Man at His Best

Janelle MonŠe returns with two singles of her upcoming album, Dirty Computer.

Five years since her last album, Janelle MonŠe returns with two singles from her upcoming third album, Dirty Computer. If the singles are any indication, we're no closer to pinning down who MonŠe really is but do we need to?

BY Wayne Cheong | Feb 24, 2018 | Music

Janelle Monáe is a faceted gem; that rare astronomical anomaly whizzing through the music firmament. She is an android, musician, actor, activist, black, woman and with her new singles from Dirty Computer—the next instalment in her ambitious Metropolis conceptual series—Monáe adds a few more cuts to the symmetry of her identity.


Her two singles are “Make Me Feel” and “Djano Jane”, both tracks are unapologetically part of her make-up and also the result of her evolution as an artist and human being. “Make Me Feel” is a love letter to her friends and idols—you can see shades of Prince, a tip of the hat to Bowie, as Monáe swaps her trademarked tuxedo for something more sensual, primal. It is a song that celebrates freedom, in being free to craft your own narrative.

“Django Jane” is a pointed response, the reactionary shift of the tip of a knife blade against the world against Monáe’s gender, race, person. It’s a song about empowerment with Monáe sitting on a throne as she’s surrounded by her posse. It’s a defiant declarative, a line in the sand, Monáe dares you to cross: “Jane Bond, never Jane Doe / And I Django, never Sambo / Black and white, yeah that’s always been my camo / It’s lookin’ like y’all gon’ need some more ammo.”

In an interview with The Guardian, Monáe lamented that she’s guilt tripped to not “just be”. “Like either it’s this or it’s that, it’s black or it’s white. But there’s so much grey. And I’m kind of discovering the grey and realising it’s OK not to have all the answers, or to supply them.” Her latest singles are separated and yet part of the same person. And, instead of pinning down on who Monáe is, maybe it’s better to just enjoy the ride she’s taking us on.


Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer drops 27th April.