Thursday, August 5, 2010

Breathtaking Janelle Monae video

Should have gone to SpecsaversR&B singer Janelle Monae is as hot as burning coal right now. Her album, The ArchAndroid, has been called "spellbinding" and "near-perfect" and "utterly, brilliantly bonkers".

But are the "tastemakers" right?

Yes, the 24-year-old has created an amazing, mind-bending record. It blends fluttering pop, hip-hop beats, psychedelia, hard rock riffs, orchestral strings, neo-soul, fleet-footed dance, slick funk and startling 1950s haircuts in a way that other artists aim for, but never quite achieve.

So, it's custom-made for critics - but my trusty pop barometer (aka mrsdiscopop) just finds it confusing. "I don't know who I'm listening to," she declared half-way through the album's high concept opening suite. "It might as well be a compilation album. And not in a good way."

Nonetheless, if Monae manages to establish a coherent musical identity, she's guaranteed to make a mainstream breakthrough. And if you're in any doubts that she's the real deal, her new video could be the thing to change your mind.

It's for Cold War - a distant cousin of Gnarls Barkley's Run, and probably the most straightforward pop song on Monae's album. Filmed in a single take (but probably not the first one, despite the captions) it's a mesmerising clip of the singer lip-syncing to the naked, bruising lyrics. Essentially, it's Sinead O'Connor's breakout video for Nothing Compares 2U but without the pointless scenes in the park and the turtleneck jumper. Fantasmajesticles.

Janelle Monae - Cold War

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