Album: Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady (Bad Boy/Atlantic)
The Electric Lady extends the cyborg sci-fantasy tale of Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid, albeit in a less eclectic manner – the folk and psychedelic elements abandoned in favour of a more focused assault on R&B territory.
Among a few well-chosen guests are Erykah Badu and Esperanza Spalding; and while Prince appears early on, in the slinky “Givin’ Em What They Love”, in truth his influence is all over the album, which blends swooning boudoir soul with jazz melodies, gospel enthusiasm and Wonder-style electro-funk with the animated imagination that sets Monae apart from her R&B peers. She’s uniquely gifted – one’s only reservation concerns her inclination to pack everything into each track.
Download: Givin’ Em What They Love; We Were Rock & Roll; Q.U.E.E.N.; Ghetto Woman
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