Huge Janelle Monáe fan over here, and “Electric Lady” was probably one of my favorite songs from last year. So it saddens me to say that this video doesn’t really do it for me at all. Let’s break it down as to why, shall we?
1. This video feels off brand.
The last couple of videos for this album have all been exceptionally focused and singularly united around her whole motif of being an android and the symbolism that she has created behind that. So this sudden departure from that doesn’t really fit with the branding that she’s so staunchly held onto throughout her whole opus of “suites” (AKA albums).
2. It feels a little too late.
At this point, the album has been out out for almost a year. The last single, “Primetime” with Miguel, was released last August, with the video being released in October. Why we are getting a new single almost a year later is a bit beyond me. Sure, Janelle’s sustained this album since then with numerous appearances, but the timing feels all wrong.
3. This video feels cheap.
Maybe because this album is so off-cycle, or maybe Janelle paid for it herself? Maybe it was shot long ago (which I doubt, because the styling fits her current style that she’s been sporting at shows and performances)? Maybe it was shot for a brand, or for the hell of it? Whatever it is, it feels done a lot more on the cheap than her other videos from this album. It’s pretty much shot all in one location, features a lot of “friends,” and there’s really only some minimal green screen work. The Samsung Gear in the beginning makes me think it was especially cheap for her. That being said, the other videos for this album were much more elaborate. Again, it feels off brand from her previous work.
Overall, Janelle looks great — the current vibe of her styling is MUCH more younger and vivacious, and it really fits her CoverGirl aesthetic, feels original but updated in regards to her other “uniforms” she’d previously worn, and simultaneously just gives her vibe a freshness and vitality that she REALLY needed. She’s kept with her sorority theme but ditched a lot of the overt automaton references that previously colored her output. And, she’s fine as hell. Love the unobtrusive cameos, to boot. She’s finding things that work but overall, this video needed more thought. What do you think?