Dirty Computer is the 3rd album from Janelle Monae, preceded by 2013's The Electric Lady. It's the first LP that's not a part of her concept narrative (Cindi Mayweather's Metropolis), which drove her first two projects. Referred to to as an "emotion picture," the album is widely considered to be in the race for album of the year (2018), and it features a stellar guestlist: Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Grimes, Pharrell, Thundercat, Joe Kravitz, and others. In addition, Prince, who's known to have been one of Monae's mentours, has worked on one of the tracks on the album: "Make Me Feel." Regarding the work, Monae states "I think it's a conversation I want to have with us as a society, as human beings, about what it means to tell somebody that their existence, either they're queer, minorities, women, poor, makes you have bugs and viruses. It's about embracing those things even if it makes others uncomfortable." For "Pynk," Monae paints a world where love triumphs over bleepy, stripped down electronica, and on "Django Jane," she raps about agency for women of color over a trap-influenced beat. In "I Like That," she addresses her sexuality in a secretive but graceful manner: "And I like that / I don't really give a fuck if I was just the only one / who likes that / I never like to follow, follow all around, the chase is on." The album is effortlessly cool and intimate, fun and funky enough for you to dance to but also thought provoking. Certainly one of the best from Monae's catalog, also check out "Don't Judge Me," and "Crazy, Classic, Life."
- gatefold cover
- music label: Bad Boy Records 2018
reviewed by rei kwondo 10/18