Saturday, April 10, 2010

Seen & Heard: Janelle Monae Walks the "Tightrope"



Remember last March when I went crazy for Janelle Monae and then subsequently put her songs "Violet Stars Happy Hunting" and "Many Moons" on nearly every playlist I made in 2009?  Maybe you don't, but if you weren't paying attention then, it's time to wise up.  Monae's full-length studio album The ArchAndroid is finally dropping on May 18th, and she's been prepping the planet Earth for her arrival with features in every culture rag from Nylon to Vogue, bringing in the men's wear trend full force, playing small venues in cities all over the country, and throwing down the video for the album's single "Tightrope" featuring Big Boi.  I went to check out Monae's concert at Schuba's in Chicago a couple weeks back, and I can tell you she's not to be missed live.  She's an artist with a vision, and she's carrying it out in a way that pays homage to a cavalcade of influences while simultaneously building a sound that matches the funk bent of her on-stage narrative (unlike, for example, the somewhat similar sci-fi fashion bent of another image conscious pop star: Lady Gaga...no, I'm not hating, merely repeating that I don't think her sound has caught up to the maturity of her vision).  All that and she dances, too, as the video for "Tightrope" will prove.  This is high energy, high intensity music to run around like a fool to and I'm officially ranking this as one of the most anticipated albums of 2010.  Check out the video and tell me you're not ready to invest in a pair of tuxedo pants. 

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