Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Revisiting "The Electric Lady's" Powerful Fist Bump

#LoudBlackGirl trended on Twitter the other day-- a vocal message to demand people listen and respect a marginalized group that they want to quiet, shut down even.
I could not resist thinking about "The Electric Lady's" titular track. After all, Janelle Monáe did bellow out, "electric lady's gonna scream out loud!" That we do.
It's hard to believe eclectic alternative R&B gem "The Electric Lady" approaches third birthday come September. Philosophical, knowledge dropping music is as fresh picked as a jazzy ripened green apple on a splendid morning. With the MTV Video Award winning "Q.U.E.E.N." (a sultry satisfying empowerment jingle with amazing Erykah Badu), it still is a surprise that other accolades hadn't stacked high against so charming a venture. For Cindi Mayweather and her fleet of droids deserved more than a gritty slide under the sinkhole. They more than deserved a place at the table. They've earned. And few people have yet realized how importantly feminist this album is.
Beautiful soul stirring ballads like "Can't Live Without Your Love" (my personal favorite), passionate tribute to the late Sally Ride (a thumping melody with chanting rhythm towards end), and the affectionate dance number "Dance Apocalyptic" (a hip shaker attributed to "Michael Jackson's Jheri Curl") keep the avid listener's attention from beginning to end. Despite years passing and others coming and going, "The Electric Lady" still resonates, striking a cord running deep within heart.
I want to hide in provided genuine authenticity, playful spirit, rebellious tenacity, and romantic sentiment forever. Ignore the Michelle Obama copycats, the Leslie Jones riots, senseless murders of black people, and other horrible harms to black women today.
Monáe has all the necessary elements to salve wounds-- at least temporarily.
"Dear reader,
May these songs bring wings to you when you are weak and humility when you are strong. May the evil stumble as it flies through your world."
Like yesterday, I remember her concert held at Philadelphia's The Electric Factory (perfect venue)-- a showstopping, energetic blaze of wonderful live opera octave vocals, jittery slick dance moves, and open mic diarist entries. To be that close to such a figure was to be a part of cemented history, delivered in climatic awe. Not to mention, her amazing associate album producer-- Roman Gianarthur who performer opening act duties.
I dusted off "The Electric Factory" for resurgence, for strength, enjoying Monáe's afrofuturistic paintings (serene meet subdued colors are wildly impressive), and production writings. The production writings are sweet and humorous. I love knowing birth of her influences and reasoning that a great song has been fruited into being. It's honest truth. When it comes to the gritty, manufactured, over-sensualized, cheap, tawdry music business, she is a breath of welcoming, humanizing air-- droids and everything. Intelligence + talent never goes out of style.

"...laser lyrics, lead vocal prophesies..." of "Suite IV Electric Overture"
"...lead howls, background acrobatics, additional bass shotgun blasts of "Given 'Em What They Love" featuring the late great Prince.
"....psychodancing lyrics, freaktastic vocals.." of Q.U.E.E.N.
"....electro lyrics, crackling lead vocals, background vocal shocks..." of "Electric Lady" featuring Solange
"... lyrical gaze, lead vocal brushstrokes, background colors..." of "Look Into My Eyes"
"...cyberlove lyrics, lead vocal kisses, background whispers...." of "Can't Live Without Your Love"
"...hypno lyrics, lead vocal ecstasy, background vocal seduction..." of "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes" featuring Esperanza Spaulding

Highway robbery of nominations and awards don't matter. Not anymore.
Life without these well-produced songs, these powerful songs that satisfy ear aches on the worst of days would have been the most inconceivable loss. One moment can be a chance to explore moonwalk glide whilst washing dishes, another ignites desire to be an encouraging champion to someone unseen during creative session, and the next is valuing truest, most internal, mediated self when feeling low. One cannot ask a musician to grant more feeling than that is gifted.
"The Electric Lady" will, without shadow of doubt, stand the test of time. 

Let us hope that magical, wondrous songwriter/singer/artist/producer Janelle Monáe aka Cindi Mayweather continues to lead like a young Harriet Tubman in a place where some blindly believe that they are not sheep in this ruckus and the woke others just want to wave "freak" flag freely.


  1. Definitely a classic. I was just talking to my friends last night about the emergence of "weird" black girls and being proud to let our freak flag fly. Janelle Monae is definitely one of those voices for #loudblackgirls and carefree, alternative black girls. Those that don't fit the prevailing stereotype. As if the black experience is anything by diverse, eclectic, and vibrantly #lit. LOve you blog. Keep it coming!

    1. Thank you Morgan. I appreciate your enlightening comments. Janelle is philosophical, revolutionary, and wise. The knowledge she channels through music and art inspires next generation of girls/ladies refusing to be boxed into stereotypical categories.
      Thank you for visiting the blog! Much love!

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