From the New York Times:
As a disclaimer, I adore Monae’s drum and vocal tune about police brutality. It’s a must listen.
Regular readers know that I aim to show what I view to be the pernicious influence of music PR on the music business and there’s no place where you see this influence more than on the year end lists.
When NPR and the New York Times pick this Janelle Monae record as best of the year this forms what passes for buzz these days. My main argument as I listen to the third song is that record lacks passion and is a recycled Prince record. But where Prince brought his unique smashup of faith and sex the temperature here is much lower. If the arrangements and the singing had more energy and more heat I would be much more up for it.
I get the identity politics of this pick but in the long run listeners are looking for emotional connection. That’s why people freaked out when Prince died and why I think this is not record of the year and why it kinda sucks these two ‘liberal’ news outlets are throwing down for this record.