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She used to look good to me...
March 3, 2014 7:21 PM   Subscribe


 
Fuck yes. Can't wait for the video.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:28 PM on March 3


I don't think I want to live in a universe where there isn't a video of this.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:30 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Perfection. I love it.
posted by mochapickle at 7:35 PM on March 3


I just can't the fuck even. I'm not even kidding.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:36 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Before someone gets in and asks, "do we have to have a Metafilter post every time Janelle Monae does something?" I'll just point out that yes, yes we do.
posted by elmer benson at 7:38 PM on March 3 [60 favorites]


Oh hey a few days ago my calendar reminded me that we need to nominate her for a Hugo. How do we do that?
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:40 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Catagory: Person who is actually from Space and an alternate Reality Future.
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


I'm beginning to think the Cindi Mayweather story isn't just a story. It's cover.
posted by petrilli at 8:01 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Everything she does is so full of awesome... Please make a video, please.
posted by hippybear at 8:01 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


At a time when it looks like Robert Palmer's original 'backup babes' became grocery clerks in the "Supergeil" video, and appropriate video is much, much, MUCH more necessary.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:03 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


It sounds to me like this is perhaps not just Janelle Monae but also Deep Cotton? (You may notice them in the videos for "Tightrope" and "Q.U.E.E.N.") Not that I don't adore Janelle Monae just all by her self, but also she has a wonderful sense for people to collaborate with.
posted by Frowner at 8:06 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]




It sounds to me like this is perhaps not just Janelle Monae but also Deep Cotton? (You may notice them in the videos for "Tightrope" and "Q.U.E.E.N.") Not that I don't adore Janelle Monae just all by her self, but also she has a wonderful sense for people to collaborate with.

I think that Monae and others are part of an artistic collective, Wondaland Arts Society. They cross-pollinate and collaborate a lot.
posted by hippybear at 8:17 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


And now I've fallen down the pit of Janelle videos once again. Thank you MetaFilter -- I didn't know I needed this tonight, but apparently I did!
posted by hippybear at 8:32 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I'll say it because if most other people said it I'd judge them -- I don't even want to listen to this without being able to see it too.

Because she's swoony!
posted by mudpuppie at 8:34 PM on March 3


If there is a universe in which Janelle Monae and Lupita Nyong'o would be willing to be my wives/best friends, that is the universe in which I would like to dwell.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:50 PM on March 3


Thou shalt have no gods before Janelle MonĂ¡e.
posted by winna at 9:03 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Janelle Monae covers a song whose original video featured robot-like women. BRILLIANT.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:16 PM on March 3


What the Robert Palmer girls would be like in today's videos (spoiler: some of them would be boys.)
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:28 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


I'm not usually big on covers albums, but I'd love to hear one from Monae because of how proudly she wears her influences.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:31 PM on March 3


Needs more unsheathed katana.
posted by dhammond at 9:38 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Shout out to susannotatwit's comment at 2:16. "Is there anything or anybody that isn't improved once it's Janelleified?" Exactly.
posted by book 'em dano at 10:24 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


YES YES YES YES YES.



YES.


OH YES.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:40 PM on March 3


Who has two thumbs, a deep and thorough love of this woman, and tickets to see her in London in May?

YES, THIS PERSON RIGHT HERE.



I'm not that excited.

Honest.

omgsqueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
posted by Katemonkey at 1:37 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I had to Google Janelle Monae. Turns out she's that lady with the hair. Listening to this without any real preconceptions yay or nay, it has that Glee/High School Musical sound. Kind of Hillary Duff. It certainly fits for an E! red carpet thing. I don't mean to be the pooper at this party, but seeing intelligent people lose their minds over this thing is kind of baffling. It sounds like a commercial on the Disney Channel.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:18 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]




Oh hey a few days ago my calendar reminded me that we need to nominate her for a Hugo. How do we do that?

I don't know, but she is already a Tiptree honoree.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:24 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Listening to this without any real preconceptions yay or nay, it has that Glee/High School Musical sound.

Yeah, I don't know who she is either (I'll do the research in a minute), and it just strikes me as particularly professional karaoke. It's good for that sort of thing, but it seems clear to me, reading the reactions here, that the artist's persona is contextual to the performance.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:46 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Oh hey a few days ago my calendar reminded me that we need to nominate her for a Hugo. How do we do that?

Oh man. She would be such a good host for the Hugos.

