The Album: Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer (2018)
To close out our Women Behaving Boldly mini-series, we brought things all the way up to the present by tackling a 2018 album. Our guest, music writer and journalism professor Evelyn McDonnell wanted to talk about Atlanta’s Janelle Monae and her recent LP, Dirty Computer.
Between her various alter egos and concept-driven albums, Monae’s been a critic’s darling since she first broke out ten years ago and the intervening decade hasn’t dimmed her creative appeal a bit. Dirty Computer, and its accompany mini-movie of music videos, touches on many of Monae’s favorite themes: sci-fi futures (some good, some not so good), fluid identities (including her own evolving sexuality), and some of the most soul/funk/rock/pop concoctions you can imagine.
If Monae’s recent gem was a perfect capstone to our six weeks of Women Behaving Boldly, it was perfectly matched by the guest who chose it. McDonnell is one of the most accomplished music journalists of her generation, having previously written the books Queens of Noise, about the Runaways, Army of She, which is about Bjork, and Mamarama, which is about Evelyn herself. Her latest is the massive anthology, Women Who Rock, a 400 page edited anthology that focuses on over 100 of the most important women in pop music history, written by many of our favorite writers including both Lynnee Denise and Ann Powers, both of whom also contributed to our Women Behaving Boldly series.
More on Evelyn McDonnell
More on Dirty Computer
- The album’s “emotion picture” mini-movie.
- Album review (Pitchfork)
- “Janelle Monáe On Owning Her Queer Identity With ‘Dirty Computer‘” (Billboard)
Show Tracklisting (all songs from Dirty Computer unless indicated otherwise):
- Make Me Feel
- Janelle Monae: Sincerely, Jane
- Janelle Monae: Tightrope
- I Like That
- So Afraid
- I Like That
- Aerosmith: Pink
- Django Jane
- Make Me Feel
- Don’t Judge Me
- The RH Factory: Poetry
Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there
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About the show
Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock – a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.
Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don’t exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin, and more.
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