Archive for the ‘best albums ever’ tag
Love is such a novelty
A rarely painted masterpiece
A place few people go or ever know
An underwater rocket love
Exactly what I’m searching for
You’re brave enough to go
Tell me so…
Say you’ll go to nirvana
Will you leave Samsara?
In the words of Dhammapada
Who will lead? Who will follow?
I’m hesitant to choose a single track from Janelle Monae’s masterpiece, The ArchAndroid, and label only that song as “essential.” The truth is, Janelle’s album is one of the best albums released in the last decade, and it should be listened to from beginning to end. It is that rare LP that is greater than the sum of its parts – and oh, what parts it contains. Her music runs a true gamut of influences – Stevie Wonder, OutKast, David Bowie, and the soundtrack to Goldfinger really stand out for me, but everyone connects the album to something different. There’s no pigeonholing it. Milton Nascimento’s Minas is the only album I’ve experienced that comes close to its effect. This woman is for serious.
I can’t tell you what song will strike you most. At first, I couldn’t get the eerie persona and rapid, multi-dimensional harmonic shifts she employs in “Wondaland” out of my head. “Mushrooms and Roses” is generally my soul-psychedelia song of choice. These days, if I only have a few minutes, I tend to play the triple whammy (mixed, really, as one three-part song rather than one) of “Dance or Die” / “Faster” / “Locked Inside.”
There’s no substitute for the entire thing, baby. Though the tracks are good to spectacular in their own right by themselves, each is ideally taken in its proper context: as a part of the whole. But as long as we have to choose, there’s one song that gets to me just a little more than the others – one I can listen to and feel moved by in any mood. “Say You’ll Go,” at its heart, is a love song. Its lyrics are mature and feel sincere. The specifics of the album’s “story” (one that began in her first album, Metropolis) are suspended and Janelle is left to sing poetry you’ll rarely hear with or without music. The words end, and she sings a dreamy scat over impressionist / romantic-era piano arpeggios as a choir that could have been taken from the end of Snow White faintly sighs in, sighs out in the background. Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” lays you down at the end, puts your head on the pillow, and your heart with your loved ones. It is kick-you-in-the-stomach beautiful.