(I mean, I imagine she would be booked up. But just imagine...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:46 AM on March 4


/dances along while waiting for coffee water to heat
posted by rtha at 5:49 AM on March 4


And for those who don't know who she is, just follow the JanelleMonae tag.
posted by rtha at 5:51 AM on March 4


If you don't know who Janelle Monae is, you are missing out on the most exciting and intelligent pop music of the past decade. No hyperbole. As calling-cards go, Tightrope is serviceable.
posted by erlking at 6:05 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Also, nominating Monae for a Hugo award is an excellent idea.
posted by erlking at 6:27 AM on March 4


Didn't like it. But that's the song's fault, not hers. Welp, if Ms. Monae can't make that song tolerable for me, then the world just needs to stop trying.
posted by dry white toast at 6:28 AM on March 4


Listening to this without any real preconceptions yay or nay, it has that Glee/High School Musical sound.

Yeah, I don't know who she is either (I'll do the research in a minute), and it just strikes me as particularly professional karaoke. It's good for that sort of thing, but it seems clear to me, reading the reactions here, that the artist's persona is contextual to the performance.


I try to avoid this sort of criticism, because of the real possibility that I am recreating those Flickr pranks where somebody would post a masterpiece of photography and self-declared experts would pick it apart under the assumption that it was the work of an amateur and they knew better.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:31 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


I have no idea who this is but it sounds like a bad Karaoke Backing track with someone singing over it.
posted by mary8nne at 6:48 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


haters to the left, this is ah-mazing.
posted by nadawi at 6:50 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I don't see the amazing. Seriously, I don't like it at all. It sounds like something from Kidz Bop or something.
posted by bradth27 at 6:53 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Listening to this without any real preconceptions yay or nay, it has that Glee/High School Musical sound.

But it doesn't. I strongly suggest several listens (I mean, if you're the sort of person who does several listens) I am a huge fan of Janelle Monae's first album; when I heard her second, I was kind of disappointed because while it was more polished, it also seemed a bit blander. But that was because I had not listened attentively enough for the details to reveal themselves.

I don't think this song is the best use of Janelle Monae's vocal register - but that's not the point of the original, either. I notice that Janelle Monae has a lot of voices - like, the voice she uses in "Tightrope" is really different from her voice in "Prime Time" and the voice in "Q.U.E.E.N.", and she also has the Broadway voice (if you listen to her early stuff). It's like here she's blending the Broadway voice with a kind of eighties macho pop voice - that's part of what makes it neat, even if it isn't as intriguing as her voice on "Tightrope". (I love voice on "Tightrope", it's totally the butch romantic leadership voice and I would follow it into hell.) The point of this song is to do Robert Palmer, but to re-do Robert Palmer. And also IMO to recuperate this song - it becomes a really different song when it's sung by a woman, especially a woman whose work is so amenable to a queer reading.

I also like the bit that starts at 2.20.

And just the general...I dunno, my musical vocabulary is very small....tightness of bits of it works very differently from the original, which is driving in a different way. It's like, the Monae version is a bit more restrained, somehow.

I think it's always worth looking carefully at what she is doing, because she is very very clever and intentional. I also think that if you're dismissing her work as stupid or naive or "just like Glee", the problem lies with your listening - one need not like her work, but dismissing it is silly.

On a personal level, I think it pushes a lot of people's buttons to see a young, intellectual, queer-affect black woman performing with this kind of joy, particularly because her work is very woman-focused and very black-woman-focused (You have only to look at her videos or listen to Q.U.E.E.N.), and because she's ambitious - she doesn't just want to do what it takes to succeed, she wants to be great and create new art, and unlike some black women artists who have had to conceal or soft-pedal some of their intellectual approach in order to succeed, she's been able to be very upfront. She's really staking out territory that not a lot of women artists do - she is trying to be like James Brown or Bowie, only she's trying to get there in this specific black feminist cultural register. (Again, IMO - I mean, I'm white, but OTOH it's difficult to miss when you look at "Dance Apocalyptic" and "Q.U.E.E.N") It is also helpful in understanding her work to look at Afrofuturism and at discourses about race/class and technology (obviously, Sun Ra's work and R.U.R, but lots of other stuff.)
posted by Frowner at 7:02 AM on March 4 [24 favorites]


I am struck by how naturally Monae's voice lends itself to schlocky 80s stuff. It makes me so happy that she was born when she was and is making her music today. If she'd been a pop star in the 80s, she would have been produced to sound like this on all her songs. Instead we get to revel in her awesome 21st century take on pop.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:06 AM on March 4


Now that I read the comments, maybe I should have said, "her 22nd century" take on pop.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:09 AM on March 4


But it doesn't.

