The colour black means it’s time to die

Written by

Janelle Monae – Oh, Maker

Coming to Janelle Monáe with complete clarity, as if she were merely plucked from the very skies above us, it’s a troubling task to repress hearing in her music the trembling purity of the Mamas & The Papas, the grit-like foundation of anything and everything Alicia Keys may do right, the hopeful pacifism of a Sam Cooke, or the expressive bellowing of a younger Mariah Carey – when she had credibility, maybe.

This is an almost four-minute chest of strictly sumptuous music with soft delivery and exact production that exhales through to backing sounds for a walk-through memory, and a dazzling cloud of a synth oil spill – rapidly glittering and spitting tongue twisters.

And yet all the comparisons, for my incessant focus, are entirely unfair. This is not a compilation of tricks; it is entirely a sole offering. As long as she continues to flourish with her current collaborators – or those who will push her further, we’ll all hear the colour in the flowers. If the future of music were a lean neck then Janelle has hands of teeming veins wrapped and taking hold.

Oh, Maker is the perfect appetite creator – and the ArchAndroid, the album, is the filler. The answer. Furthermore, it’s to know that there’s more left in pop music. Just when we thought it was forever stuck in the cyclical, up sprouts an entire universe of extensions and flirtatious choice. “Perhaps what I mean to say is that it’s amazing that your love was mine.” [This is a cold war.]

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