NEW MUSIC: Janelle Monáe is Q.U.E.E.N.

Hello, here’s a little thing that you’ve been waiting two years for. Earlier today Janelle Monáe dropped a hot new track and it’s gonna make you funk right out.

“Q.U.E.E.N.” is a collaboration with Erykah Badu and the first single from her forthcoming record, The Electric Lady. Monáe told Billboard that it’s inspired by mysterious private conversations between her and Badu and boy, wouldn’t you love to be a fly on that wall. No hints have been given as to what kind of record Electric Lady will be, but “Q.U.E.E.N.”‘s abrupt ending gives the impression that this is just one little part of a much larger story. Not that I’d expect otherwise.

Do you agree that it’s brilliant and has been worth the wait? Do you think it’s coincidence that my phone autocorrects ‘monae’ to ‘monarch’? Leave your feelings in the comments below.


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Crystal is HR Director and Autostraddle OG. She's a 31-year-old Australian who enjoys wrestling pythons and playing rugby with dropbears. Soon she'll be following her heart to Chicago. She's heard it's cold there.

Crystal has written 318 articles for us.

22 Comments

  1. Thumb up 7

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    Mmmm. Afrofuturism lives in and through this music, two black womyn making beautiful funky jazzy music out of their own private conversations?

    YES PLEASE.

    listed under reasons why i’m happy to be a happy black queer woman.

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    Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu are true R&B/Soul artists–gifted with sophisticated musicianship. I love these women artists so much. With that said, I’m divided about this song. Why? Because it’s overly produced. They need to calm the production down and let the best elements of the score–especially the guitar riff–to rise through the composition in a clearer fashion. At the same time, a clearer melodic line needs to emerge that tells a story that isn’t so damn esoteric and obscure. The stories that R&B or funk songs tell don’t have to make sense in the traditional way. Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” had a melodic line with lyrics that did not make traditional sense; but, we understood what was happening with all that candy in terms of the basics of sexual metaphor. That’s the thing about popular songs: they need equal parts simplicity, clarity, and innovative sophistication. This new song reworks old funk approaches in a sophisticated way, but it isn’t compositionally clear and simple enough to hook us like Parliament’s 1978 classic, “Flashlight.”

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    Thoughts, in no particular order:

    – That rap breakdown makes me weak in the knees.
    – I keep mishearing “queen” as “queer.”
    – I want to dance the fuck out of this song on a crowded dance floor. I don’t think that’s terribly likely, but that would be amazing.
    – I know she hasn’t said anything w/r/t her sexual orientation but man, some of her lyrics really resonate with me in that regard. This isn’t a new revelation from this song but I’m just throwing that one out there.

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    omg this is great! I saw Janelle Monae in concert recently, and you know how you see teenage girls uncontrollably freaking out and screaming at boy bands and wonder wtf is wrong with them? It happened to me when she came out on stage 😀

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    Why isn’t she the world’s biggest pop star? This song takes a massive shit all over 90% of what’s out there and it’s a much better LGBT anthem than Born This Way, which is hackneyed and turgid, not to mention problematic when it attempts to reappropriate slurs like Chola.

    And anyone who has seen her live can attest to the fact that that she is a top notch performer too. She’s a modern day female Bowie/Prince. Lessers beware.

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