Today Janelle Monae dropped two songs and further details about her long-awaited third solo album, “Dirty Computer.” Monae 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 days 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.
Yet as this article published the internet was lighting up with praise for “Django Jane” and Monae’s fiercely on-point rapping. The video was directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning — with additional “vagina monologue footage” (it’ll make sense once you see the video) directed by Lacey Duke. According to a press release, “the song 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.”
See both videos below.