To say that I was excited about the release of Janelle Monáe’s newest album, The Electric Lady, is an understatement. Her 2010 album, The ArchAndroid (Suites II & III), is one of my favorite albums of all time. That epic, sprawling R&B recording (that feels like a collaboration between David Bowie, Lauryn Hill, Beck, and Outcast) tells the story of Cindi Mayweather, an android sent back in time to save the people of Metropolis from a time-traveling secret society that prevents freedom and love. Monáe’s first album, Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) began the story and The Electric Lady continues with suites four and five out of seven.
But don’t let that complicated back story turn you away. The Electric Lady is as fun as it is smart. Collaborating with Erykah Badu (on the spectacular track Q.U.E.E.N.), Esperanza Spalding, Miguel, Solonge, and Prince, Monáe has created an exciting follow-up album. While there are stand-out tracks (Primetime and Dance Apocolyptic are two of my favorites), The Electric Lady is best listened to in full.