Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

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BleuPanda
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Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby BleuPanda » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:25 pm

This feels like the first event-type album of the year to me, so I figure it deserves its own thread.


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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Listyguy » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:28 pm

I put my initial reaction to the album in the 2018 albums thread, which I'll copy over to here:

First impressions of Dirty Computer: Not as good as The ArchAndroid, but pretty good. It goes in more of a smooth R&B direction than I would have preferred, but there is are some higher energy tracks that give it balance (such as "Americans," one of the two clearest influences Prince's music had on this album). I found the few moments where hip-hop showed up on the album to be kind of abrupt and not all that interesting, but I'm not the biggest hip-hop fan around so you might want to take that opinion with a grain of salt. Other than that, I agree with Nassim, one of the strengths of this album is that it doesn't overstay its welcome.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Jirin » Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:17 pm

We’re all screwed, let’s get screwed!

Agree this is a very good album, maybe best of year so far. I agree a lot of the hip hop is unnecessary. I have no idea who decided in 1998 or so that every R&B song needed a rap verse, but it’s apparently somebody with lots of authority.

I wonder how many days until someone makes a mashup of Pynk with Aerosmith’s Pink.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Harold » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:30 pm

Jirin wrote:I wonder how many days until someone makes a mashup of Pynk with Aerosmith’s Pink.


Or Boris's.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby letmeintomyzone » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:55 pm

Any relation to the Metropolis series?

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby TheLastEnemy » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:28 pm

Definitely the best album of the year so far in my opinion, much to my surprise - I haven't got round to listening to previous albums yet, but will move them up the list now!

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby prosecutorgodot » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:39 pm

letmeintomyzone wrote:Any relation to the Metropolis series?

Unfortunately (or fortunately), no. The "Emotion picture" tied to the album features Android #57821 with sci-fi aesthetics, but the actual album is a personal venture. Janelle says she has been working on this album since before The ArchAndroid.

I'm going to listen a couple more times before I say my feelings on the music. How do people think this album compares to The Electric Lady?

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Pauler » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:56 am

Jirin wrote:Agree this is a very good album, maybe best of year so far. I agree a lot of the hip hop is unnecessary. I have no idea who decided in 1998 or so that every R&B song needed a rap verse, but it’s apparently somebody with lots of authority.


I would argue it's started when Mariah Carey insisted on getting ODB on the classic remix for "Fantasy". Apparently she was a huge fan of Wu-Tang Clan and she longed to have the urban crowd's approval.

Back to Dirty Computer, I only have heard half of the songs here but it's quite good. Ms. Monae is still much better as a vocalist than as a rapper though.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Jirin » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:34 pm

Pauler wrote:
Jirin wrote:Agree this is a very good album, maybe best of year so far. I agree a lot of the hip hop is unnecessary. I have no idea who decided in 1998 or so that every R&B song needed a rap verse, but it’s apparently somebody with lots of authority.


I would argue it's started when Mariah Carey insisted on getting ODB on the classic remix for "Fantasy". Apparently she was a huge fan of Wu-Tang Clan and she longed to have the urban crowd's approval.


I was actually thinking Mariah Carey's Honey. I remember I watched a lot of MTV around that time. First a version came out of the song that was just the song. Then a week or two later it was replaced with a version with Mase rapping over half of it. And after that it seemed every big R&B song had a rap component.

So I guess every time we have a nice R&B song that is smooth and melodic and it suddenly has a jarringly aggressive rap verse breaking the entire mood and flow of the song, we should thank Mariah Carey.

Right now I think the best songs on the album are Monae's best, but the album isn't as consistent as Archandroid as a whole.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Nick » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:23 pm

Janelle Monáe- Dirty Computer

Pop-funk-R&B queen, possible android, and heiress to the genius of Prince, Janelle Monáe, is back with her third studio album, Dirty Computer. Right off the bat, there are two things that separate this album from her first two. Number one, the length. The ArchAndroid is 68 minutes long, The Electric Lady is 67. Stack that up to her newest album, and the 48 minute long Dirty Computer feels comparatively lean, allowing Monáe to trim the fat where necessary, giving us an album that never, ever overstays its welcome. Number two is the lack of the "Metropolis" narrative that pervaded those previous studio albums. But if you were ever scared that Monáe would totally ditch her signature sci-fi techno-aesthetic on Dirty Computer, well, let me put those fears to rest. That aesthetic that helped make her famous is still here, albeit a bit buried in the background. What has come to the foreground are grander themes of self-love and acceptance and an all-out push back against racism, sexism, homo and xeno and trans-phobia, the likes of which Monáe's America has only come more and more aware of in the five years since her last album.

