Dirty Computer

After a run of amazing singles and captivating visuals, Janelle Monae’s third studio album, Dirty Computer is finally here.

Dirty Computer marks Monáe’s first studio album since 2013’s highly acclaimed The Electric Lady. In the years since, she’s made a move into the world of film, starring in Oscar-nominated films Moonlight and Hidden Figures alongside Taraji P Henson.

The 48 minute 14 track album includes contributions from Brian Wilson, Zoe Kravitz, Pharell Williams and Prince shortly before his death. It explores what the American dream really means if you’re a woman or a person of colour while giving you something to cut loose to, from funk to soul to RnB, because Monáe is good like that.

The modern renaissance woman that she is, uses her new album to explore themes of femininity, LGBTQ and black power. Self-empowerment is the message of rapped numbers Django Jane (“Running out of space on my damn bandwagon / Remember when they said I look too mannish?”) and I Got the Juice, a duet with Pharrell Williams. To coincide with the album, Monáe has released a Black Panther-like Afrofuturistic film, which bodes well for the former time-traveling android, her alter ego Cindi Mayweather.

Prince’s influence is felt much more effectively in the record’s celebration of sexuality and gender fluidity, be that in the interchangeable pronouns and carpe diem messaging powering Crazy, Classic, Life, or in demands to be “screwed like an animal” in the 80s-flavoured Zoe Kravitz-duet Screwed. Make Me Feel is another Prince inspired hit single, very electric in sound. This song features one of the best instrumentation and arrangement on this album.

This body of work is an immediate masterpiece that’s probably only going to get better with repeated listens. The most important thing about this album is the message. With lyrics, she addresses serious issues like sexuality, feminism, politics, and love. Her lyrics are poetic, metaphorical and rhythmic. With her lyrics, she shows strength, passion, pain, love, aggression, and fear.

Dirty Computer is undeniably impressive.

Notable favorites; Make Me Feel, I Like That, Stevie’s Dream

Overall Rating; 8/10

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