8.6 [MUST LISTEN]
Pop music these days is getting a bad rep. If you were to ask a pretentious snobby music critic like myself, "What is your opinion on pop music?" You might hear in reply, "it's nothing but top 40 shit from Katy Perry or Lady Gaga." Which in a sense is true. Pop these days is represented by female artist like Perry, Gaga, P!nk, etc. Who's lyrics are lackluster and formulas are almost identical to one another. Luckily for us pretentious kids who still like to shake our hips and not hate our selves for doing so, there's Janelle Monae, who most might now as "the female vocals from Fun.'s We Are Young." But did you also know she is the proud owner of both 2010 and now 2013's best pop/r&b albums?
2010's The ArchAndroid received massive, and well deserved critical acclaim. The album tells the story of an out of place Droid trying to chase her dreams and make her way through a world full of humans that look down on her. The newest album The Electric Lady, which follows the theme of ArchAndroid and 2007 EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), features connections in the story lines during the albums three interludes featuring a radio DJ. The theory is that The ArchAndroid and The Electric Lady are the same droid, but the DJ has no interest in discussing this idea when it comes up. It also contains Suits IV and V, following behind Metropolis' Suite I and ArchAndroid's Suite's II and III, which are the album's beautiful, orchestral transition pieces.
Once again, Monae rocks us with a record filled with numerous fun pop tracks like Dance Apocalyptic, Q.U.E.E.N., We Were Rock & Roll and incredible r&b ballads with collaborations like Give 'Em What They Love featuring Prince, Primetime featuring Miguel, and Dorothy Dandridge Eyes featuring Esperanza Spalding. Monae once again raises the bar for todays pop stars. Your move, Rhianna.