Janelle Monae feat. Miguel
3 out of 4 stars
It’s more than a little apparent at this point that I’m a huge Janelle Monae fangirl—excuse me, fanwoman. She dresses entirely in black and white, sings weird-ass songs and doesn’t even bring the idea of herself as a sex object into the conversation. Thus far, she’s just been an eclectic singer who makes admirable music.
Therefore, I’m really intrigued by the direction that Janelle has gone so far with her singles for “The Electric Lady.” “Q.U.E.E.N.,” featuring Erykah Badu, was funky as hell. “YES!” I cried. “Dance Apocalyptic” makes me think of a bubblegum ad, with a poppy, happy sound few serious artists are willing to explore.
That brings us to “Primetime,” which takes us in a luscious, sexytimes direction. It’s full of yearning, the lyrics are top-notch (her: “Tonight I don’t want to be mysterious with you.”)—but it’s my least favorite of these three singles. The song is more suited to Miguel’s jungle-cat prowl than Janelle’s freewheeling energy. This is not AT ALL to say that Janelle shouldn’t focus on her lady lustings, but something a little more off-the-beaten-vocal-path would do her much more justice. The female half of “Primetime” belongs with someone like Beyonce or Mariah Carey, the latter of whom proved a stunning vocal pairing for Miguel on the stupidly titled “#Beautiful.” Janelle’s brand of beautiful—and sexuality—doesn’t need a man slapping a hashtag on the front.