Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

Janelle Monáe (Photo: Getty)
Janelle Monáe (Photo: Getty)

What We Thought:

Actress, singer and activist Janelle Monáe made her fans wait for five long years for Dirty Computer (her third studio album). Boy, oh, boy was it worth it, because it is breathtakingly good - just like the first single released from the album,  Make Me Feel only whet our appetite for a wonderful audiovisual feast for the senses. 

This is my favourite album of 2018 so far.  

The incredible 14 track masterpiece flows seamlessly between tracks like some kind of a lucid dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. The up-tempo party starters like Screwed (featuring Zoë Kravitz) and Take A Byte got me moving like it was a Friday night and I just got paid. The more slow burning pieces such as I Like That, stayed stuck in my head and lingered before I digested the lyrics that belie a deeper message of true self-acceptance - a refreshing antidote to the narcissistic trite drivel found in most pop songs today. 

One of the most interesting things about this ground-breaking collection of songs is that it manages to make musical references to artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder without mimicking in a reductive way but rather moves their sound to a new modern place. Like moving into a house that you inherited and making it a home all your own. 

Dirty Computer is accompanied by a short film that is available in its entirety on YouTube. This “Emotion Picture” (as it is called) is like the original Blade Runner film and the album had a baby. It stars Tessa Thompson, among others, and envisions a future full of resistance and fun and creative energy. I feel the same way about the film as I do the album, it is a masterpiece. It echoes the themes of rising in the face of oppression and embracing all those who do not fit the status quo. 


The last time I felt this way about an album and its accompanying videos/film was in 2016 with Beyoncé’s Lemonade. I would definitely say buy this album and blast it loud from every speaker you have, be it phone, Bluetooth or car. 

Best track: Screwed (featuring Zoë Kravitz)

Worst track: There isn’t one.

Sounds like: Prince, Stevie Wonder and liberation from the patriarchy.