RSS

Tag Archives: Janelle Monáe

ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Hidden Figures

Howdy ladies and gents, its time for my first review for a while in form of Hidden Figures, a film I’ve wanted to watch for months mainly because of the involvement of my girl Janelle Monáe.

hidden_figures_poster

The plot can be summed up as the following: “The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.” What I appreciated about this film firstly was the story, the fact that these events actually happened at NASA was really fascinating, and regardless of how true to life this film was, I found the story to be quite captivating and engaging with all of the drama and segregation the main women faced, but also because of America’s efforts to beat the Russians in the Space Race. And while some of plot points and scenes play out in ways you’ve seen before if you’ve seen a drama based on true events, tis film was still very effective in its direction and execution of its themes and emotional content. As for the performances they were all really impressive. Firstly you have Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe who played Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Each of these characters were smart, had very specific skills and had an uphill battle trying to follow their dreams, while Johnson was the primary focus of the film, I was also very intrigued and interest in the lives of Vaughan and Jackson too. Henson was really good especially during one specific speech, Spencer was as great as she always is and Moná, she was lovely and acted with such flair and conviction. I also really loved Kevin Costner in this film, Kirsten Dunst showed a different side to her than I’ve seen in the past which I liked, Jim Parsons who I don’t like in The Big Band Theory was actually tolerable/pretty good here, also Glen Powell was likeable and Mahershala Ali was really charismatic and charming too. Oh and the soundtrack crafted by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams and Benjamin Wallfisch was really good, the original songs were super catchy and film score was also solid. In conclusion Hidden Figures was a really lovely film, it was very insightful, emotional and humourous with great performances, awesome music and an uplifting tone. I was so glad I got to see the film in my local cinema and I would highly recommend it.

So have you seen Hidden Figures and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Janelle Monáe @ Manchester Academy – My Review

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen of the internet and welcome to a new music review, unlike the regular song or album reviews, this one will be on the live concert that Janelle Monáe did at Manchester Academy last night. Now I’ve been a big fan of Monáe since about 2010 when she first released “Tightrope” from her first album and since then I’ve tailed her and she’s grown to become one of my favourite musicians ever. Since hearing her latest album The Electric Lady which I loved, I knew I’d have to see her live and when it announced that she was gonna make three UK dates, I was all over it.

So after months of waiting was the concert worth the wait? Well read on and find out.

20140507_213814

Prior to getting in and before seeing the live performances start, it was interesting to the different types of people that Ms. Monáe attracts. There were people of many ages and races and it was surprising, yet very delightful to see so many people coming to see her. My favourite person was this little girl, she looked no older than eleven or twelve, but she full-on fan and knew all the songs and considering the horrible stuff that kids listen to today this was a refreshing surprise that made me feel hope for the future. 🙂

Anyway, on to the performances. Before Monáe came on, we had a live show from Cody Chessnut. Now honestly I had no idea who he was or what to expect, but my goodness he was bloody impressive. Chessnut along with his band of very talented musicians gave us some really funky soul jams that got everybody bouncing because the songs were so cool, accessible and had a great liveliness to it. Chessnut himself was super charismatic, dancing all over the stage, shaking his hips and singing his heart out with style and flair. Overall it was unexpected, but very welcome surprise.

20140507_213455

After Chessnut the crowd were anxiously waiting for Monáe to come on stage, but it took a while for the technical staff to move the previous band’s stuff off stage, set up for the next act and sort out the sound equipment. It was frustrating because the performance was meant to start at 9pm and didn’t really get going until 9:30pm, however it was worth the wait when the background music faded out, the lights went dim and the musicians took the stage. One of the men comes on as a character, gets everybody all fired up and introduces us to Ms. Monáe and then everyone went nuts. So then the band start playing “Suite IV Electric Overture” and everyone freaks out some more, but the real moment when everyone lost they’re minds is when Monáe, in a straitjacket get wheeled on to the stage. If one thing can be said for Monáe is that she loves her theatrics, just like her music videos and songs, they all have a theatrical, fictional and larger-than-life feel about them and Monáe applied it in her performance by having men in white suits watching them while they perform or carrying her off the stage or trying to relive her with an imaginary defibrillator among other things. I think the most random point came with the fluffed pillows, there were people in white suits passing these pillows into the crowd and then, next thing you know it was a mental pillow fight with feathers flying everywhere, on the stage, in the crowd, it was every and it was insane and totally out of nowhere. Now we’d already been surprised by fancy confetti flying everywhere before, but this pillow fight was on a whole new level of interactivity, fun and madness. It was crazy, but incredibly fun and inventive.

20140507_213846

Also it has to be noted that Janelle Monáe had full control of the crowd, she interacted with them by getting them to see along with her, constantly switching from one side of the stage to the other, even getting the whole crowded audience to lower themselves as she climbed over the barriers and cruised through the audience or when she crowd surfed later on. Everybody loved her and she was clearly loving every second of it. On top of that her dance moves were totally fly, so cool and stylish, the woman is constantly full of energy and I dunno where she gets it from, but it makes her incredibly fun to watch. She is charismatic and a bit crazy, but that’s what makes her so fun to watch, she’s so unique there’s no one else like her. If I had to give comparison of who she reminds me of, I’d say she’d be a cross between James Brown, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, all of them had great stage presence, style and dance moves and Janelle has it too (she did the moonwalk several times which was kick ass too!).

20140507_225020

Okay let’s get back to the music and what a selection we got given. While the majority of songs were from her latest album, we were also treated to some songs from The ArchAndroid and Metropolis. From the latest album we were treated to “Giving Em What They Love”, “Dance Apocalyptic”, “Q.U.E.E.N.”, “PrimeTime”, “Electric Lady” and “What An Experience”, from the first album we were treated to “Cold War”, “Tightrope” and “Come Alive (War Of The Roses)”, and finally from her EP we got “Sincerely. Jane“. The other two songs were covers, firstly with the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and then with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy“. To keep it short all of the performances were incredible, just incredible. Monáe was on-point with an incredible vocals and her band were insanely talented, all of them got their chance to shine especially Monáe’s guitarist Kellindo Parker, that guy is absurdly talented and really was one of the highlights of the entire concert. But if I had to go into more detail on the songs I would say that “Giving Em What They Love” really got things going especially for me as it is one of my favourite songs from the latest album, “Sincerely. Jane” was a song I hoped would make the set list and to hear it made me SO happy beyond words, “Electric Lady” was gorgeous and “Cold War” and”Tightrope” went down incredibly well with the crowd and especially with me because they’re the oldest songs I know by her and it was performed masterfully. And finishing on “What An Experience” was just a perfect way to end things.

20140507_225117

In the end Janelle Monáe’s live performance at Manchester Academy was amazing and unforgettable. Beyond the great dancing, music and singing, there was a great level of fun and excitement that came from the concert that I haven’t experienced before. It was fun and if you ever do get the chance to see Janelle Monáe live at some point be sure to do so, she’s got talent that needs to be seen live. 🙂

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady Review

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.

Janelle_Monáe_–_The_Electric_Lady_cover

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
  • Q.U.E.E.N.
  • Electric Lady
  • PrimeTime
  • 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! 😀

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: