Janelle Monae falls off her tightrope
Janelle Monae has received admiring glances from all sides for her boho-futurist sound, style and general outlook (listen to an example of such praise here). Basically, she seems like quite a cool person, and her music’s pretty good too. “Tightrope”, the opening single from her acclaimed new record The ArchAndroid has made a strong bid for the year’s best song (though, “ATL” mentor/friend and “Tighrope” collaborator Big Boi will run her close with his own “Shutterbug”).
Last week she got further plaudits for the video for her new single “Cold War”. The song is quite good (though it’s no “Tightrope”) and the video is nice too – shot in a single take with Monae’s face on a dark background, it’s essentially an update on Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” (including the tear), but with more BPM and higher definition. Watch it below…
So far so good. And then she goes and spoils it all by Tweeting (@janellemonae) something like, “When I shot “cold war” i started to feel an uncontrollable emotion take over. Felt like I was crying for so many… Indescribable.”
She didn’t stop there, following this statement with, “It touches me to know that the vulnerable moment I experienced on camera (re: “cold war” 1st take) has also moved u. You feel something”
And, “We r 1. U r not alone.”
Ok, call me cynical – my mother said I was too cynical for my age when I was 12 – but this will not do. Two of my colleagues shared my disappointment at Janelle’s dispiriting turn towards the earnest. In fact, earnest is too polite a word for it: a hideously lame display of bogus pyschobabble. That will do. From one so previously poised, so interesting and adventurous. Oh Janelle: say it ain’t so.
But that wasn’t the end of it. “I’ll retweet some of your reactions (re: “cold war” emotion picture),” she wrote “in hopes that we meet and connect with one another.”
Here are some examples of the reactions Janelle retweeted:
@spacefroot @JanelleMonae felt like you were me . like i was looking in the mirror…. just WOW thank u for that <3
@chrispulaski @JanelleMonae watching was like feeling all emotions at once; happiness from understanding, sadness from the wounds, hope for the healing
@Barbie_Bentonn @JanelleMonae i felt like all the pain , fear , hurt i had inside you let out in your words & tears . iloveyou so much
@lilbaldlady @JanelleMonae I feel human again. I hold back my emotions becuz of fear that someone can take advantage of my (cont) http://tl.gd/2v5717
It was like some horrible combination of Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song”, a Kate Winslet Oscar acceptance speech and every word uttered on Oprah’s coach, with a side salad of Dr Phil.
I fear we will never be able to consider Janelle Monae in the same way again.
In a desperate attempt to bring things back down to earth, I tweeted my own sarcastic response to the video:
@JanelleMonae I felt sad.Then happy that U could MAKE ME sad.Happiness & Sadinees are important.We are blessed.PS: glad the Cold War is over
She did not retweet my reaction.Tagged in: earnestness, janelle monae, music, twitter, video
Recent Posts on Arts
- 2000Trees Festival: Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow
- The Xcerts: ‘Shaking in the Water’ video stream
- Friday Book Design Blog: Series special - Amos Tutuola and Jane Austen
- Interview with Jamie Lenman: “This time, I was 5 years heavier and 5 years more banjo!”
- Children’s Book Blog – books for July: Eric, the Boy Who Lost His Gravity, The Moomins and Tape
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter