This Weeks Music Video with Father John Misty, Janelle Monae, Chvrches and Prince

Greatness in a Snapshot – Prince steals the show at George Harrison tribute

With the the passing of Prince last week, we have been reminded of the sheer genre smashing, style defining brilliance of the man with a monumental catalogue of music behind him with 39 studio albums. We know all about some of his historic albums such as 1999, Sign O’ The Times etc. Also of some iconic moments such as his Superbowl show in which he was in his element. For me, I wanted to show just how effortlessly skillful Prince could be and nothing shows this more than his part in the tribute performance to George Harrison. As no less than Tom Petty, Jeff Lyne and Dhani Harrison played the bulk of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, Prince waited patiently away from the lights and to the side of the stage, but that was until the songs conclusion. From there he basically made some of the legendary performers he shared the stage with look decidedly pedestrian as he injected bolts of electricity into the track. With every cool motion of the guitar he reinvigorated the song whilst keeping it familiar. It was the ultimate tribute the great George Harrison could have had and hopefully Prince will be afforded such a powerful send off.

Owen Riddle

Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady Review

She’s been compared to the likes of James Brown to David Bowie already and she’s only on to her second album. Perhaps she isn’t at that stage yet but you can easily see she’s capable of it yet she’s her own character as well. She’s not one for being cast into norms both musically and stylistically and it’s always refreshing to see. The ArchAndroid was really an inspired debut for her and though it’s heaped with praise, you get the feeling that people in general have only took a passing interest in her. This mostly born out of her being featured in ‘We Are Young’ by FUN. which is frustrating considering her talent would far outreach theirs. But nevertheless she’s gave herself a hard task with her second effort considering the high quality of the first, but I find it hard to think it’s something she’s dwelled upon while making The Electric Lady.

‘Q.U.E.E.N’ oozes funky and soulful ease. It’s deep and repetitive rhythm riff with its vibrated twang at the end of each section is all that accompanies her vocal at first as gradually more synths and percussion joins in and backing vocals adds to the build up of sound. The second verse is just synths and bass which maintains the groove from the guitar. The next verse is just a collage of synth of sounds that leads into a build up of bass and guitar to the chorus. No part of the song has the same structure of instrumentals but the rhythm and melody was maintained with all parts. Erykah Badu joins in with a smooth transition to the songs conclusion. It develops into a bass and string ballad and a great rap from Monae which is lyrically more meaningful and profound than most things you’ll find from rap artists these days. Within it; there is still the tinge of a vocal there as well which improves it still. It’s a complex song in terms of the shifts in music and composition but she pulls it off well to create some funk-soul-electric-rap-ballad-pop beast delivered with style and boldness and how this song hasn’t charted better is well and truly beyond me. ‘Dance Apocalyptic’ is much more simple and upbeat with the focus on hooks and catchy melodies. Ukulele like rhythm section with percussion being placed above it and the bass matching it with a simple groove or stomp like hook depending on what catches your attention. There are a few moments from organs and synths too to add to the depth of the song. It’s set up for focus on her vocals which while not having a load of power behind them; can still hold their own and are smoother and easier on the ears as well. But the clue to this song is really in its title.

‘Primetime’ is the typical cool and smooth love song with the instrumentals revolving around a heavy groove from the bass line with a backing vocal taking up a role to fill up the sound but it remains very spacious and atmospheric even with the lead guitar riff ripping through it all which seems a little out-of-place put apart from that it works because it revolves around the vocals of her and Miguel and they both deliver. ‘Givin Em What They Love’ is a bit of grit about it moderately heavy, muted guitar and a bass that follows suit. There is a certain swagger and tenacity from Janelle’s vocals too. This lightens up when Prince starts his vocal. He sounds good performing the backing vocals but sort of sounds out-of-place at other times and could be used on a track like Primetime maybe as Janelle’s vocals are much more in sync with the music. That’s pretty much one of the few stumbles this album encounters as for the rest is on a par and even a development on ArchAndroid. However, the album is not as padded out to the same standard with every song. There are still some amazing tracks of varying styles and sounds and I don’t think she really has a bad album in her; but I wouldn’t mark it as highly as her first. But it’s still a bloody good album and she’s a great role model and figure about what’s good in the music industry and if this is her so-called difficult second album then the future looks very bright. Maybe she might live up to the comparisons sooner rather than later.

Janelle Monae – Electric Lady = 8/10

Images from thinkprogress.org / pitchfork.com