But enough about heady concepts like "themes" and "narratives" and let's cut to the music. Too often the word "colorful" is used to describe music, but man oh man, is that word all too appropriate to use here. From the opening track, the two minute long "Dirty Computer", Monáe hits us with a blast of technicolor funk that never lets up. That song features the sugar sweet rainbow vocal harmonies of none other than the legendary Brian Wilson, which provide an unconventional yet extremely satisfying accompaniment to Monáe's lead vocals. Meanwhile, album and career highlight "Make Me Feel" channels the spirit of Prince to create one of the catchiest pop tunes of the decade, with a grooving bassline, tongue-click instrumentals (think Snoop Dogg and Pharell's "Drop It Like It's Hot"), and a pre-chorus that rises with climatic energy before dissolving into pure, danceable funk. Speaking of Prince, his fingerprints are all over Dirty Computer, for better and for worse. Wait, for worse you say? Yes, sometimes for worse. Because, you see, as much as I love the "Kiss"-like guitars on "Screwed" or the "Let's Go Crazy" style energy of album closer "Americans" it can, at times, feel like Monáe has a bit of trouble letting her own identity shine beneath the Prince tributes. Now, this is a rather minor complaint, after all, even when the Prince homages become a little too overt they still end up being extremely satisfying Prince homages, and there are many worse artists you could construct an homage to than Prince Rogers Nelson. But for an album so focused on the concept of identity, it feels somewhat off to have the album so indebted to another artist.

But it should speak to the overwhelming power of the album that the only other complaint that I can think of is that the six minute long "Don't Judge Me" is just a bit too long. Dirty Computer is a fantastic album from a fantastic artist and it was well worth the five year wait.

Verdict: The ArchAndroid > Dirty Computer > The Electric Lady

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Moonbeam » Wed May 02, 2018 2:09 am

An incredible album. Of course, I'm all over the fact that this is her most Princely album to date, and the fact that he collaborated with her on the album (though the extent of this is unclear) is pretty awesome. I've seen some people comment that the sea change in this album is a bit too much, but this seems to fit in nicely with her other albums. Yes, the setting may not be Metropolis 700+ years from now but rather 2018 America, but the themes of forbidden love, triumph and self-belief in the face of oppression and an appreciation for all humankind are right there. Count me as one who loves the palette that uses extra emphasis on synthesizers and poppy hooks (though those were present before as well). Nonetheless, this may be her most infectious album yet, and one of the most infectious of the 21st century (up there with Kylie's Fever). Seriously, I get so many different songs stuck in my head, and I've only listened to it 7 times so far.

Early favorites are "Make Me Feel" (of course), "Take a Byte", "Pynk", "So Afraid", "Crazy, Classic, Life", "Dirty Computer", and "Screwed". Jeez - that's over half the album, and I really like some of the other tracks, too!

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby prosecutorgodot » Wed May 02, 2018 3:39 am

Biggest warning to people going into this album: there are heavy references to sex. WARNING: SEXY MUSIC

For this album, I'll start by listing my favorite tracks, and describing them a little.

"Screwed" ft. Zoe Kravitz - Zoe's vocals give this song a lot of personality, and the cheeky lyrics are great.

"PYNK" ft. Grimes - Probably my favorite track on the album. It seems to be the most experimental moment on the album. The song progresses from a simmering of soft vocals and a sprinkling of instrumentation into full-blown boiling-over by the end.

"Make Me Feel" - At first I was thrown off by the heavy "Kiss" influence and the descending chromatic scale in the pre-chorus (blech, still not a huge fan of that part). But I've been won over. It's so catchy, and when the crunchy guitars (which Prince recorded) come in toward the second half, I always air-guitar. Always.

"I Like That" - Yeah, production is a bit bland. But Janelle makes it work, with great vocal presence and melody.

"So Afraid" - This hit a personal chord. It's also personal for Janelle, and I felt for her too. Harmonizing vocals are cool.

"Americans" - My favorite non-single. I haven't heard anyone else mention this, but it reminds me of Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.", in how it is a protest song with a danceable beat and gives a really joyous feeling.

For me, the catchiness of the record was the greatest asset, followed by the multi-layered lyrics. I personally didn't mind the hip-hop parts of the album ("Django Jane" showcases some great bars and flow), but they weren't my favorite parts.

The album suffers from the same thing as The Electric Lady: I keep getting reminded of the influences and artists from the past. Mainly the Eighties this time around. Prince, Madonna, Springsteen, even golden age hip-hop. I end up putting this album over TEL because this album doesn't overstay its welcome. I also thought the two "dream" tracks were kind of lame. Also title track should have been longer; wanted more Brian Wilson.

Genres: Synth-funk, dance pop, contemporary R&B, hip-hop

Light 8/10

Yay, pretty happy to love an album I've anticipated this much.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby VanillaFire1000 » Wed May 02, 2018 4:54 am

I would say it is not as good as ArchAndroid (I mean, very few things are) but better than Electric Lady. I'm glad she is kind of ditching the Cindi robot shtick. Django Jane is probably my favorite song of the year thus far.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Jirin » Mon May 07, 2018 7:32 pm

I think American is by far the best song of the year so far.

Whenever I listen to it I get emotional then proceed to sing the chorus to myself uncontrollably for the next two hours.

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Re: Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Postby Moonbeam » Tue May 08, 2018 11:00 am

This is one of those infectious albums where putting anything else on just seems patently ridiculous. I actually tried to check out some new music, but 30 seconds in, it seemed completely pointless. I'm not sure whether I'm ready to crown Dirty Computer as my favorite Janelle album yet, but it seems like it has the most replay value, at least.


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