The Electric Lady - Janelle Monáe
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Sep 9, 2013
    100
    Existing in layers, The Electric Lady revels in its polarity. The overriding statement, however, is that Janelle Monae has arrived.
  2. 100
    What a wild and wonderful listening experience this is: bristling with ideas, constantly shooting off at different angles but always replete with earworm melodies, plush with glittering sounds, charged with intelligent and emotional lyrics and underpinned by a syncopated rhythm section that shifts gears effortlessly from tightly coiled to blazingly expansive.
  3. Sep 9, 2013
    92
    The Electric Lady is also a dazzling artistic statement, a fiendishly clever endeavor that oozes enough feminine charm, wit and charisma to endow dozens of regular pop starlets with.
  4. Sep 10, 2013
    91
    What could be unwieldy becomes a vast patchwork of influences buoying empowerment.
  5. 90
    Stellar and superb, The Electric Lady is a fantastic journey filled with impeccable works of modern flair and skill, power up indeed.
  6. Sep 16, 2013
    90
    Janelle Monáe has not simply lived up to our expectations here; she has shattered them, delivering a confident, creative, and enormously entertaining record that marginally betters her sublime debut.
  7. Sep 13, 2013
    90
    Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady is simply wonderful.
  8. Sep 9, 2013
    90
    Free of genre restrictions, this is an important album by an important artist.
  9. 90
    All in all, it is one of the most exceptionally realised albums to enter the world since her last release, and confirms that both as an artist and a role-model Monáe really ought to be celebrated as Electric Lady number one.
  10. Sep 24, 2013
    86
    It’s true that this is the warmest Janelle Monae has sounded in quite some time; her music now is more a magnifying glass than a mask.
  11. Sep 17, 2013
    83
    Monáe has gone ahead and created her own world, one with her own rules. Sure, it’s a world built on a foundation of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Duke Ellington, Ennio Morricone, and the countless other idea-seeds from which The Electric Lady grew, but it’s one Monáe has cultivated and shaped in her own distinct, unmistakable image.
  12. Sep 10, 2013
    83
    Taken as a whole, The Electric Lady is a convincing argument for the virtues of micromanagement, but some of the most powerful, tender moments come from acknowledging limits.
  13. 83
    The Electric Lady is mostly a classic R&B and soul album, sprinkled with some torchy jazz and gospel, and a star-dusting of Ziggy-era Bowie.
  14. Oct 15, 2013
    80
    By Janelle Monae's lofty standards, this is still very good, but not quite as great as her previous offering.
  15. Oct 11, 2013
    80
    It's a record of dizzying scope and Janelle Monae is a terrifying talent at the top of her game. [Nov 2013, p.112]
  16. Sep 23, 2013
    80
    In spite of its sweeping musical and thematic ambitions, The Electric Lady emerges as a surprisingly coherent listen.
  17. Sep 12, 2013
    80
    Equally as detailed and as entertaining as The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady likewise is a product of overactive imaginations and detailed concept engineering, and it also plays out like a sci-fi opera-slash-variety program with style and era-hopping galore.
  18. Sep 11, 2013
    80
    These two discs capture, in far more disciplined fashion than her debut, the motley delights of this singer and self-styled savant, whose delivery is as impressive and singular as her dance moves.
  19. Sep 11, 2013
    80
    This isn’t her masterpiece (that’s to come in the sixth and seventh suites), but it’s only a sliver away.
  20. Sep 10, 2013
    80
    She’s the star of her own movie--and that’s very much what this album feels like--and she’s in charge.
  21. Sep 10, 2013
    80
    Although imperfect, The Electric Lady is a huge statement.
  22. 80
    It’s a very large world, but one stocked with charming character, tasty pop, and enlightening lyricism that shines like an electric heart through the android framework.
  23. Sep 9, 2013
    80
    There’s no glorifying of childish trends or negative influences, instead Monae favors creating music that could be embraced by varying demographics and is molded to withstand the test of time.
  24. 80
    She's irrepressible and the record sparkles with personality and elan, sealing her as a pop star worthy of the illustrious company she keeps.
  25. Sep 9, 2013
    80
    The album is admirably steeped in pop music history without seeming derivative and where The Electric Lady triumphs is in its ability to connect with the listener.
  26. 80
    She’s uniquely gifted--one’s only reservation concerns her inclination to pack everything into each track.
  27. Expect more straightforward, big-vocal, soul-funk numbers, and fewer immediate hits. But compared with most R&B records, Monae is still lightyears ahead.
  28. Sep 6, 2013
    80
    It seems faintly ridiculous typing this, given that it's 2013 and not 1952, but the very fact that a mainstream R&B artist has released an album open to that interpretation [of a relationship between two women] feels an impressively bold move.
  29. Sep 19, 2013
    75
    Monáe can affect an almost spy-soundtrack grandiosity better than most in the pop game, sprinkling her arrangements with strings and horns, session players galore, and a certain elegance, for lack of a better word.
  30. Sep 9, 2013
    75
    The plot, such as it is, gets a bit murky, but it’s not a requirement for enjoying the audacious music.
  31. 75
    While the vibe's heady, the music can drift into syrupy cabaret or oversoft funk. But she maintains her chill over skillet-hot tracks like the disco-rocking "We Were Rock n' Roll" and the jumping "Dance Apocalyptic."
  32. 70
    The album’s first half is fantastic.... The album’s second ‘suite’ is mellower and less consistent.
  33. Sep 10, 2013
    70
    Monáe holds it together through sheer force of freakadelic will and a radical feminist's sense of self-exploration.
  34. Sep 9, 2013
    70
    The arrangements simply aren't as sharp as before, even as the ensemble uses ingenious tricks, like shifting rhythm mid-number on "Q.U.E.E.N." and girding each song with string melodies that circle back to those suite overtures.
  35. Nov 25, 2013
    60
    This time around, the radio programmers will be listening harder, but taken as a 68-minute whole, The Electric Lady is quite a trip. [Dec 2013, p.84]
  36. Sep 12, 2013
    60
    Whatever is driving her interest in self-identity is obscured by overwrought conceptualism and confused by a push to sound more slickly commercial.
  37. Sep 10, 2013
    50
    Though long and featuring a bounty of ideas, The Electric Lady is surprisingly slight.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 124 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Sep 10, 2013
    10
    Without a doubt the best album of the year. Janelle is one of the greats and time will continue to prove that. Consulting greats like Badu, Prince, and Stevie she is continually proving that she belongs in their company. She is a genius. Her maturity, fire and the cohesiveness of this record far exceeds that of her first full length LP 2010's The ArchAndroid, not to mention that impeccable quality. Janelle has truly arrived and she knows it. Just make sure you take notice. Full Review »
  2. Sep 14, 2013
    8
    If you were to ask a pretentious snobby music critic like myself, "What is your opinion on pop music?" You might hear in reply, "it's nothing but top 40 sh*t from Katy Perry or Lady Gaga." Which in a sense is true. Pop these days is represented by female artist like Perry, Gaga, P!nk, etc. Who's lyrics are lackluster and formulas are almost identical to one another. Luckily for us pretentious kids who still like to shake our hips and not hate our selves for doing so, there's Janelle Monae. Full Review »
  3. Sep 11, 2013
    10
    So much artistry from Janelle Monae. The album transports me to a new world, and is more interesting than ArchAndroid.

    So excited for the
    6th and 7th overture. Full Review »