Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tendency to lead to illegal magical practices

I wanted Janelle Monáe's The ArchAndroid to be the best album of the year. (I mean, just look at that cover!) It ended up disappointing me a little, but most likely it's just because I had built up an expectation that it might be the match for other recent idiosyncratic female R&B masterpieces like Erykah Badu's similarly sci-fi New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) or Solange's similarly skewed-but-still-pop-as-all-hell Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, and as far as I'm concerned very little in this world is a match for those albums.

I think if I were going to change anything, I would make the production a little (but not much) rougher, a little (but not much) less bouncy. Oh, and I would remove Kevin Barnes's totally unsuitable voice from "Make the Bus." Then the album would be pretty much perfect.

Anyway, enough quibbling. The point of this post is to present the video for "Tightrope," which is just purely delightful. It mixes the imagery of fantasy, of both the "high-" and "urban-" varieties, dystopian sci-fi, 60's soul aficionados, high school drama, counter-culture One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest narratives, and countless other sources with Monáe and her associates' exhilerating dancing and a charmingly (and obviously falsely) cheap-looking visual style to create something that is, to me at least, truly beautiful. Sometimes the post-modern condition is worth it.

The song's pretty easy to get ecstatically carried away by, too.

Two last things to point out. First, the look of pure happiness on Monáe's face, around 2:00, when she first sees Big Boi. Second, every single person in the video is Black.


KEn said...

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

Ethan said...

Glad you liked it!