Album

Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer (Album Review)

It’s been more than 10 years since Janelle Monáe launched her initial project, and it seems like her star-power has grown significantly ever since. Not only has she been heralded for her unique musical style, but she has also starred in some pretty fascinating movies, too. Being from a hard-working family and a musically bland city, it doesn’t surprise me that she has this tremendous want to be the next great entertainer, and this is highlighted throughout her brainy lyrical content. However, If you ask me, in order to be great, you need to win some Grammys, and prior to ‘Dirty Computer,’ she’s 0-6 in that category.  I have faith in Janelle, and believe she can win one in the near future; will “Dirty Money” be the album that ends her drought?


TOP 5

 

5. PYNK

The divergent relationship between the heavy bass and soft vocals by Grimes and Janelle creates a smooth and beautiful auditory sound. The combination of sounds in the chorus creates the auditory version of a rainbow color. If listening to this song doesn’t make you skip your second round of coffee, you have to be a coffaholic.

Monae’s lyrics are filled with female empowering words that would make Coretta Scott King proud. Many women will feel self-love as they listen to this song and appreciate the beauty Janelle sings about.

 

 

4. I LIKE IT

On “I Like It,” Janelle links her personality with her sexuality while explaining her fondness for whatever she finds attractive. Her pansexual nature allows her to like whatever she wants to despite whatever people might think.

I love her vocalization of “Oh me, oh me, oh me, oh my” on the chorus. It’s simple, but it adds a unique flavor to the song. I like unique.

 

 

3. MAKE ME FEEL

Janelle Monae takes us back to the 80’s in this colorful jam.

“Make Me Feel” was the lead single off this album, and it is hella funky. On it, Janelle exercises her right to get her Prince on, providing us with this quirky sound that is both soulful and eccentric. It’s almost like listening to a bunch of plugs scrapping. Anyway, the changes in tempo as Janelle displays her vocal dexterity creates a rhythmic explosion.

This song features one if the best instrumentation and arrangement on this album.

 

 

2. AMERICANS

In a Trump era, Janelle Monáe has created an anthem not only for black women, but for every American. In addition to her empowering lyrics, she adds a ‘Not my America’ speech in the bridge that hits home.

I can see the chorus to this song knocking Kanye’s MAGA hat off his head.

 

 

1. I GOT THE JUICE

I know it sounds odd, but this is an exciting song to listen and imagine to. Both artists paint imaginary pictures with their lyrics as they complement each other vocally. The production and background vocals by Nana Kwabena and Nate Rocket completes the hypnotizing process of falling in love with this song. There are so many elements in this song and they are all arranged perfectly.


SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN

1. DIRTY COMPUTER (2/5)

2. CRAZY CLASSIC LIFE (4/5)

3. TAKE A BYTE (2/5)

4. JANE’S DREAM (3.5/5)

5. SCREWED (3.5/5)

6. DJANGO JANE (3.5/5)

7. PYNK (4/5)

8. MAKE ME FEEL (5/5)

9. I GOT THE JUICE (5/5)

10. I LIKE THAT (4/5)

11. DON’T JUDGE ME (2.5/5)

12. STEVIE’S DREAM (4/5)

13. SO AFRAID (4/5)

14. AMERICANS (5/5)


OVERALL RATING

(C)

 

In nearly every song, the outstanding quality in the production remains consistent. Monae maximizes the use of a wide range of instruments on this album, making them come together as one big team that follows her every lead. I don’t blame the production for following her lead either. Why not bask in having a leader with the vocal quality and versatility that Janelle has? She is capable of switching styles, tempo, pitch, and effortlessly combines rapping with singing. With the help of her first-rate production, the Kansas City native is able to create several catchy choruses, which means you don’t even have to commit to a whole song to enjoy it. (I think we can all be a lazy listener from time to time, and that’s OK)

The most important thing about this album is its message. Content-wise, Monae addresses serious issues like sexuality, feminism, politics, and love. Her lyrics are poetic, metaphorical and rhythmic. Additionally, through her lyrics, she shows strength, passion, pain, love, aggression, and fear, all characteristics your every day person can relate to. With that being said, there are so many options for fans when it comes to selecting their “favorite songs” on this album. In fact, I think fans will have to keep the entire album.

 

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