A true masterpiece that’s easily not only her best album to date, but her most experimental and not give a fvcks album of her career thus far, Janelle Monáe shows from the very opening and title track of her latest album, Dirty Computer, why it’s not only a great album, but a truly landmark piece of art that will be remembered as such for years and generations to come with its very sexually liberal and liberating freedom that’s the perfect celebration of queerness, pan-sexuality, female power and self-worth.
The album just like it’s truly masterpiece accompanying emotion picture of the same name, shows how Monáe really is following in the footsteps of her late great mentor, Prince. The album truly capturing the past, present and future in much the same way the film did, but in musical form. You could really tell from the production by the Wondaland Records leader and founder along with her longtime collaborators, Nate “Rocket” Wonder and Chuck Lightning, who had hand in production in all but one or two songs on the 14-track effort, how influential the late great, The Purple One, was in helping Monáe and them build a brilliant piece of sound that will help the album, just like it’s accompanying emotion picture be remembered as truly timeless, classic and masterpieces of art for years and generations to come.
Whether the bass, guitar, drums or several instruments Wonder plays on Crazy, Classic, Life or that he and Lightening play on several tracks throughout the album that really evoke all the joy and life that Monáe’s very amazingly sweet vocals along with Wonder and Lightning’s production and arrangements make you just want to get up and dance for a funky crazy, feel-good time. None clearer than on the very upbeat, Screwed, which features Zoë Kravitz and is a real straight jam that will have you truly up and dancing along to the very upbeat hand claps and guitar-driven production from Wonder and Roman GianArthur, which will also you singing along to the very catchy chorus of, “Let’s get screwed, I don’t care, I don’t care. You fvcked the world up now, we’ll fvck it all back down. Let’s get screwed. I don’t care.” That’s only part of the chorus too.
The way Monáe so seamlessly transitions from track to track is another underrated part of what makes an album so classic and timeless too. This first happening on how Screwed perfectly segues to one of her lead singles. The rap-heavy and anthemic, Django Jane, which has Monáe flowing better than most so-called rappers comes in as part of Screwed is still playing to open the track. As her very implacable and unapologetic hard flow bursts through on the single, which powerful message helps celebrate black women and their great queendom, as well as, “Black Girl Magic.” A track that sounds like it would’ve been perfect for the Black Panther soundtrack and movie. On what’s probably Monáe’s most political record to date of her already great career, it even finds her showing off great wordplay that’s akin to great emcees of yesteryear like MC Lyte, Da Brat, Queen Latifah, Shawnna and Jean Grae or even great emcees of today like, Rapsody and K’Valentine, which makes you ask, “What’s there she can’t do?”
Monáe’s very sexual liberating tribute to really celebrating sexuality or other parts of the female form that are deemed offensive, even when you are told not to, but truly make everyone unique, is very present in that not give a fvcks funky-attitude way Prince was throughout much of his celebrated legendary career on much of the album. Whether on the very empoweringly fun, PYNK, which truly celebrates feminism and it’s fierceness along with female sexuality and erotic expression or the very vibrant and dance-centric vibes of the Mattman & Robin-produced lead single, Make Me Feel. With it’s very electric guitars and so groovy funky sound, an obvious homage to her late great mentor, collaborator and friend.
Prince isn’t the only legend or great, who’s influence is seen throughout the album too in various forms. As the legendary and just as iconic, if not more iconic Stevie Wonder is featured on a skit towards the end of the album. Which is taken from a recorded phone conversation between Monáe and Stevie. Brian Wilson is also featured on harmonious on the very opening track.
As said several times already it’s Prince presence aside from Monáe herself obviously, who’s influence you could really hear throughout the album. Whether it be the very similar sounding synths on Make Me Feel or the various sounds of Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop and R&B throughout that make her just like her late great mentor, The Purple One, someone you can’t really box into one specific category or genre.
The greatness and creative genius of Monáe shown on tracks like the very soulfully smooth and unapologetically confident Organized Noize-produced ballad, I Like That or even the very vulnerable, So Afraid or the very upbeat and celebratory hand-claps and foot-stomping of the closing track, Americans. Which is Monáe’s own new very joyful updated version of the American anthem that calls for change, as well as to celebrate the unique and the diverse, rather than reject it. It’s easily one of the greatest closing tracks to any album in the history of music and closes a very inspirational and moving masterpiece of art, that’s also not only easily the best album to drop so far this year, but one of the best albums to drop of the past several years. This is the album that will not only get Monáe the long overdue Grammys, as well as several other accolades she already deserves, but hasn’t yet gotten. But also really cement her place as an iconic figure in the history of music at already such a young age. Her late great mentor, friend and collaborator, Prince, is definitely looking down very proud.