The sexy, slinky, impossibly funky grooves of Janelle Monae’s new Erykah Badu-assisted single “Q.U.E.E.N.” demanded a next-level video, and the forward-thinking Monae has certainly delivered.
Last night, Monae pulled back the curtain on her new clip, which takes place in an alternate future that casts Monae and her musical accomplices as exhibits in a living museum, imprisoned there because of some sort of unsavory undermining of authority (or maybe they just got freaked out by Badu’s hair).
The video was directed by Alan Ferguson, who previously directed the clip for Monae’s “Many Moons” and has also guided spots for Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and Fall Out Boy.
Check out the clip below, which stars Monae as herself and Badu as “Badoula Oblongata,” which is a fantastic alter ego. READ FULL STORY »
Christmas was in the air this week, and so was tragedy. From car crashes (Gossip Girl) to motorcycle busts (90210), things were sad, y’all! Even when we were laughing, we were crying (How I Met Your Mother). But, with a new year only a few weeks away, there was a bit of hope as a long-simmering relationship made headway (Hart of Dixie), old friends were reunited (Glee), and Kalinda Sharma just kept on being awesome (The Good Wife). See our picks for this week’s best “show” tunes after the jump. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS follow!) READ FULL STORY »
Image Credit: Andy Sheppard/Redferns/Getty Images; Larry Busacca/Getty ImagesOn the heels of their stellar throwback performance together at Grammys, Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae have just announced that they’ll be co-headlining a North American tour together. The Hooligans in Wondaland tour begins this May, running through June. The eccentric songstress and soulful pop star both earned critical acclaim for their debut albums last year. Mars even took home the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy on Sunday for his debut single, “Just The Way You Are.”
Image Credit: Michael Caulfield/Getty ImagesThis morning a new batch of performers for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards were announced. Usher and his protege Justin Bieber are set the hit the stage alongside Will Smith’s son, Jaden. Though the young Smith is known more as an actor, he did collaborate with Bieber last year on “Never Say Never.” Maybe he’ll bust some more raps next month. Hip-hop upstart B.o.B, R&B crooner Bruno Mars, and energetic soul star Janelle Monáe will all make their debut appearances at the Grammys, performing together in what’s described as “a rare never-before-seen presentation.” No doubt, Mars and B.o.B will spend a bit of time performing their summer smash “Nothin’ On You,” but it’ll be interesting to see where Monae fits in to the set.
Soulful siren Janelle Monae has been flying under the pop radar for some time. Though the Bad Boy signee has been touring all over the country for more than a year now, it was just last night that she got the kind of exposure that could push her to superstardom. In her trademark white and black uniform, Monae and her Wonderland Arts Society brought “Tightrope,” her funky single about making it through tough times, to ABC’s ratings monster Dancing with the Stars. Shimmying across the stage like James Brown, Monae obviously won over a few million new fans. Check out the performance after the jump.
What’s not to like about “Tightrope,” the brand-new single from Diddy/OutKast protegée Janelle Monae? It’s a wildly catchy future-funk workout, led by a jumpy walking bassline and featuring a characteristically suave guest verse from OutKast’s Big Boi. Monae has always had style and out-there ambition to spare, but “Tightrope” works better as an undeniable pop blast than anything I’ve heard from her to date. My only complaint is that it’s not a cover of Yeasayer’s tune of the same name — surely Monae could work wonders with that song, right? — but I suppose that’s really neither here nor there.
Head over to Janelle Monae’s official site for a free stream of her “Tightrope,” then let us know if this has you anticipating her full-length debut, May 18′s The ArchAndroid, as much as we are.
Wow. Have you heard this awesome new collaboration between Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy, Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes, Cee-Lo, and the wonderfully spacey Janelle Monae? The band is called Open Happiness, and their self-titled debut single can be heard on their MySpace page; it’s got Flaming Lips guitars and a catchy singalong chorus buoyed by verses from each of the members, all of whom are totally capable of selling American-Idol-winner’s-single-worthy lyrics like “the bridge between us is a rainbow.” Open happiness, indeed! Tinted Windows, you just got served!
Okay, I’ve been successfully duped — and subsequently a little disappointed. What about you, Mixers? Do you mind the corporate crossover, or just hope this quintet cuts another single soon? And is this a better song than “I’d Like To Buy the World a Coke” (or the criminally underrated “I’m a Pepper”)?
The Essence Music Festival celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with a fabulous all-star lineup featuring everyone from Beyonce, Ne-Yo, and Maxwell to Keri Hilson, Salt N Pepa, and Al Green. The three-day R&B, soul, and hip-hop extravaganza kicks off on July 3 in New Orleans. Tickets go on sale today, with prices ranging from $51-$200 and weekend packages running $153-$545. Check out the full day-by-day roster of performers after the jump and let me know what you think. If you ask me, it looks like this event is going to be hotter than July. Road trip, anyone?
SXSW has sadly come and gone, but a few acts have emerged from the Austin heat as the festival’s most-discussed. That list definitely includes the bizarro, hyper-stylized alt-R&B singer Janelle Monae. Poised to (possibly) break out in a major way, Monáe certainly has the pedigree to justify the buzz. Once a protege of fellow Atlantan Big Boi, Monae signed to Bad Boy Records last year, thereby making Diddy one of her biggest cheerleaders. "Janelle Monae is one of the most important signings of mycareer," Diddy said in a statement last year.
Though touted as everything from the next Michael Jackson to the female JamesBrown, Monae clearly has her own sound and style. Usually garbed in a dapper suit-and-tie — and sporting some sort of combination of a mohawk and Afro — the lady stands out in a crowd.
So, what’s the problem? Well, her music is, shall we say, odd. Her dense, other-worldly songs manage to sound both futuristic and like a throwback to Motown. While interesting, her mass-appeal is questionable. But then, Monae seems like a love-her-or-hate-her artist who isn’t going to change for the sake of commercial success. In other words, the next Rihanna or Beyonce she ain’t. Her closest contemporaries might be Santigold and M.I.A., although it’s hard to say without hearing a full album. (The debut record is rumored to be set for later this year.)
Check out the video below and tell us what you think. Are you digging Monae’s unconventional vibe, or is she yet another example of an artist whose buzz been artificially created by the Internet?