I first heard of Janelle Monáe at Roskilde Festival 2011, where I missed her gig, but later heard a lot of talk about it. Well, at least I knew better than to miss her at Prince's 3 days take over of Copenhagen a few months later at his 2011 NPG festival. Monáe featured as support act and she didn't disappoint. Both live and on her first full-length album "The ArchAndroid" , she had some damn great songs like "Dance or Die", "Faster", "Tight Rope", "Cold War" and "Come Alive". The album did however drop a bit dead near halfway, when it somehow ran out of up-tempo hits or perhaps lost it's focus. The EP before it, "Metropolis: The Chase Suite" , was really not that interesting to be honest. The talent was present, but the android wasn't quite perfectly adjusted yet and the production certainly needed a few tweaks.
What her first album and her live performances taught us was that this was a fresh and brand new and very talented star, ready to shoot it up. And shoot it up she does on her new 2013 album "The Electric Lady" from beginning to end - more or less. It can perhaps be argued that a few of the hits on "The ArchAndroid" were even better and felt more fresh and different, but the new album is more consistent and it never drops dead or runs out of fuel. It rocks or rather pops it's way from beginning to end. Lots and lots of up-tempo songs and some very fine ballads too. All mixed with the usual overtures and a few interludes all in keep with the ongoing android story, which I honestly don't give a fuck about. But for the record, we have now passed the mark of Suite V, and to judge from the cover, at least 2 Suites are still expected, meaning at least one more album.
Something to note about the new album is a rather long list of guest artists: Prince, Erykah Badu, Solange, Miguel, Esperanza Spalding. Any good party must be kicked off and that is exactly what Janelle and Prince do with the first song "Givin Em What They Love", which is a true hit song, not just because I love Prince, but because it fucking kicks ass-droid. The album keeps up the beat with more hit tracks "Q.U.E.E.N." and "Electric Lady". It may not be rock'n'roll at all, but a song like "We Were Rock & Roll" is still great stuff and "Dance Apocalyptic" is just more power to the dance floor.
The ballads like "Look Into My Eyes" and "Victory" work perfectly and feel much in touch with the whole android theme (that I still don't give a fuck about) known from the previous records. Monáe is one of the only current RnB artists I really like. Generally speaking, I hate those screaming annoying bitches and their horrendous way of molesting innocent music listener's ears, but Janelle is a lot different. She doesn't seek that annoying style, she doesn't really have the voice to do so either. She does however have her own unique and very funky way of doing things, combined with some innovative rap bits. She has created her own style and this new album is just an extension and maybe a perfection of what came before it.
If you loved her "The ArchAndroid" album or even if you are just ready for some fresh and catchy RnB that won't give you a fucking headache, then there's no reason to hesitate, this album will make a fine addition to your music collection.