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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Electric Lady
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2013
I have been looking forward to the release of The Electric Lady literally for the past few months. How would it compare to The ArchAndroid? Had I hyped up the genius of Janelle Monáe so much that this was never going to live up to my level of excitement?

I needn't have worried.

The Electric Lady manages to add to the mythology of Cyndi Mayweather and the world Monáe created with Suites 1-3 of this pop symphony, while also being filled with infectious melodies and meaningful lyrics. At 19 tracks and 67 minutes long it doesn't skimp on quantity, and the quality is as high as ever. Highlights include Givin Em What They Love (a sublime and sexy opening number featuring Prince, of all people), Q.U.E.E.N. (promoting self-acceptance in a much more glamorous and exciting way than anything by Lady Gaga - says a confirmed Gaga-fan), Electric Lady (so good it's contagious). In fact the only song I dislike on the album is Ghetto Woman - the vocal line is nice but the backing seems like a jumble. However, disliking one track out of nineteen is a pretty good ratio.

If you enjoyed The ArchAndroid, you'll enjoy this. If you enjoy soul, funk, pop, r&b, or - indeed - any kind of good music at all, you'll appreciate this.

To sum up: The Electric Lady is the best £6.49 I ever spent and, without doubt, the best album I've heard since The ArchAndroid, it is fantastic and I urge anyone to buy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2013
The Electric Lady is perhaps not as instant as the Archandroid, and the tracks don't gel as well together but who cares about any of that when the tracks are so good? The collaboration with Prince - Give Em What They Love is the highlight here but there is not one filler track on here and Janelle proves herself to be a stylistic chameleon here. The intro which starts off as an almost spaghetti western theme tune and then evolves into a big orchestral score is a good indication of whats to come. Highly recommended, album of the year and I just hope she gets the mainstream recognition she deserves - a breath of fresh air, both musically and image wise, compared to almost every young female pop act I can think of.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I didn't think anything could top Janelle Monae's debut album the Archandroid, but somehow she has done it! This is very much an album of two parts, the first suite is a guest-star laden collection of hits (and future hits) with some funky grooves and synths reminiscent of very early Prince (who is one of the guest musicians). The second suite is more of a slow burner, and the influence of Stevie Wonder shines through in the jazzy chord progressions of several tracks, in particular Ghetto Woman. All in all, a wonderful album which leaves me eager with anticipation for Ms Monae's next album!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Can Janelle Monae match 2011's masterful "The ArchAndroid"? The answer is too right she can. Ms Monae may cut a diminutive figure but has a talent as big as a continent and the best funk songwriting credentials this side of Prince. The purple genius is also to be found on this new album "The Electric Lady" crooning along with the Atlanta chanteuse on the blues funk of "Given them all my love". It is one of many sterling collaborations on a record which is a daring and massively inventive throughout. It places Monae in pole position when it comes to producing wildly commercial psychedelic funk pop. Hover your needle over any part of the 19 tracks on "The Electric Lady" and rich rewards flow. From the joyous rush of "Dance Apocalyptic" full of pounding rhythms and zombie references- to the nasty funk of Q.U.E.E.N featuring Eryeka Badu - this new album is a veritable jukebox of potential hits.

Again underpinning the album is Monae's playful concept of the personality of Cindy Mayweather her messianic android alter-ego. If you like that sort of thing then fine, but frankly it's the music that counts. Infectious is the key word. The classic pop of "We were Rock n Roll" absolutely defies you to sit still. The joy de vivre of tracks such as the summer fun of "It's code" demands a compulsory smile with Monae often sounding like the young Michael Jackson. Things slow nicely on the eerie ballad "Look into my eyes", while on "Victory" she shows what an impeccable soul talent she is with the best vocal on the album. One small negative are the DJ interludes spaced throughout the album, which you will either love or press fast forward in high irritation. Other standouts include the smooth Latin rhythms of "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes" a song dedicated to, the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Oscar and the bright almost Stevie Wonder inflected ballad "Sally Ride" charting the first American woman to travel in space. The album is rounded off with the bright "What an experience" infused with reggae beats and a melody to die for.

"The Electric Lady" is sheer invention writ large. This is smart intelligent music from an artist entering her stride and picking up the pace. She is now one of the most audacious singer songwriters with a foot in the mainstream but with enough ambition to dominate the planet. One of the songs on the album "Ghetto Woman" is dedicated to her mother and we should thank Mrs Monae Sr for sharing her daughters huge talent with us. "The Electric Lady" like its predecessor has a couple of quirks which could have been ironed out, but perhaps it is these small blemishes on a near perfect beast that makes this album so on the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2014
I've been a bit out the music scene for the last couple of years because I haven't found much to go gaga over. I've found my reason to start listening once again, this album is just fabulous all the way through so much depth and excitement and raw energy spews from Ms Monae's vocals as well as clean yet surprising production. It's even better to see her live which I was fortunate to get a chance last week. A true artist on all forms. This will be a classic in many years to come.

Thank Ms Monae for restoring my faith in music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2014
I don't think I've ever come across such an imaginative album. The tracks all flow together perfectly and are occasionally linked by clever fake radio introductions. This is Janelle Monae so the album takes place in an alternate universe in which androids are outcasts in society, a clever way to address everyday issues in society concerning people who don't quite 'fit the mould'. The album is powerful and, more importantly, very empowering. Try it, I highly recommend this album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The first album signalled a significant talent was here and the second one puts that matter beyond doubt. There are so many styles and influences on show but she makes it all her own. From jazzy funk to French style balladeering she effortlessly shifts from song to song.
There are a number of high profile guest artists but all of these are just a bit of garnish and to be honest the songs would have been just as good without them. Looking forward to seeing what she does next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2015
Janelle Monáe really deserves more attention, and this is probably my favourite pop album of 2013. Music with powerful affirmative lyrics, skits that succeed at amusement and commentary, and music steeped in black history of the highest order, reminding me of J Dilla, Herbie Hancock, Prince and others with the musical ambition, cleverness and sophistication. This album makes me very happy :)
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on 16 January 2014
Having thoroughly enjoyed Archandroid I eagerly anticipated this follow-up. Electric Lady does not have the immediate impact of Archandroid. It is a lot less quirky, and possibly, less fun. Stylistically Archandroid was all over the place (this is no criticism), but Electric Lady is more focused on the R&B sound. Once again the songs are beautifully crafted and produced and are performed to perfection by stellar musicians. Janelle Monae's voice shines out, what a talent she has. These songs work their way into your head, and you realise how outstandingly good this album is after a few listens (a few more than it took to appreciate Archandroid). Victory and Look Into My Eyes are simply gorgeous. Dance Apocalyptic is fun and catchy. It's somehow unfair to single out certain songs as the whole album is magnificent.
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on 20 December 2013
I am hooked on this young lady and her distinctive art. I say "art" because the music is only part of the equation. Sure, that makes Janelle a little obscure to start with, but when your mind finds the right gear the take-off is sublime. Musicality, invention, style, drive, performance, massive talent, beauty, narrative, poise. Janelle has got all that, and, ultimately, the lady is so electric.

If you are thinking about moving into Janelle's world, and allowing her into yours, get this cracking album. You will pleasantly pass hours and hours getting all of Janelle's gifts into and around your mind.

(BTW: I am an old Tamla Motown fan of a mere 65 years of age, and Janelle "speaks" directly with me just as she does with people one third of my age. Janelle's quality defeats age!)
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