Janelle Monae’s “The Electric Lady” Is Streaming Online Because The World Loves You

Queermos, let me be straight with you: I’m writing about something I’ve not yet experienced. When I heard that Janelle Monae‘s new album, The Electric Lady, was streaming on VH1.com days and days before its official in-store release date, September 10th (on which day you can be sure to find me patronizing a local music establishment, probably wearing a cape), I rushed directly into this post to let you know, rather than first embarking on what is sure to be a dizzying hour-and-eight-minute journey through sonic cityscapes, afrofuturist fairy tales, and multigenre feats of vocal imagination, not to mention guest appearances by Miguel, Erykah Badu, and, holy shit, Prince.



I feel confident in doing this because we already know JMonae is a tightrope-dancing gender-bending android-dating onstage-nude-painting certified musical genius. Earlier installments in the Metropolis series, particularly 2010’s The ArchAndroid, are amazing on many levels, perfect for everything from kitchen dance parties to to sociocultural close-readings. She seems to be poised for a world takeover, so I have hope that by Thanksgiving your relatives will have opinions about that suit-rocking lady who sings love ballads about cyborgs and dolphins. Also she is so queer, you guys.



AND, even if you have never heard any of her albums (or of her, at all) I have a feeling you will like The Electric Lady anyway. If you have doubts, see below to instantly dispel them.

Do you want to all press play together? 3, 2, 1, GO.

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Cara is a former contributing editor for Autostraddle and a current staff writer at Atlas Obscura. She lives in Somerville with her girlfriend, their roommate, and a cat who can flush the toilet, and is generally thinking about gender, sustainable biodiversity, and/or rock & roll music. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

Cara has written 113 articles for us.


  1. i need to shamefully admit that i actually have never heard anything by janelle monae before in my life but i can confirm that listening to this album is drastically improving my day so thank you, world, for loving me, and making this streaming situation a reality. and thanks cara for telling us about it!

  2. ONLY FOUR POSTS? I’ve been listening to the album all day! The title song, PrimeTime, Ghetto Woman, Q.U.E.E.N and the song that has Rock and Roll in it are my faves. Also, I want her to do the next Bond film after hearing Look Into My Eyes. I laughed out loud at the angry guy on the radio screaming about robot love being queer.

  3. This is a fucking deam opus.

    … and I just spent next weeks food budget on two tickets to see her in Boston. I REGRET NOTHING.

  4. On the 9/9/13 she will be streaming a live concert at electricpirateradio.com starting at 3pm eastern time. I’m so excited.

  5. Note: in the latest issue of DIVA, Janelle Monae was explicitly asked whether she identified as queer and ducked the question, choosing instead to talk about standing up for minorities. Read into that what you will.

    “Q: You mentioned queer communities in a recent Billboard interview, which felt very validating for your queer fans. Is queer a label you feel comfortable affiliating yourself with? Would you define yourself as queer?

    A: I think we are all… um… part of each other and when someone from the queer community is discriminated against, or not treated like a human being, it bothers me. As a woman, a black woman, there are parallels to that. I mean, my community, being an African-American, we’ve had to deal with slavery, Jim Crow laws – my ancestors all dealt with that. So I connect all the dots, between the ex-communicated, the untouchables, the immigrants and the negroids. As different as we may look or feel, we are all connected. So I guess that we do feel connected to the queer community, and as an artist I should speak out against things that are evil. To me, treating someone as if they are less than you is an evil act. It’s my job to use my platform to speak out against it.”

    Later in the interview she is also very clear that “androids represent other – they represent black, they represent gay and lesbian.” which isn’t new but it’s nice.

    Thoughts? It sounds to me like she’s trying to distance herself a little, sadly.

    • She just very well may not know. Identity isn’t easy for some people. Its possible that she didn’t want to answer a question like that on the spot because its not something she feels comfortable sharing, or she didn’t want to say anything alienating. Its a tricky thing to navigate, as the “other” that the androids represent are intersectional, but are they less identifiable if the artist isn’t everything they represent?

      Also, its entirely possible her label pressured her talking points for her new album promotion. Heavy is the head under the spotlight.

      I agree, its a dodgy answer, but it comes across to me as thought out dodgy.

  6. I can’t even get over how good this album is. Also, so many queer nuances. Also, I LOVE JANELLE MONAE <3

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