[YEAR-END] Top 50 Albums of 2013 (#8) x Janelle Monae ‘The Electric Lady’

no8Much like her debut, the sophomore effort from Janelle Monae is particularly impressive for it’s ability to captivate listeners. While we may not know exactly what planet Janelle is on (or from), she sells it to you with her strong point-of-view and musicianship. ‘The Electric Lady’ continues her Suite format, dividing the disc into parts four and five as a continuation from her last album. Songs like “We Were Rock n’ Roll” and “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes” are grade-A vocals from the ‘ArchAndroid’ singer.

Janelle’s lyrics are quite historical in nature, but they’re still very catchy and well-performed. Her rapping skills on the album’s first single “Q.U.E.E.N” (with Erykah Badu) and the album’s title track (with Solange’) are types of intellectual songwriting excellence that’s missing from music today. It’s clear that Janelle has embraced her culture throughout her music in a way that’s fresh and organic. Another standout track is “Victory”, where Janelle belts out the most inspirational song of her career.

The best part about Janelle’s ‘Electric Lady’ album is its features. Miguel appears on the R&B radio hit “Primetime”, while Prince guests on the uptempo “Givin Em What They Love”. If you count Solange’s co-writing on Beyonce’s ‘B’Day’, it would be accurate in saying that Janelle only works with ‘Big Four’ Grammy winners. Out of all the A-list collaborations stands “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes” with Esperanza Spalding. The jazzy duet is Janelle’s true Grammy moment on the album, beautifully mixing two harmonies together to end an album filled with classic moments.

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