The Electric Lady
The abundantly-talented Janelle Monáe burst onto the scene in 2010 with her full-length debut The ArchAndroid, an ambitious sci-fi neo-soul opera that was my favorite album of that year. For those unfamiliar with Monáe, the Kansas-born R&B star in some ways is sort of an ultra-talented female Bruno Mars: what Mars does in doo-wop and soul revue channeling Jackie Wilson and Frankie Valli, Monáe does in a similar fashion but channels Stevie Wonder, Judy Garland, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Outkast, Michael Jackson, James Brown, and even George Lucas. Monáe not only has an insane rock ‘n’ roll vocabulary, but she flips from sounding like Jimi Hendrix to James Brown to Judy Garland as effortlessly as an Olympic gymnast. On her second full-length album and third chapter of her sci-fi adventure, The Electric Lady (which shares a name with Hendrix’s famous New York studio), Monáe recruits R&B’s finest for an album that shows more of her versatility but also more of her heart and attitude.
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