Showing posts with label Janelle Monae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janelle Monae. Show all posts

Monday, December 9, 2013

The MileHighGayGuy Review: Janelle Monet - Electric Lady

Electric Lady Electrifies
By Patrick McAleer

First off, I would like to apologize for my absence from this site. I signed up to write music reviews, I write one and then I head out like a fetus. Too much? Eh, oh well. My life has taken off in the last few months and I feel like I am playing catch up. I have an amazing new job with Kaiser Permanente as the Community Relations Coordinator, I have a fantastic new boyfriend (his name will go unmentioned), and I have been cast in Les Mis in Concert as Jean Valjean and in the chorus of Rigoletto for Opera Colorado. So I finally have a moment to listen to some music, that is not from one of the previously mentioned shows, and write about it.

I am a couple months behind on this album, but it is going round and round in my head and I just need get it out.

Let’s chit chat about Janelle Monáe’s new album, The Electric Lady. I love it! I can’t stop listening to it! I think she is brilliant! And yes, I did just scream the last three phrases via text. I am that excited!

The overall flow of the LP is genius. I love that there are no obvious breaks between songs. Each song melts into the next creating this constant stream of beautiful music. There are the occasional breaks for the radio DJ to plug upcoming events and interview the people. And that’s another thing, the radio vibe. It is such a great idea. It makes the album not sound like an album and it makes it sound like you just tuned into your favorite radio station. The other attribute that boasts the radio feel is the diversity of the songs. I can’t remember the last time I heard an artist where each one of their songs didn’t sounded anything like the songs before or the songs after. The whole album is refreshing and innovative.


I am a fan of Disney movies. I always have been and I always will be. The first song sounded like “Prince Ali” from Aladdin and I love it. I just wanted to make way for Miss Monae (See what I did there? If not, go watch Aladdin). It has such an Arabian feel to it. It gives precedent for the whole album. The third song on the album, 'Q.U.E.E.N.', just makes me smile, because any song that uses the phrases “throwin’ shade” or “givin’ face” is a song for me. I love me some attitude. The title track was less than desirable for me. It felt like one of the weaker tracks. Now maybe I just listened to it too much or I didn’t really grasp the lyrics, but eh, I could take it or leave it. One of my favorite tracks is track nine, 'Dance Apocalyptic'. It has such a fun beat and it makes me feel like I am back in high school. Good times.

The whole album has such great diversity between tracks. You have 'We Will Rock n’ Roll', that has this Diana Ross feel. You just want the Supremes to step on out and take it up a notch. And then there’s 'Look Into My Eyes' that sounds like you should be in a Pink Panther movie with a cigarette and an Old Fashioned. Followed by 'Suite V Electric Overture', which is just instrumental music orchestrated to sound like Big Band. Up next is 'Ghetto Woman', with this African beat that slowly transitions into disco. It’s like this earthy go-go feel. Does that even make sense? Just go with it.

The whole album rounds itself out with the final track, 'Victory'. It sends a powerful and inspirational message about being thankful for the small things in life. It’s time to stop and smell the roses. It’s time to let go and let God. (I feel like I got that from somewhere?) The whole album leaves you feeling refreshed, humbled, motivated, and whatever other positive words you can think of. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed an ENTIRE album. Miss Monae has created a whole new world of listening and enjoying.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It Takes Two: New Music from Toni Braxton, Babyface, Janelle Monáe and Miguel

By John Hill

It takes two to tango, two to make a thing go right, and two to get one in trouble. If this week’s new music is any indication, it also takes two to make beautiful music and (possibly) revive a musical career. Here are two duets that arrived on Monday and should have your immediate attention.

Toni Braxton and Babyface “Hurt You”
Back in February, fans of Toni Braxton were rocked by the news that she was retiring from music because she just wasn’t feeling inspired by it anymore. Whether this was a genuine sentiment or just a publicity stunt for a career that many already assumed was dormant is for others to determine, but Toni has consistently put out great music for 20 years and her not recording new music would have been a shame. Enter Babyface, as documented on the We TV reality show Braxton Family Values, who talked Toni down from her career crisis and turned said publicity into a duets project called Love, Marriage and Divorce that is due from Motown Records on December 3rd. The pair first recorded together in 1992 on “Give U My Heart” from the movie Boomerang, and their chemistry remains strong on “Hurt You.” This is R&B for grown adults who have been through both good and bad relationships and can relate to the fact that there are no easy answers to questions of the heart. Babyface and Braxton’s voices still gel well and the production is solid, but don’t expect a pop chart resurgence from this understated midtempo track.

Janelle Monáe and Miguel “PrimeTime"

Janelle Monáe has been slowly unveiling music from her upcoming third album The Electric Lady, and as with previous releases, it’s an eclectic mix of traditional and modern R&B that makes it hard to peg her musical style. That’s a good thing: Monáe can be called a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. Monáe’s third single from The Electric Lady “PrimeTime” finds her in a more mellow, romantic mood as she trades verses with man-of-the-moment Miguel. “It’s a prime time for our love/And Heaven is bettin’ on us” sums up just how committed these two people are to each other and the relationship they share, and it is reminiscent of Prince in his heyday when he could inject both soul and rock elements into a heartfelt ballad. The Electric Lady is available on September 10th, but you can pre-order it now and get some great perks, including advance access to tickets for Monáe’s imminent tour this fall (more on that coming soon).

While his full-time job is in education, John Hill also writes a successful music blog titled Pop Music Notes. He is also active on Twitter @popmusicnotes and lives in Denver with his partners in crime James and Bruiser.