Janelle Monae captivated me after hearing “Cold War” off her 2010 album The Archandroid and she again graces us with her stellar voice in her latest 2013 album The Electric Lady released by Bad Boy Records.
The Electric Lady features 19 tracks and, while Monae’s vocals remain flawless, the songs were hit and miss, unfortunately falling below the standard of her previous work. The album fuses R&B/soul, pop, and disco and while this intergalactic princess collaborates with an impressive lineup of musical greats including Prince, Erykah Badu, Solange Knowles and Esperanza Spalding, the songs felt disconnected.
Instrumental single “Suite V: Electric Overture” hails back to the 1920s big band era while “Dance Apocalyptic” gives a nod to 1950s doo-wop. “We Were Rock n’ Roll” is disco influenced while “What an Experience” sounds like it stepped straight off a 1970s R&B album by The Commodores.
The Electric Lady does feature some good singles but, as an entire album, feels disjointed. There are so many influences that it leaves the listener confused as to what this album is supposed to be. Perhaps Monae was trying to give fans a ride through the decades in her time machine but it left the album lacking continuity. I would download individual tracks but would not buy the entire album.
The Electric Lady is available on iTunes and at Target.
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