Album Review

'Dirty Computer': The spirit of Prince lives on in Janelle Monáe's new album

Janelle Monáe's just released her inspired third album, and for the first time it feels like she's being authentic

06 May 2018 - 00:00

Janelle Monáe's talent has always been undeniable, but she was also - to put it politely - boring. Her music was sterile, even when it was meant to be funky and full of attitude. Her trademark monochrome outfits, red lipstick and "this is a man's world" James Brown hair were cute, but their predictability lost flavour pretty quickly.
But something happened between her last album, 2013's The Electric Lady, and her new one, Dirty Computer. The world has changed drastically since then, and it seems Monáe could no longer live in her android-filled dream world and was instead pulled down to earth by its politics and sociopolitics.
And her mentor, the magnificent and inimitable genius Prince, died in 2016.

But his spirit lives on in Dirty Computer, a superb record that feels like the first time Monáe is being authentic: she's shed her monochrome uniform and it feels like a metaphor for the place she's in right now - publicly embracing and owning her queerness both in the music and in interviews and being more outspoken about social issues than in the past...

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