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October 23rd, 2013 GRACE STAINBACK | Music Stories
 

Show Preview: Janelle Monáe

music_janellemonae_3951JANELLE MONÁE - IMAGE: Marc Baptiste
[SPASTIC SOUL] On tour for her latest album, The Electric Lady, Janelle Monáe has taken to being rolled onstage in a hand truck, at which point she bursts free from a straitjacket and right into a searing set filled with physical and vocal acrobatics. The entrance is appropriate for the reigning revivalist of funk, soul and R&B. She has provided the music world a much-needed dose of shock therapy, particularly in the realm of female musicians. Rather than relying on sex appeal, Monáe’s star power leans on other elements: an innovative blend of classic soul, psychedelic funk and hip-hop; references to androids and other funky science-fiction themes; and a seemingly inexhaustible well of energy. And her signature androgynous style—complete with suspenders and pompadour—is nearly as notable as her music. Bafflingly, she has yet to be recognized in a mainstream way ever since being propped up by Outkast in the Atlanta music scene in 2001, but the steady career aggradation fits her. This is no one-hit wonder packaged for a quick rise and an even quicker fall: Monáe is cultivating a universe entirely her own. 


GO: Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave. 8 pm Tuesday, Oct. 29. $22. All ages.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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