Listen: Janelle Monae's 'The Electric Lady' in full
Bits and pieces of Janelle Monae’s conceptual, dramatic new album “The Electric Lady” have been popping up over the last several months, including “Q.U.E.E.N” featuring Erykah Badu and the funky “Dance Apocalyptic.” Now, you can feast on the whole 19-track set before it comes out Sept. 10, courtesy of VH1.
In addition to Badu, guests on the extravaganza include Prince, Miguel, Solance, Esperanza Spalding and Cee Lo-Green and Big Boi.
The cover album notes that “The Electric Lady” is composed of Suites IV and V, and has two empty circles remaining for what are surely Suite VI and VII.
Monae told Jet that the titular Electric Lady is from a painting of a woman by Monae, and she developed a character from there:
" When I was on tour last year and the year before, I was painting and singing in front of thousands of people. So I would paint this female silhouette night after night and I didn’t quite understand why I was so drawn to this image, this silhouette.
I ended up going off tour and going to Atlanta, Georgia and speaking to my therapist and she encouraged me. She said you should name the painting, name this series. You have all these hundreds of these paintings, name it. Do a showing of it. And so I started to try to come up with these names and I was having a hard time.
I knew that whoever she was, she didn’t want to be marginalized. You could not put her in a fence or categorize her. She was so much bigger than that, you know. I just felt an energy, a very visceral feeling of energy from her, so the words came to my spirit: The Electric Lady…because that’s what it felt like when I looked at her and thought of the colors and the vibrant colors and how it made me feel. There was electricity. It was electric and she was electric."
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