Thursday, March 05, 2009

Janelle Monae

I was really excited to find out that Janelle Monae has released something (and got a Grammy nod), so I'm bummed I'm only just getting around to posting about it. Janelle Monae is the vocalist on the only track I listen to still off the Idlewild soundtrack, and I was always struck by the purity of her voice.

Ms Monae's newest offering is an EP with the ambitious name of Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase. It's a concept album about a robot that falls in love and is consequently pursued across her futuristic city. The music is sweeping and orchstral without losing its pop and dance sensibilities. To get a better idea, check out the sweet music video for "Many Moons," which features a robot auction/fashion show and some sweet Michael Jackson-inspired dancing; she moonwalks forward AND backwards.

The Special Edition of the EP is really quite impressive. It starts off with a cinematic intro to the story and goes straight into the energetic "Violet Stars Happy Hunting," in which the chase starts. "Many Moons" is next, the catchy dance track where you feel most Outkast's influence. The track has some "Ghetto Defendant"-esque word association halfway through (and miles better than the Burroughs version) and Monae's voice shows off its flexibility, from operatic to a young Michael Jackson-type energy (you know, those creepy Jackson 5 songs where he's like, 5, singing about how he's got to be there when she wakes up.) Then my favorite, "Sincerely Jane," where Monae's vocals get to really (as if they hadn't) show their range over a nice syncopated chorus, Star Wars-like brasses and strings, and some good mixing. It also has a cool sultry opening. The next two tracks are the weaker of the group, but that's not saying their bad-- all in all it's a very strong offering, but when she does everything right, the results are stunning.

1 comment:

ken said...

Thanks for the heads up - music about robots? - I'm ordering it today!
...and remember, anytime a Shaefer (or a Shiner) is left unguarded, it's fair game.
On a completely unrelated note, you need to go to the Books of Wonder shop tomorrow - Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess will be signing copies of their new book The Blueberry Girl - it looks pretty amazing...


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