Thursday, September 19, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Around last week, the incomparable Dr. Nathaniel Irvin III predicted on Twitter that there will many people will be forced to blog after hearing Janelle Monae's "Sally Ride" from her new album The Electric Lady. It behooved your humble blogger to take up the challenge, and will thus muse on the masterpiece here. Firstly, this is one of my favorite tracks on The Electric Lady. It is a soul stirrer from start to finish, hitting the spirit like the waters of Victoria Falls (Yes, Victoria Falls)hitting the rocks at its base. Powerful doesn't even begin to describe it. This is due to the quality of each and every single element that went into the song. Kellindo Parker's masterful guitar notes bring you into the track, followed by Janelle's gut-wrenching wailing of the first verse. Speaking of, the lyrics pack their own one-two punch from first line: "Take me the river/ My soul is looking for a word from God". It only goes uphill (in a good way) from there. Every line is delivered with an intensity that makes it undeniable that they are coming from the heart and moves the emotions in a singular manner. This movement is one where word and sound is expressing what the soul couldn't say otherwise and prompts the imagination to action. Contemplation is the primary action that comes to mind when listening to this song. The blending of the aforementioned vocals with the stellar instrumentation of Kellindo, Nate Wonder, Roman GianArthur and Terrance Brown turn the song into an almost a magic wand. This wand conjures a desire for a place where soul and nature meet, like sitting on a secluded rocky beach during high tide at sunset. Part of that may have to do with the fact that the sound of flowing water is layered in the background of the song towards the beginning. In sum, it takes you to a place of transcendence. This mood continues towards the end, in which Janelle, Nate, and Roman sing a verse that fades out. Returning to the water metaphor, the experience of listening to "Sally Ride" is deep in every sense of the word. Be prepared to enter into feelings you may never know have existed. Guaranteed, a Kleenex or two will be needed on hand for the tears that may roll out. Granted, the entirety of Janelle Monae's "The Electric Lady" is an experience. If one song could be chosen to demonstrate why that is, "Sally Ride" would be one of them. Every part of it comes perfectly together to take the listener to a place beyond the mind or soul's comprehension. It serves as a prime example of why music should never be underestimated in it's power to move the human spirit.