Over the last couple of days I have been listening to Janelle Monae’s new record, “The Electric Lady”. It picks up the sci fi concept left off on last album “The Archandroid”, about rebel robot Cindy Mayweather (the titular Electric Lady), who falls in forbidden love with a human. Much of the context is told via spoken word interludes, which unlike 99.9% of R&B spoken interludes actually form some of the highlights of the album.
But of these, there are many. Its one of those CDs you can dip into, listening to one track over and over again, before finally discovering the next song and falling for that. Its an album of layers that demands time to appreciate. Although oddly neither of the singles really grabbed me, I fell instantly for “We Were Rock and Roll” (seen here with slightly bizarre fan-made Streetfighter-themed video) then “What an Experience”, and I am currently rocking out to “Victory”. As always with Janelle, the lyrics are interesting too – her quippy one-liners often tossed into lush album track outros sparkle with bizarre inventiveness – “Whats the matter, your pork taste like chicken? Had triplets instead of twins?” or “Ain’t no order in this courtroom”, “Grandaddy, I think I wanna dance”.
I don’t love Electric Lady as much as her first album – yet – but then, there are hardly any albums that I can say that for. And it can hardly be called a disappointment. I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time I’m done listening to it I will have discovered even more to like.
In other words, perfect music to clean to on a hungover Saturday morning.