Janelle Monáe’s creative output is only matched by her pure talent. Her two previous albums, 2010’s The ArchAndroid and 2013’s The Electric Lady are built around a central concept, which borrows imagery from 1927’s science fiction masterpiece Metropolis. Dirty Computer departs from the previous concept album format to deliver one of 2018’s most personal and political albums, all while being deeply rooted in soul, R&B, and funk.
Every song on the album is as melodious and catchy as the last one. The album begins with the title track, with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys providing a familiar back-up harmony. In between tracks you hear Pastor Sean McMillan profess the power of love over hatred and division. Monáe channels the late Prince on several tracks on the album, namely Screwed and Make Me Feel. She sounds like the heir to the throne at Paisley Park, with falsetto vocals, syncopated funk guitar, and big drum beats. The album concludes with the powerful anthem Americans.
The sun yellow vinyl, and the neon pink vinyl
There are three editions out there on vinyl. Monáe’s website sold a sun yellow record with a lenticular cover. Urban Outfitters sold an exclusive neon pink edition. The standard edition is a classic black vinyl. The LP is unusual due to it being a 12″ record at 45 RPM instead of the usual 33 RPM for a full length album. All versions of the album are still reasonably priced and under $50 on Discogs. This is a record worthy of adding to your collection.