Review: Janelle Monáe wild and free

Emma Knudson, Staff writer

Relief and freedom are two of the themes running through Janelle Monáe’s newest album. As it opens, she proclaims in the beginning of the second track, “Crazy, Classic, Life,” that she is “young, black, wild and free.”

Just a day before the official release of “Dirty Computer,” Monáe addressed her sexuality in an interview with Rolling Stone, identifying as pansexual.

This release and newfound liberation became the theme for the album, translating not only in the lyrics, which range from celebratory to careful consideration of what it means to be a queer black woman, but also in the sounds.

Light synthesizers and upbeat tempos all lift the veil of long-held silence that may have otherwise subdued the mood.

It’s clear that, through it all, Monáe is, as she declared in that same interview, a “free-ass motherf—–.”

With lush tones and self-love explorations, such as in the song “I Like That,” the album has already made an impact for its honesty juxtaposed with Monáe’s consistently fun and buoyant style.

She rejoices in her voice and her unapologetic personhood, declaring in “Django Jane,” “Remember when they used to say I look too mannish? Black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it.”