Janelle Monae Kicks Off ‘Dirty Computer’ Era With “Make Me Feel” & “Django Jane”
Janelle Monae officially kickstarted her Dirty Computer era by unveiling two new singles, “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane,” and their accompanying videos. It has been nearly five years since the 32-year-old rolled out The Electric Lady, her sophomore LP that spawned hits including “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Dance Apocalyptic.” Since then she has kept busy with a variety of acting projects (including a starring role in 2016’s Hidden Figures) and other work. However, she makes up for lost time with the double release today (February 22).
“Make Me Feel” is a funky lover’s anthem complete with flourishes of electric guitar and a writing credit from Julia Michaels. “If you don’t make me spell it out for you, all the things that I’ve got for you. Can’t be explained, but I can try for you,” she teases on the opening lines. The jewel-toned visual is a spectacle complete with electric dance breaks and stunning costuming.
In an interview with Zane Lowe she opened up about the inspiration behind the song and recording it at Wonderland Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. “One of the things that I love is that this song captures the fun that I love having you in the studio. The freedom that I love having. The freedom that I talk about. I hope that it comes across as such that I was able to capture that freedom and that fearlessness about embracing your uniqueness and who you are and doing it with the people you love.”
In comparison, “Django Jane” is an introspective number with a more restrained production. “Yeah, this is my palace. Champagne in my chalice,” she proclaims on the opening lines before reflecting on her complicated rise to fame. “Running outta space in my damn bandwagon. Remember when they used to say I look too mannish. Black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it.” The accompanying video features her and a group of dancers dressed in brilliant colors and delivering refined but purposeful movements.
In her interview with Lowe, Janelle also opened up about her forthcoming album. Specifically, she explained that she had been nurturing the concept since before the release of her 2010 debut project. “You know I always knew that I had to make this album. I actually had this title on this concept before my first album The ArchAndriod and it scared me because a lot of the things that I knew that I needed to say were very deep, very personal, from the heart.”
She went on to explain that it took a while to record and that the release is a terrifying but fulfilling experience. “You know this is an extremely vulnerable album and it took me a while to make it because I’m a self editor. I self edit myself a lot. I’m like I don’t want to talk about this, I don’t want to talk about that. I had to kind of have people at Wonderland on my team to hold me accountable to it. They were like OK, you said you wanted to make this album before your first album, this is the opportunity for you to just really choose honesty over mystery.”
Dirty Computer is set to drop April 27 and will be accompanied by a narrative film. Details are still emerging about the visual component, but it seems possible that it will be a visual album in the style of Beyonce’s Lemonade. If so, we can look forward to more music videos in the coming months and expect them to be tied together by a unifying narrative. Watch the “Make Me Feel” video up top and check out “Django Jane” below!