Janelle Monae has dropped the third song and video from her long-awaited third solo album, “Dirty Computer,” which is due April 27. The clip features Janelle and her dancers in a desert setting, working a theme based around, er, a part of the female anatomy that was expressed in the video for “Django Jane” released in February. The song features Grimes, although she does not appear in the video.
In February Monae dropped two songs and videos — “Make Me Feel” along with “Django Jane” — and details about the album. The singer/actress doesn’t do anything by half — in the five years since her last album, she’s toured, landed star-making acting appearances in “Hidden Figures” and Oscar Best Picture “Moonlight,” launched her Wondaland label (home to Jidenna, St. Beauty and others) and gave a rousing #TimesUp-themed speech at the Grammy Awards last month — and the new album is no exception. “Dirty Computer” will also feature a “narrative film project” that will air in select theaters nationwide before screenings of “Black Panther.” (She released a teaser video for it a few weeks ago.)
Both of the new songs are arguably among the best of her career, and they’re dramatically different from each other. “Make Me Feel,” directed by Alan Ferguson, is an obvious homage to Prince, evoking his 1986 chart-topper “Kiss” both musically and in the video: One segment obviously recalls the dance segment in Prince’s video, and another features her wearing a chain facemask similar to the one he wore in the 1992 “My Name Is Prince” clip. And “Django Jane,” which features Monae’s fiercely on-point rapping, is “a powerful black girl magic womanifesto that celebrates the strength of black women and black culture while addressing the trials and tribulations of identity in the 21st Century.”