Janelle Monáe & Erykah Badu Wear The Crown On 'Q.U.E.E.N.'

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hear yee, hear yee, Lady Janelle Monáe of Wondaland and Lady Erykah Badu of Baduizla have requested that you lend you ears to their collaborative effort, "Q.U.E.E.N." After cryptic thought-provoking .gifs detailing the conjoining of two of music's most innovative minds for what is the introductory number for Monáe's hotly anticipated Electric Lady project, we are now treated with the fruits of their collaborative labor.

Not that I don't appreciate the fussy n' fat bass-funk backbeat, Monáe and Badu spitting out rapid fire viva individualism! lyrics, and the stellar closing notes that weave in jazzy horns and the taunt eclecticism we know and love from the both of them, still "Q.U.E.E.N." is quite a tame feature for this newfound sisterhood. Even with a an obvious Prince sheen, Monáe's symphonic touches, and empowering quotables (love: "even if it makes others uncomfortable I wanna love who I am") it's surprisingly flat soda --- satisfying for the thirst, but no fizz or flavor. Considering what these two have cooked up separately (especially Monáe on her masterful, The ArchAndroid), it's just a bit odd how they would cancel each other out the way they do here, almost sounding too much alike, and it's ironic considering the track's message against conformity.

Maybe expectations were too high, maybe I'm just not on the funky tip today, or maybe it's because someone took the last of the apple cinnamon Greek yogurt from the fridge, but count me swinging on the fence wondering whether "Q.U.E.E.N." is a grower or a thrower.

[Still "categorize me, I defy every label" is my new mantra and needs to be on a T-shirt or something.]

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