By Brian Bowers
“Better late than never,” is the age old adage. And finally after reading review, after review of Janelle Monae’s Archandroid, I had to take a listen myself. After hearing her first single from the album, Tightrope, I didn’t really know what to expect.
I’ve listened, and what I heard was a beautiful, souful orchestration of artistic expression.
Janelle Monae’s sonic journey is a wonderous experience of ecletic, free music. The overall theme of the album is large, expansive and lush. Its one of those albums you hear and you say perhaps she is not ahead of her time–she is just not of this time, and many reviews are in universal agreement. NOTE: This idea would fit in perfect with the concept of Cindi Mayweather—but just google both, and read all about the back story to understand what I mean by ‘universal’ agreement.
In all honestly, the album is quite beautiful. There are moments, when you realize just how special and uniquely talented she is. Its one of those works where years from now we will look back and say “I remember when this album started the career of a great artist” or one where we look back years from now and say “I have no clue why this album did not get the respect it deserved.” And, given the fickle nature of the industry, it can go both ways. She crosses hiphop, a little folk, pop, electronica, rock and even classical to create a sonic environment that leaves the listener feeling they have entered a space and time where expression is the rule.
Stand out tracks for the album would most definitely be the ending track “Bobopbya,” a moving song featuring beautiful orchestration, a haunting melody and compelling lyics. The listener is moved by Monae’s heartfelt vocals as she is singing, soaring and then belting over the full orchestration. On songs such as “Oh Maker” Janelle explores the topic of unrequited romance in which the lyrics says nostalgically, “I guess what I mean to say, is that its amazing your life was mine.” The lyrics are drenched and melancholy, revealing the true soul of an artist remembering love experienced, lost and gained all at once.
“The Archandroid” presents Monae in a stunning light. Initially, I compared work produced by the gorgeous singer to the art work of Monet—the French impressionist artist. After hearing her latest effort, I can confidently say that any appreciator of honest, unique music will love her up both up-close and afar. Monae’s eclectic style and uninhibited approach to music performance brings the listener and audience alike up close and personal. The beauty, elegance and style of her music are most definitely Monae. “Say You’ll Go” get “The Archandroid” today.
42BELOW partnered with Katy Perry for an exclusive listening party of her new album Teenage Dream, which is due out August 24. The event was held at Milk Studios in Hollywood. To keep in step with the album, the room had a fun and festive beach theme, dressed elaborately with real sand, surfboards, a lemonade stand, lifeguard servers and bartenders, and larger than life beach balls to toss around the party. Guests consisted of music industry influencers and VIP’s including veteran MTV VJ Sway.
Kanye Live has a leak for what is reportedly the first single off of Kanye West’s upcoming 5th album, Good Ass Job. The song is called ‘Power’ and it was apparently produced by Symbolic One and Kanye himself. The song, which is a return to the sped-up samples that first launched Kanye into the big time, heavily borrows from King Crimson’s prog-rock classic ’21st Century Schizoid Man.’ Okay, boring details out of the way.
The reviews are still flooding in for “Sex and the City 2” and guess what? They’re as bad as ever. The film’s Rotten Tomatoes fresh rating is now residing at 12, which is higher than 0, which is where it was a day ago, but still lower than any other major release this year, and that’s including “Tooth Fairy,” “Valentine’s Day” and, yes, even “MacGruber.”
The critics have been having a field day, notably the New York Post’s Kyle Smith, whose review ran under the inspired headline “Sucks in the City.” Smith didn’t mince words, putting it this way: “As tasteless as an Arabian cathouse, as worn-out as your 1998 flip-flops and as hideous as the mom jeans Carrie wears with a belly-baring gingham top, ‘Sex and the City 2’ is two of the worst movies of the year.”
Russian Vogue’s April issue is yet another nail in the Return-Of-The-Supermodel coffin. Dedicated entirely to Naomi Campbell, the issue features spreads shot by Steven Meisel,Solve Sundsbo, and Mario Testino. And while we can’t read the Cyrillic alphabet, Models.com tells us that the mag also has Campbell candidly answering questions from fellow beautiful beings, Claudia Schifferand Chanel Iman.
American Idol Season 8 finalist Adam Lambert is currently in the works of launching a cosmetics line for men. According to Blackbook the collection will include everything from eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara to foundation, concealer, and lip gloss.
For W‘s April issue, Jennifer Aniston’s longtime hairstylist and close friend, Chris McMillan, was right by the star’s side during our two-day shoot in Canyon Country, California. We chatted with the creator of the “Rachel” cut about Aniston’s (unwashed) hair, their relationship and ignoring the haters.
Kate Moss and Geri Halliwell teamed up to help supermodel friend Naomi Campbell raise much-needed funds for the women and babies of Haiti in London last night.
Fashion For Relief Haiti was a star-studded catwalk show organised by Naomi who called in celebrity friends including a pregnant Denise Van Outen, Geri Halliwell, Girls Aloud singers Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh and even Dame Shirley Bassey to strut their stuff for a good cause.
Madonna, the queen of pop, has her eye on a king. She’s set to direct “W.E.,” a biopic about the affair between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson that led to the Brit royal abdicating from the throne to marry his divorcee lover.
HVW8 Art & Design Gallery, Union LA & Frolab present a photo exhibition entitled MOS DEF: ECSTATIC MOMENTS. Photographer, filmmaker, visionist Cognito showcases rare performance and behind-the-scenes images captured during the two year journey of making and supporting the June 2009 release of “The Ecstatic” (Downtown Records.) Read More
Dolce & Gabbana’s new old-world-Italian-inspired campaign features a familiar face (and bust): Madonna. Domenico Dolce told W Magazine, “Twenty-five years ago, when we debuted, we made our mark with a very Italian collection, and for spring we felt the time was right to go back to our roots,” and the perfect muse was the pop star and fashion icon. Read More
Alicia Keys is the real deal. In the increasingly prefabricated world of contemporary R&B, she is a fresh alternative. She can sing. She can play the piano. She can write. She’s elegant yet sexy. And she strategically strikes that difficult balance between art and commerce. Read More