Absolute Dance Apocalyptic

by criticalhit009

Janelle Monáe is one of the best musicians working today. Aside from her incredible talent, she imbues her art with pop perfection and a revolutionary edge. Her latest album, The Electric Lady, in tinged with intellect and groove to spare, and is a worthy addition to her oeuvre. There is much that can be said about her work, and I’ll likely dip into it now and again, but for now, I’m focusing on her latest single, “Dance Apocalyptic.”

What marks Monáe as such a smart performer is her attentiveness to theatricality and art of performance. The saga of Cindi Mayweather in Monáe’s albums is ripe for many interpretations, but more importantly, serves as a relateble, fascinating narrative of societal oppression (and much much more.) “Dance Apocalyptic” amplifies this by recognizes the body as text, as a site of meaning(s), holding the power to revolutionize the world. Cindi sings:

But I really, really want to thank you
For dancing ’til the end
You found a way to break out

Cindi presents dancing as a viable way to break norms and expectations, and thus unsettle the hegemony. It’s a lived revolutionary act, an artistic representation that can challenge systems without resorting to violence. This recognition of the power of the body is seen throughout The Electric Lady, showing that our presence can upset the system if we realize our own strength. Monáe’s own performance illustrates this, disrupting the space through dance (and music.)

Now, there is another revolutionary lady exploring female embodiment that I’d like to praise and analyze, but that’ll be for next time.
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