June Artist – Janelle Monáe (Part 1)
This post is part of my Deep Dive Music Project. This month I’m listening to some music by Janelle Monáe. Be sure to check out the Janelle Monáe playlist I have on Spotify. If you want to read Part 2 of this post you can go here.
This month I am diving into the discography of Janelle Monáe.
I know of Janelle Monáe. I know she has three solo studio albums, and that she started out singing vocals on a couple songs on Outkast’s 2006 album Idlewild. I know she’s garnered a lot of critical acclaim (including several Grammy nominations) for her music. I’ve seen her most recent album (2018’s Dirty Computer) on several best albums of the year lists in 2018. I also know she’s done work as an actress with roles in films like Moonlight and Hidden Figures.
My experience with Janelle Monáe as an artist before the Deep Dive Music Project is kind of similar to Frank Ocean before I dived into his music. Both artists are ones I’d heard really great things about, that their music is interesting and kind of in its own class, a bit groundbreaking, but I didn’t really know any of their music. And I kept saying, “I should listen to their music” but never did. With Frank Ocean I ended up being blown away by his work, and from what I’ve heard about Janelle Monáe I believe I’ll have a similar experience and really enjoy the music this month.
The Janelle Monáe Songs I Kind Of Know
This is going to be really short. There’s only one Janelle Monáe’s that I know and that’s her hit single “The Way You Make Me Feel.” It’s a song that used to play at the retail store I work at (I don’t hear it much anymore) and I’ve also heard that song in a TV commercial. The other song of her I know isn’t a solo song of hers, but was one she was featured on, which is “We Are Young” by fun. Those are the only songs I know I’ve heard, but I my come across other songs that are familiar to me as the month goes on.
Before I start diving into the discography for the artists I’ve chosen I want to give a rundown of the impression I get of their music and their work. This may or may not be accurate. The point of this isn’t for me to tell you, “this is definitely what this artist’s music is/will be like” but for me to see if these impressions are correct as I go along. They may or may not be.
I believe her 3 studio albums are concept albums of sorts. Just from the titles of the albums I get the sense there might be themes of Afrofuturism. This is a broad genre that addresses themes and concerns of the African diaspora through technoculture and speculative fiction in literature, music, art, etc. Of course this might not be the case at all.
I also know that Janelle Monáe has identified as pansexual (and before that as bisexual) and like other LGBTQ+ artists this could be a theme in her music. But then again it might not. LGBTQ+ artists aren’t obligated to create artistic work on this one facet of their life.
The Albums I’ll Be Listening To
Since Janelle Monáe only has 3 studio albums I’ll be listening to all three albums. They are
The ArchAndroid (2010)
The Electric Lady (2013)
Dirty Computer (2018)
I’ve also included an EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite Special Edition (2007), and a few songs featuring Janelle Monáe that I’ll listen to as well.
I also haven’t watched Janelle Monáe in any movies or tv shows, so I might try to do that if I can.
In any case I’m looking forward to diving into the music of Janelle Monáe this month.
What’s your favourite song or album by Janelle Monáe?