Southern Girl Album Review: The ArchAndroid

Not her normal "uniform", but a great look nonetheless!

Happy Friday’s Eve!  This week is a first for me on this blog; yesterday, I did my first book review (hope you guys enjoyed it), and today I’m doing my first album review!  I have a very eclectic taste in music.  Where most people like artists and will purchase anything they make I like songs and will have my buddy make me a mixed CD as opposed to going out and buying someone’s album.  There are very few artists whose album I will buy as soon as it comes out.  I can honestly say that Janelle Monae has now been added to that short list. 

I purchased “The ArchAndroid: Suites II and III” before Christmas.  Off the strength of her single “Tightrope” with Big Boi of Outkast and her appearing on the “Idlewild” soundtrack, she piqued my interest and got my attention.  If I had to rate this album, I would give it 5 out of 5 stars!!!  It’s absolutely fantastic!!!!  Once I started listening to this, I took it with me everywhere.  It was always playing in my car, I had it with me at the PT job, and I even snuck and brought it to my day job as well!!!  I can’t put her in a genre; she’s in one all by herself.  She’s the female version of Prince…and ya’ll know how I feel about him.  The musical arrangements are amazing, her voice has so much range, and none of the songs sound alike but they go together.  The Intro reminds me of “Black Swan”, in the sense of being music from a ballet.  My favorite track is “Faster”.  I also love “Say You’ll Go” and “BabopbyeYa”.  I can honestly say there’s not one track I don’t like, and it’s very rare that that happens. 

All of you should go get this album, via CD, iTunes, or whatever means you purchase your music.   She taps into all genres of music and is just a really talented musician.  LOVE HER!!!  (And you will, too!)  If you’ve listened to the album, what do you think?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Today’s Black History Month fact is about Ella Fitzgerald.  Ella, also known as Lady Ella or the “First Lady of Song”, was the first Black woman to win a Grammy.  In 1958, the first year the awards took place, Ella won for Best Jazz Performance, Individual and Best Vocal Performance, Female.  Before her death in 1996, she would go on to win 11 more Grammys.

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BET Awards Recap

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I must say I am thoroughly impressed with BET. I, along with some more of my friends, were happy with what we saw last night on the BET Awards.  Chris Brown is back,  Prince is still fine, and Nia and Larenz took me back to “Love Jones”.  Despite the lows of the evening (believe me, they were there), the highs were great and plentiful so I was a happy camper.  (Warning:  There may be some spoilers mentioned, but you should still watch the show if you haven’t already.)

I had the pleasure of watching the awards show with one of my sorority sisters, and as the night went on, I was able to share with her some Twitter commentary and put some of our lively conversation on my Twitter feed.  The first thing that I felt BET should have kept under wrap was Queen Latifah’s singing.  Now I’m sure her jazz album was great (haven’t heard it), but her opening number left a lot to be desired.  Another thing I didn’t like was Queen Latifah’s changing into all of the characters she has played…uhhhh…#notagoodlook.  I was too through when she came out as Cleo and T.I., aka my baby daddy, kept calling her “Chloe”!!  When she FINALLY came out in her elegant black dress close to the end of the show I was thinking, “Now why didn’t she look like THIS the whole night?!?!”   Another low was all these performances during the pre-show, especially Souljah Boy and Roscoe Dash, aka Sisqo’s little brother.  I didn’t see all of the pre-show, but the little I saw didn’t need to be seen.   Nicki Minaj…Darling Nicki needed to sit down somewhere.   My first thought when I saw her on the red carpet was she looked like a hood bride.  Other colorful anecdotes I heard were “she looks like Carrot Top and Lil’ Kim’s love child”, “she looks like Wilma Flintstone”, and other little comments that were extremely hilarious.  Another fail, as we all know, is Jermaine Jackson’s hair…need I say more?  I don’t think I do.

Now, the highs…there are so many that I don’t know where to begin.  Maybe we should start with the opener, Mr. Kanye West.  I don’t know what it is about him, but he is one of my favorite rappers.  His new single is great and his performance was great.  Kudos to BET for selecting him as the opening act.   Chris Brown, Chris Brown, Chris Brown…first off, that boy is talented; I don’t care what anybody says.  I hate the fact that he wasn’t able to partake in the tribute to MJ last year, but his performance last night was ELECTRIFYING!!!  That is the tribute that is due to a true superstar performer.  (I told my sorority sister that Chris has been practicing since last year getting ready for this moment!)  I was so happy to see Chris back on stage.  I don’t condone violence of any kind, but the man paid his debt, he admitted that he was wrong, and if the world can forgive R. Kelly then they should certainly forgive Chris Breezy.  With the crying on “Man in the Mirror”, I think that was genuine, more so for him realizing what he did wrong and growing up.  The ultimate surprise of the night was El DeBarge!!!  I was NOT ready!  He was great, and it’s good to see that those drugs did not affect his singing ability, unlike another singer who shall remain nameless…He sang some classics, and let everybody know that the light skinned brothers are coming back! (But for me they were never out.)  Nia Long and Larenz Tate…need I say more?!?!?  They both look like they stepped out of the 90’s (meaning they have not aged one day), and didn’t miss a beat with their renditions of Nina’s Poem and Darius’ Poem.  I want to watch “Love Jones” right now…The Prince tribute was great.  Janelle Monae killed her performance of “Let’s Go Crazy”.  If you don’t know her as a performer then you would have looked at her like, “Who is this chick with the bouffant and WTH is she doing?!?!”  But I was thoroughly impressed.  I don’t know about you all, but I was not ready for Ms. Alicia Keys to climb on the piano in all of her preggo glory, minus her shoes.  (Yes, she was gorgeous and glowing).  She did a bang up job on “Adore”, and as she ended her performance Prince was looking around for Swizz making sure it was ok for Alicia to be all over the piano!   And Patti LaBelle tore up “Purple Rain”.  She brought Prince (and almost everyone else) to his feet and almost made him cry.   When Patti kicked off her shoe, Prince ran up and got it! I loved it!!! And Prince is still one of the sexiest men alive.  I don’t know what it is about him, but he’s great in my book. 

All in all, I am very proud of BET for the production of last night’s show.  Yes, there was some coonery and buffoonery in some parts, but that’s bound to happen at any award show.  And for those of you that missed it, don’t worry.  I didn’t mention EVERYTHING that happened, and BET is sure to replay it about 50 times this week, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see it and make your own assessment.  So what was your favorite part?  Who looked great?  Who needed a mirror?  What was the most memorable part, good or bad, of the evening?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.