Monáe has given pop music its first Toni Morrison moment, where fantasy, funk, and the ancestors come together for an experience that evolves one's soul. It's been attempted before: Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation, I think, but that failed because it lacked the courage to carry its struggle to the finish, too often interrupted by gooey songs ("Escapade") that reminded us she's still a mere mortal who believes girls just wanna have fun, just like you. Listening to Monáe, I felt a chromatic charge, like Aunty Entity laughing while pointing a crossbow at my heart in the middle of Thunderdome. Yet I still recognized it as blues and funk—a smothered funk, though perhaps at times too thick, too inaccessible, but not so much I didn't want to shake my ass. It was like the first time I read Beloved, or better Song of Solomon—I didn't quite know what to make of it, but I knew I felt 100 feet taller after reading it.
Yea, it's official: You'd need to be sent to the Palace of the Dogs if you don't buy this album. Do it. Now.