This is the 500th post on life of refinement. I’m proud of the non-linear series of artifacts gathered here that point toward new understandings. I use this web site to archive interesting things. Meaningful things. This is a curation of the rambling series of artifacts and patterns of representation I find significant enough to be marked and analyzed in a free open public space. This is as close to learning as we’ll ever get.
Thanks to all who read the website.
I knew of Janelle Monae and appreciated her music but only had singles in my library. Inspired by a Wax Poetics write up, I bought a copy of “The Electric Lady” last night. With two full listens into the album (barely enough to comprehend what is going on) I’m sold.
This project is wonderful dance music and a really good concept album (or an extension of a concept album to multiple projects — Monae plays an alter ego pretty consistently). The record is an extended riff on technology, cyborg/human interactions, civil rights and living life with dual identities. Given that “The Electric Lady” could be a Phillip K. Dick novel, the smooth inviting production and musicianship is what carries the project.
This albums sounds VERY eighties to me. From the sonic structure and choices of beats/samples to the rock opera lyricism of the concepts. At points I was reminded of my nostalgic childhood filled with Styx, Heart, Bon Jovi and Run DMC. The strings sound eighties. The drums sound eighties. Even the vocal harmonies remind me of eighties hits. But the eighties were a point of technological jump off and the slight broadening of pop music.
I like the futuristic world that Monae is painting. And the willingness to build futuristic pop music out of the sonic blocks of the past. Astute Monae names tracks after inspiring pioneers: “Sally Ride” (astronaut) and “Dorothy Dandridge Eye’s” (first black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award).
In the context of the blog, I’ll quote the end of the “Dance Apocalyptic” when Janelle Monae says: “I really really want to thank you for dancing to the end.” Thanks for reading and dancing ’til the end.