Janelle Monáe – “Dirty Computer” (Album)

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Dirty Computer is the third studio album by Janelle Monáe by Wondaland Arts Society, Bad Boy Records and Atlantic Records. It is the follow-up to her studio albums The ArchAndroid (2010) and The Electric Lady (2013) and her first album to not be a part of Cindi Mayweather’s Metropolis narrative. The concept album was preceded by three singles, “Make Me Feel”, “Django Jane”, and “Pynk”, and one promotional single, “I Like That”, and its release was accompanied by a 46-minute narrative film project of the same name. The album received widespread critical acclaim upon release.

Monáe had been exploring the themes presented in Dirty Computer for a decade before its production, but noted that “earlier it felt safer to package herself in metaphors…The sanitized android version felt more accepted — and more acceptable — than her true self. The public, she explained, doesn’t really ‘know Janelle Monáe, and I felt like I didn’t really have to be her because they were fine with Cindi.'” Monáe considers Dirty Computer to be “a homage to women and the spectrum of sexual identities.” The album’s 14 tracks can be grouped into three loose categories: Reckoning, Celebration and Reclamation. The first deals with Monáe’s recognition of how she is viewed by society, the middle explores her acceptation of “the cards she has been dealt”, and the closing tracks deal with her reclamation and redefinition of American identity. Overall, the album is Monáe’s attempt to “step into a more authentic self”.