I think everyone knows at this point I am the resident Janelle Monáe fangirl of the website. One only needs to see my review of The Electric Lady to know that. Or just… y’know… talk to me about music for ten minutes.
In the wake of The Electric Lady’s release last fall, Monáe was declared Billboard’s Rising Star of 2013. It feels like that star is really hitting this spring because since the Oscars, Monáe has not been stopped.It started with E! Network hiring multiple musicians to cover Robert Palmer’s ‘Simply Irresistible.’ The range of those covers went from ‘downright terrifying’ (Fitz and the Tantrums) to ‘hey, this is pretty cool’ (Charli XCX), but Monáe ruled the roost with her cover. It stayed very true to the original while bringing her own manic energy to the table that made it catchier than usual. Not to mention mixed with her refusal to change pronouns on covers and the completely earnest way she sings about that irresistible woman, the song becomes queer as hell and I LOVE it.
Not long after that, Monáe released her new song ‘What Is Love?’ from the Rio 2 soundtrack. No, it’s not a Haddaway cover, but a really super sweet song about being in love with someone that has a lot of Brazilian flavor from actual Brazilian artists. She’s also in the film as a veterinarian named Dr. Monáe. While I’m sure Sam has more to say about that when she reviews the film, I just love the idea. Monáe has the most calming speaking voice on the planet, but from her music, I think she can definitely hold her own voice acting wise. As for the song, I love it because I’m a sentimental loser when it comes to love songs. Monáe’s voice soars on the track and it definitely makes me want to dance with someone I love.
Before the release of Rio 2, Monáe still kept Brazil close to her heart. This time, it was a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ as part of Pespi’s “Now Is What You Make of It” campaign leading up to the World Cup. The cover remains very true to the original, but injects a lot of Monáe’s android flair to the track. In case you were wondering, yes, Amy approves of the track. Even Bowie himself approves, considering he’s a fan of Monáe. That was probably the most exciting thing about THAT particular Rolling Stone article, let me tell you.
Since there’s no rest for a droid though, Monáe and M.I.A had duets via hologram at the Audi A3 launch event later that week Freakin’ HOLOGRAM. It looked AWESOME. Also, where can I throw my money to have the versions of ‘Q.U.E.E.N’ and ‘Bad Girls’ they performed? Because I need to have Janelle Monáe singing “If I go to bed, baby, can I take you?” on repeat.Oh, and she also performed at the White House with Patti Labelle, Melissa Etheridge and a whole host of other awesome women. And took a selfie in the White House bathroom after the show. No big.
Can Monáe carry this momentum into the rest of the year? Oh dear god, I hope so. If she’s doing this all in the first four months of the year, lord knows what else she could have in store for us before 2014 ends. I mean, we still got her Sesame Street appearance in the fall.