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Ok, I'll come out and say it: Anyone giving this album a mediocre or poor review probably doesn't know what the heck he or she is talking about.
I rarely say something like that, but at the same time, there is almost never such an eclectic, sophisticated, surprising, genre-bending album ever to be marketed and released as a "mainstream" album. This is the kind of incredibly brilliant music that almost never finds its way into the mainstream. This woman is light years ahead of any "mainstream" pop/r&b/soul artist working today. So I have to say it like I did to open this review -- a whole lot of listeners that have never listened to much beyond the top 40 of their particular musical style are probably going to listen to this once or twice and then let it gather dust. It's THAT challenging to listeners who simply don't go for anything beyond radio-friendly music.
And no matter the genre, this album's taken a piece of it, turned it on its head, inside out and then spit out something magical, wonderful and brand new.
What's the iPad's tagline? Magical and Revolutionary? Well I've got news for Steve Jobs. THIS album is magical and revolutionary.
This phenomenon of a singer and songwriter sounds like Prince, Michael Jackson, Shirley Bassey and Stevie Wonder all rolled into one, but was clearly -- obviously -- undoubtedly -- raised on a completely different Planet Of Wonderful. Clearly she's not from Earth.
This woman has style and substance -- a voice that in my opinion runs circles around the supposed divas of the past two decades (Mariah, Whitney, Celine, Mary J, etc.). Her voice is like a never-before-seen color of the rainbow.
Janelle Monae oozes STYLE, and CLASS. The songwriting, heck I'll call it songBENDING, is -- creatively -- head and shoulders above just about everything that's been released in the past decade. THIS is how I expected music of the new millennium would sound. It's finally arrived.
On top of all that, she incorporates Debussy's Clair de Lune as a coda to Say You'll Go. It's not the first time I've heard an artist do something like that, but I don't think I've heard it done so well, so organically, so seamlessly, so beautifully.
Whew. Okay, I'm gushing. It's just that I rarely listen to anything so gush-worthy.
Buy it, buy it, buy it.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 28, 2010 10:22:50 PM PDT
Having sampled the album, I doubt I will buy it. You cannot dismiss the naysayers as being ignorant -- that argument simply won't wash. It's great that you find the experience so transcendental, but I just don't see (hear) it.
MonŠe's debut is all over the place, in terms of genre & style. People have eclectic tastes, especially when it comes to music, which touches us on a deeper, emotional level *before* the mental appraisal kicks in.
I'd heard MonŠe rocked the house at the BET awards last night doing a Prince song (I feel she is very "Prince" yet with her own stamp of style) and so I did a search and found a clip of her performing "Tightrope" on Letterman. ~ W O W ~ I then watched the official clip with the studio produced sound and decided she is indeed extremely gifted, yet perhaps best experienced live.
I'll say it again -- this artist is possibly best experienced live. This album seems seriously over-produced.
Once MonŠe is a little more mature and more in command, it will be interesting to see what results.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2010 11:09:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2010 11:13:42 AM PDT
Michael Snyder says:
Hi Max, thanks for commenting. Feel free to quote me, but please don't feel free to mischaracterize me. Whether or not you choose to interpret "probably doesn't know what he or she is talking about" as ignorant is, rightly or wrongly, certainly acceptable. But the word ignorant is your word in this dialogue, not mine, and carries a more critical, negative connotation that I felt inappropriate for my review. I feel there is the implication, should someone read only your comment and not my review, that I used the word ignorant.
Again, another example, I would consider religious epiphany "transcendental" -- not Janelle MonŠe -- and like my previous example, I did not use that word in my review. I sense a mocking tone. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I've certainly seen criticism that her album is over-produced. I don't agree. I think the sophistication, the styling, the scope of her over-arching theme, the fact that it is, of all things, a science-fictional conceit, allow for over-the-top production, and simply fits.
Also, I think it easy to call a young artist immature, but in this case may be premature, since we can't yet identify this sort of spectacle as a rut, a rote signature, a pattern from which she is not able to experience, master, and then move on. I think she has one more album to go to complete her "trilogy." After that, it will be most intriguing to see what she does next. You might like Metropolis: The Chase Suite better. You may consider it less over-produced.
In fact, I think this a surprisingly mature record for someone so young.
Again, thanks for commenting! And yes, I agree completely. Letterman was a WOW of the highest order.
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