Skip to main content

100 Albums: "The Electric Lady" by Janelle Monáe

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Janelle Monáe
Title: The Electric Lady
Released: 2013
Genre: afrofuturist R&B


The Electric Lady picks up the tale of Cindi Mayweather, a time-traveling android, hunted in her home city of Metropolis for falling in love with a human. So, Janelle Monáe is a big old sci-fi nerd, is what I'm getting at.

This album was a bit of a slow burn for me. Dance Apocalyptic is just breathtakingly fun, but nothing else on the record is quite as immediately accessible. The songs do get under your skin, though. After a complete listen, I found myself going back to groove on Electric Lady, It's Code, and We Were Rock & Roll. Monáe mostly belts out soul, but Q.U.E.E.N. and Ghetto Woman both feature some blistering raps. But I think my favorite on the album--after Dance Apocalyptic--is Sally Ride, an ode to eponymous astronaut who was the third woman in space, the first American woman in space, and the presumed first LGBTQ astronaut ever.

I poked fun at the sci-fi stuff above, but it's an important part of the album's aesthetic and message. A lot of it is relegated to the music videos and liner notes and some oblique lyrical references, but there are three interludes that take the form of a call-in android radio show that do some interesting world-building. The host, DJ Crash-Crash, fields calls from pro-human and anti-human androids, android sorority girls (the Electro-Phi Betas), even a human who has called in to say that "robot love is queer." It becomes pretty evident that in the context of this album, androids are an oppressed class who have formed their own vibrant subculture. And in case that metaphor is too subtle for you, I'll remind you that this is afrofuturism.

The Electric Lady is fun, inventive, soulful, immersive, and it has something to say. And I have a soft spot for ambitious projects, especially ones that you can dance to.

Further Listening: The Electric Lady is parts IV and V of a proposed seven-part concept series that started with the Metropolis EP and continued with The ArchAndroid. Both of those are highly listenable. Her most recent album is Dirty Computer, which I haven't listened to yet, but it's been very well-received. And while it's not exactly "further listening," Monáe gives a great performance as real-life mathematician and NASA engineer Mary Jackson in the movie Hidden Figures. Science!

Comments

caris said…
Ace4sure is the website that deals in preparation material for the exam for many years. According to my exposure and research, this is the right platform where you can get exact 1z0-062 Exam Dumps.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Albums

Hello all!

In an attempt to keep the old blog from atrophying, I'm going to try out a project a friend of mine did a few years ago and spend the year writing about some of my favorite albums. So over the next 50 weeks, you can expect a couple entries a week until we get to 100. Or until I run out of steam and give up. Whichever comes first.

The only rule I'm giving myself here is to limit things to one album per artist. If that would preclude other favorite albums from making the list, I'll note it, but I don't want the list to be completely overrun by Radiohead and the Beatles. I'm going to start at the top of the list (that is, with my #1 favorite), but the ordering is not super rigorous--especially beyond the first twenty or so.

I'll put a master list on a page that's easily accessible from the front and I'll probably throw in some supplemental stuff, like albums I loved as a child but can't really listen to anymore for various reasons or albums …

"Writing Lots!" by Dawn Vogel

Hi, I'm Dawn, and I'm doing guest post here on Kurt's blog. I write fantasy, steampunk, YA, and pretty much anything else that looks shiny for a moment. You can learn more about me here! Today, I'm talking about how I write as much as I do.

I've been writing since I knew how to do so, but I've been writing with an eye toward publication for about eleven years. As I've gotten more comfortable with the craft of writing, my productivity has increased dramatically. In the first six years I was writing seriously, I wrote fewer than twenty short stories, all told. Over the next three years, I increased my output and wrote about a dozen stories a year (with an occasional poem mixed in). Last year, I wrote 38 short stories/flash and 6 poems. This year, I've already surpassed that, and it's only September.

In analyzing how I've increased my output so dramatically, I've found three main keys to my prolific writing: 1) planning, 2) stolen moments, and 3)…

100 Albums: "Untitled (IV/Zoso)" by Led Zeppelin

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: untitled
Released: 1971
Genre: classic rock


Is there a more epic album opening than Black Dog? Plant screaming "Hey, Hey, Mama..." and a trio of musicians exploding into that proto-metal riff behind him? There's a reason Led Zeppelin is always included in discussions of who might be the greatest rock band of all time: Plant's bluesy wail, Bonham's impossibly huge drum sound, Page's guitar work--and tone, when people talk about "vintage guitar tone" they're talking about Jimmy Page--and Jones's bass and keys (bassists are the unsung heroes of rock, and Jones's bass work here is low-key phenomenal). They're an iconic band, and this is their most iconic album.

Officially untitled, but commonly referred to as either Zoso or IV, this record is not only their best-selling, but it contains their most well-known song, Stairway To H…