Janelle Monae’s New Album Razzle Dazzles.

Electric Lady.

The Elec­tric Lady.

The Elec­tric Lady is the much await­ed fol­low-up to Janelle Mon­ae’s debut The Archan­droid from 2010. Like its pre­de­ces­sor, it’s not so much a con­cept album, as it is one that inhab­its a musi­cal land­scape in much the same way that Bowie plant­ed him­self in the world of Zig­gy Star­dust.

If any­thing, this is an even more impres­sive affair than her debut. Not unlike Bowie, despite bor­row­ing and imbib­ing vora­cious­ly from any num­ber of dif­fer­ent sources, what she ends up pro­duc­ing some­how man­ages to have a remark­able musi­cal coherence.

Bowie as Ziggy.

Bowie as Ziggy.

There are echoes of Mar­vin Gaye and Ste­vie Won­der, oodles of Sly and The Fam­i­ly Stone, and a hint of Boo­by Wom­ack. But most of all, the album nods, gen­u­flects and embraces the fig­ure of Prince.

Cor­rect­ly – and sig­nif­i­cant­ly – the album kicks off with a duet with him. Before sub­se­quent tracks see her joined by Erykah Badu, Solange, Miguel and Esper­an­za Spald­ing as she fus­es and melds jazz, funk, soul and RnB with hiphop. And all of it drowned in her sump­tu­ous melodies and soar­ing vocals.

Cat­e­go­rize me, I defy every label.” Q.U.E.E.N.

The boys from Pitch­fork gave it an 8.3 here. If it doesn’t make your end of year top 5 list, I shall eat an item of cloth­ing of your choice. You can see the offi­cial video for Q.U.E.E.N. here.

Skip the open­ing 50 sec­onds and head for the song prop­er. And you can hear the sen­sa­tion­al title track Elec­tric Lady  here.

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