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Preview: Janelle Monae's New Album

Last night as we sipped on cocktails at the ArchAndroid emotion experience we thought: Yup, just another album listening where an artist we like will either disappoint or leave us wanting. INCORRECT. From the very minute the first song off of Janelle Monae’s debut album started booming all over the theater, we were subjected to involuntary body spasms. Aptly named Dance or Die, we said to ourselves; “ It’s a Suite903 Friday night in sonic form.” Never mind that there was also a super trippy movie playing on the screen to accompany the music. The entire thing played out like our weekend: banging forever with little rest. Afterwards, when we spoke to the Wondaland dudes, who executive produced the album and double as her band, we used the word “ACIDTRIPPINHOLYBALLS” which they said was a fitting and unique adjective. The album is a beautiful piece of art. Janelle spans influences that most artists need a whole career to delve into. From James Brown to Jimi Hendrix to Afrobeat to stuff that we couldn’t even decipher, this album is one thing for certain—a complete digression from the EP. Janelle is an artist who obviously loves to make music, not just sing. THIS LADY LOVES TO JAM. There is no ego in her creation. She sometimes sacrifices her own voice just to blend into the music so that the song is not ruined. How refreshing in a time when most artists sacrifice the quality just so they can yell over the melodies. The two singles out now are amazing but they do no justice to the sound of the album and we only heard half of it. Miss Janelle, you’ve managed to surprise us and exceed our expectations and these days that is quite hard to do. Also hard to do: have a whole room of New York industry people dancing in the aisles at an album listening. It was like Sunday service for the Gospel according to Monae. You’ve made a believer out of us. Album drops May 18th. -Judnick Mayard

Preview: Janelle Monae's New Album