“Dirty Computer” is a masterpiece of an album. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Grammys. They nominated it for five of them!
“Dirty Computer” is the third studio album released by singer, songwriter, and self-identified ArchAndroid Janelle Monáe. The multi-track body of work, released in spring of last year, was a popular and critical success especially with singles like “Make Me Feel” and “Pynk” immediately hitting the trending charts. Rather than a series of music videos, “Dirty Computer” was released alongside a nearly hour-length film, what Ms. Monáe titled an “emotion picture,” and was revered as “a sci-fi masterpiece” by Rolling Stone.
One of the reasons the film was such a smashing success was because it was curated and produced by Janelle’s own hand. She was able to creatively and accurately interpret the feelings woven into her songs and transfer them to the screen. The frames are viscerally stunning; they feature Janelle and troupes of beautiful men and women in a futuristic utopia. They dance, race, rap, play, and love.
“Dirty Computer” is a liberating album; much of the songs refer to the importance of self-acceptance. Janelle is an openly queer black female dominating the popular culture and entertainment. I think it is more than safe to predict she has had to face several difficulties while navigating the music industry.
In her early career days, Ms. Monáe refused all of the stereotypes about women that the industry holds dear. She wore conservative black and white suits, momentous pompadours, and doubled as Cindi Mayweather, a robotic alter ego from the future. At first glance, she may have been a hard sell for many record labels who insist on putting artists in boxes and making sure they stay there.
For that reason, a Janelle Monáe song is more than just a string of words and phrases, it’s a statement. An anthem for people everywhere who want to live bold-creative lives free of self-imposed limitations. Her sound is birthed from expression. Her lyrics, from joy. And that is why they are also the very first thing I like to listen to in the morning.
Like so many of us, once I get up in the morning my day is immediately thrust into first gear. I’m racing to get ready, racing to grab anything edible, racing to my train, and then racing to my office. After working for eight or nine hours, the same process happens in reverse. Starting my day off on the right note, literally, has helped my mental health immeasurably and Janelle Monáe’s catalog of techno, pop, RnB, and futuristic sounds has worked wonders.
Here are some of my favorite Janelle Monáe lyrics getting me through the day. Make sure to sing them extra loud and proud each day!
Many are waking up to Janelle Monáe’s power and celebrity presence. But whether owning her role as a music artist, Covergirl, activist, or actress, Janelle is most committed to being her authentic self. Her lyrics are proof of that. So, if you’re the kind of person in desperate need of some morning motivation, look no further than Ms. Monáe.