many lyrics that make you wanna sing along. “Good Morning Midnight” is the first of the interlude songs and features this funky and charismatic DJ on a radio show which is part of the whole Metropolis setting and it is some crazy, funny and stylish stuff.
“PrimeTime” featuring Miguel is the most beautiful and touching song on the album. It has emotional depth, the vocals of both are amazing and the musical melody is soothing. “We Were Rock & Roll” is an upbeat, groovy kind of song that makes you wanna dance, it also has a lovely chorus and an ending is great too. “The Chrome Shoppe” is the second radio interlude and while it expands the mythos of the concept album it is my least favourite. “Dance Apocalyptic” is my jam, it is the happiest and most different of Monáe’s previous material, that being said it is very infectious and fun. “Look Into My Eyes” is a majestic song with a slow and gorgeous sound. “Suite V Electric Overture” transitions from the last song with a great sound that has good fusion of jazz and classical elements. “It’s Code” is a gorgeous love song with insightful and heartfelt lyrics and “Ghetto Woman” transitions from the last song with a sped up pace and a sassy groove. The lyrics are my favourite of all the songs as it talks about trials & tribulations & rising above them.
“Our Favorite Fugitive” is my favourite of the interludes, it is hilarious and the most insightful of the personality of the metropolis story. This was the point when I wanted to meet and befriend DJ Crash Crash lol. “Victory” is an empowering song with a slow and cool sound. Another stand out song is “Can’t Live Without Your Love“, surprisingly I didn’t notice its brilliance until my second listen of the album. The melody, lyrics and chorus are all amazing and leave you coming back for more. Monáe’s vocals and the wonderful music come together beautifully. This song is basically perfection. “Sally Ride” and “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes” featuring Esperanza Spalding have lovely music and wonderful lyrics. I don’t have much to say about these songs and that’s not to say they’re bad as they’re still great, but they don’t stand out like some of the others. And finally “What An Experience” it is a lovely last track song which is soft, chilled out and changes up with a reggae finish that feels very playful.
My favourite tracks of the album:
- Givin Em What They Love
- Electric Lady
- Dance Apocalyptic
- Look Into My Eyes
- It’s Code
- Ghetto Woman
- Can’t Live Without Your Love
In conclusion The Electric Lady is such a good album, because of its varied sound, interesting stories and themes. Janelle Monáe continues to be my favourite female music artist in existence with her crazy, classy and cool style of singing, she is so fly and she has yet to make anything back in the world of music. This is an album I highly recommend because it is a musical experience of the best kind.
Rating: 9/10 (Janelle Monáe continues to be one of the most original and amazing singers with her eclectic styles of music)
So people if you’ve been fortunate enough to check out this album, then what did you think of The Electric Lady? Whatever your thoughts drop them in the comments below and I’ll catch ya on the next review yo! 😀