But it does.

If you like it you like it, but I'm with the others on not seeing the big deal with the track itself, which I often find with Monae's music. The music itself is just okay, but she gets praised for her style, or her persona, or her politics. Which I think your comment somewhat illustrates:

On a personal level, I think it pushes a lot of people's buttons to see a young, intellectual, queer-affect black woman performing with this kind of joy, particularly because her work is very woman-focused and very black-woman-focused (You have only to look at her videos or listen to Q.U.E.E.N.), and because she's ambitious - she doesn't just want to do what it takes to succeed, she wants to be great and create new art, and unlike some black women artists who have had to conceal pr soft-pedal some of their intellectual approach in order to succeed, she's been able to be very upfront.

Like others, the first few times I heard Monae songs I had no idea who she was. They were just songs that had come up on a playlist. It wasn't until later that someone told me they were by her. I just don't think the music, by itself, stands up well without the persona of the artist.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:09 AM on March 4


if i had heard that cover completely without context i would have still loved it. i think it sounds great. i think all her choices are spot on. it's not for everyone obviously, but the people who like it aren't just fans of janelle and will praise anything she does, irrespective of substance. i know that this being metafilter, "your favorite xyz sucks" is inevitable, but i don't really get the impulse. surely there are things you enjoy somewhere on this site that you can expand your energy on?
posted by nadawi at 7:24 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


i know that this being metafilter, "your favorite xyz sucks" is inevitable, but i don't really get the impulse. surely there are things you enjoy somewhere on this site that you can expand your energy on?

I see everything posted here as an object presented for the reader's consideration. Everyone appreciates different things, so some dissent is inevitable. I think it's more fair to put the onus on the fans to ignore the criticism if they're not looking to discuss potential negatives.

Brusque, "this sucks"-type comments which lack elaboration are, of course, unwarranted and add nothing to the discussion.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:54 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Who has two thumbs, a deep and thorough love of this woman, and tickets to see her in London in May?

I saw her this past autumn in Minneapolis and can easily say it was in one of the best concerts I saw last year - in a year of really astounding concerts (Prince at Paisley Park and in a 200 person venue, D'Angelo at First Ave after 13 years of waiting). As much as I've loved her albums, her live show was just so joyous and fun and joy-inducing. You'll have a really great time.

The reason I raise this is that Janelle Monae and her band have exquisite taste in covers - that night, they played "I Want You Back" and "Let's Go Crazy" (Prince was in the crowd, didn't come on stage, just stood in a VIP booth in the back, cheering and dancing) and both were just fantastic.

I stood way in the back, beside the soundboard (next to the guy on the right in the first few seconds of the Tightrope video - I think he's her front-of-house soundguy) and just watched EVERYONE in the house get into the groove. It was magical.
posted by elmer benson at 8:02 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


If you listen to the Archandroid, every song is performed in a different style and with a different voice, and they're all just excellent (well, except maybe for the Of Montreal collaboration, but that's because it basically sounds like a not-great Of Montreal track to me). Janelle Monae is fascinating for her persona and her politics and whatever, but I absolutely refute any claim that the music is a secondary consideration or somehow besides the point. I mean, the vocal climax that starts at 2:14 and goes until 2:34 in Come Alive? Holy crap.
posted by erlking at 8:14 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]




If you listen to the Archandroid, every song is performed in a different style and with a different voice

When I first was introduced to her music (via a post from The Whelk yes indeed), this in particular made me listen again and again. She performs both "character" voices and "style" voices, and her choices fascinate me.

Seeing her live was amazing.
posted by rtha at 8:27 AM on March 4


Re: Cold War

I'm trying to find my peace
I was made to believe there's something wrong with me


The way she delivers that line. It's like the song leaps across a deep canyon of pain and that couplet is the song in mid-air glancing down briefly to acknowledge the depth of the drop that we might yet fall into.
posted by erlking at 8:30 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


There's a functional periscope hidden under her hair.
posted by HyperBlue at 2:46 PM on March 4


Haters got it right this time. Meh.
posted by oluckyman at 3:17 PM on March 4


I'm not sure why people are loving on this so much, either. I mean, it's perfectly okay.. but nothing particularly remarkable.

Janelle Monae however, is a fucking genius. Listening to her latest album for the first time, it took literally 10 seconds of listening. 10 fucking seconds of hearing the opening notes for "Givin 'em What They Love - Featuring Prince" before I was awkwardly twitching with a big stupid smile across my face in a horrible attempt at grooving.
posted by mediocre at 5:22 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


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