The Fembot Returns

With 19 songs,with radio-inspired commentary holding the theme together.

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: November 16, 2013 1:33:46 am

Album: The Electric Lady

Singer: Janelle Monáe

Music: Soul,Pop

Price: Rs 1,071

rating: ****

We all know Janelle Monáe as the funky girl who featured in fun.’s hit single,We are young. But apart from her pop success,one of the things that struck us about the American musician and record producer was the meaningful use of themes in her work. Take her first EP,Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) (2007),in which she followed a fictional tale of Cindi Mayweather,a mass-produced android from the year 2719 for a market in a rigid futuristic society. Her debut studio album,The ArchAndroid,took that tale further,incorporating conceptual elements of Afrofuturism (a school of thought that looks at the effects of technology on African art and culture) and science fiction.

With her second studio album,The Electric Lady,the 27-year-old has done an interesting psychedelic pop-infused take on the story of the lone robot in a dystopian world. The album,which is divided in two parts,the Suite IV and Suite V,begins with the song Suite IV electric overture,a bold yet nostalgic theme-song-like composition,which would fit well in a Bond movie of the ’70s. The next number,Givin em’ what they love,features Prince,and is a powerful number,with Monáe’s strong vocals blending perfectly with the deep,resonating beats. Q.U.E.E.N,featuring neo-soul artiste Erykah Badu,is a fast-paced,psychedelic number,in which Monáe asks,“Am I a freak for dancing around”

While Electric lady,featuring Beyonce’s sister Solange Knowles,is an out-and-out pop-inspired sing-song number,Primetime,featuring American recording artiste Miguel,is a soft,ballad-like track,with plentiful choruses and robust beats. Ghetto woman is a fast-paced and funky ’80s-inspired song,in which Monáe croons,“Some say this ghetto land will take you down and poison you/ Some say she can do all the things a man can do.” Victory is one of our favourites from the album,with powerful,electric beats,mingled with tinkling sounds and Monáe’s powerful voice. She can be very poignant and deep when she wants,especially as she sings,“Cause to be victorious/ You must find glory in the little things.”

With 19 songs,with radio-inspired commentary holding the theme together,Monáe has vividly taken the story of the lone robot forward in a peppy,funky and nostalgic way — touching aspects such as feminism,culture,literature and

technology,among others. Take The Electric Lady along,if you want to please your inner hipster self or just want a climatic end to a sci-fi movie marathon.

prajakta.hebbar@expressindia.com

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