Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer
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Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer

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As a writer and vocalist Monae has never sounded as confident and is clearly relishing singing these songs of sexual and self-identity, assertions of power in terms of race, gender and sexual politics.

Taken on their own, the songs reap immediately impressive rewards, which is why the previously released singles seemed to anticipate a jewel in Monae’s crown. Unfortunately, taken as a whole it’s disappointing to find that Dirty Computerhas less substance than it may initially appear to. From song to song Monae doesn’t explore her chosen subject matter from many different angles or at any great depth, which has the effect of making each defiant cry of power seem less powerful by virtue of its thematic repetition.

Packed with vocal hooks, quotable lyrics and unifying, guitar-heavy choruses that may have been designed with festival crowds in mind, this should’ve been Monae’s Lemonade. Overall this album has some great tracks that seem less when taken in context and leans too heavily on its production – its perfection acting as a barrier for emotional connection.

7/10