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Janelle Monáe Strips The Hardware For Humanity

Time:2018-05-12 08:45Underwear site information Click:

strips Humanity hardware Janelle

Janelle Monáe is fully basking in her freedom. As a 32-year-old singer with more than a decade in music under her belt, Janelle has made a career out of being an artistic chameleon. But her latest album, Dirty Computer, undoubtedly proves that playing the role of yourself is the most satisfying part.

From pansexual proclamations and Afro-futuristic lewks to paying homage to Prince and eloquently purging political statements through rose-colored lenses, Dirty Computer — both the album and what she calls an "emotion picture" — is a heroine's journey set to a symphony.

To mark what may very well be the artist's magnum opus, Pilar Fitzgerald, Sydnee Monday, Anastasia Tsioulcas and I reacted to and analyzed Monáe's new art in real time. (Remember when experiencing new music was a communal exercise?)

-- Sidney Madden

Sidney Madden: Dirty Computer, the emotion picture, opens with Janelle as a robot or a woman and in a sterile-looking facility. She's lying on a table while technicians are wiping out her 'memories.' Each corresponding music video either represents a memory or dream Janelle has. What are your first impressions of the film?

Pilar Fitzgerald: There's a lot of robotic vs. humanity vs. something in between at play here.

Anastasia Tsioulcas: Those steampunk helmets at the beginning are pretty rad.

Sydnee Monday: She's getting reprogrammed?

Sidney Madden: Reprogrammed or brainwashed — "My name is Jane 57821. I am a Dirty Computer. I am ready to be cleaned."

Pilar Fitzgerald: She's always played around with black and white, so all this use of color in the music videos — her "memories" — feels really significant. The scenes from "Crazy Classic Life" are like an underground queer dance Mount Olympus.

Sydnee Monday: The soundscape of "Crazy Classic Life," though! A summer mood. What are you getting from the black and white, Pilar? Or I guess the lack of it.

Pilar Fitzgerald: I associate her black and white with Janelle's Cindi Mayweather/Android persona, and so the use of color in this — it feels like she's coming alive.

Sidney Madden: The use of technology in these videos definitely reminds me of something out of Black Mirror. The fact that drones act as spies and police to break up their fun and alert masked soldiers to take them away is one of those science-fiction-soon-to-be-science-fact type of folkways. So the themes of the film seems to be dystopian future, and sexual freedom and suppression?

Sydnee Monday: Yeah. And Tessa Thompson playing a worker in the reprogram facility named Mary Apple is related to Janelle's past albums. The Mary Apple character has been present in Janelle's work for a bit so I'm glad I can actually see the character in a film.

Sidney Madden: Oh, what has Mary Apple meant before?

Sydnee Monday: She's been the love interest in projects past if I remember right. Janelle's been playing the android character for so long in her music, and onscreen. I'm obsessed with the episode of Electric Dreams where she plays a robot that looks like a human based on Philip K. Dick's writing.

Sidney Madden: I like how even though this is set in the future, there's a bit of '80s pop sheen to songs like "Take A Byte" and "Screwed." I'm feeling how this is futuristic but also nostalgic at the same time.

Anastasia Tsioulcas: The beats and instrumental harmonies on "Take A Byte" are straight '80s.

Sydnee Monday: Janelle Monae is the past, present and future. You heard it here first!

Anastasia Tsioulcas: "Screwed" just might be the most 2018 song on the album, and almost the most political, but for sure it's the most nihilistic. Think about its topics: 1) the idea that life — and maybe one's sense of self — only exists if it's reflected in a magazine or on a screen ("I live my life in a magazine / I live my life on a TV screen") 2) anxiety and impending doom (2018 for everyone) and of course "Sex is power" — an idea which has already launched thousands of gender-studies classes and builds upon a quote that is popularly attributed, but probably never actually said, by Oscar Wilde: "Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power."

Sidney Madden: Preach!

Anastasia Tsioulcas: The whole end, which I hear as criticism of the current administration — except for that "hotep" line. Wonder whom she's got in mind?

Sydnee Monday: I'm glad that line is there — because so often black women are made to feel like we have to choose one identity over the other. She's both a woman and black and, of course, considering those identities and how they intersect.

Sidney Madden: The transition from "Screwed" to "Django Jane" is so seamless.

Pilar Fitzgerald: Reminds me of the transition from "Q. U. E. E. N." into "Electric Lady" on her last album. Smooth af.

Sydnee Monday: "Tuck the pearls in just in case the world end" — I love that line with this imagery especially.

Anastasia Tsioulcas: There are SO MANY good lines in "Django Jane."

Sidney Madden: Stark contrast between "Django Jane" and "Pynk." "Pynk" was the most popular video out of the ones she's released leading up to the album.

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