The Triumphant Return of Funky Friday
Well, hi! Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve paid everyone a visit from Blogland, but hey … life. Lots is the same (still hacking away at novel No. 2, still doing the freelance thing for multiple happy clients) but some things are different (the addition of voice over to my ever-growing list of professional skills – more on that some other time).
But one thing does and always shall remain the same – my ongoing search for new R&B, soul and funk that meets my personal criteria for awesomeness. And on that note, ladies and gentlemen, I present the latest single from the lovely Ms. Janelle Monae, “Make Me Feel.”
It’s probably a disservice to file Ms. Monae into the slot of “Prince protege,” but it is true that she was working on her latest album with the Purple One before his tragic death in 2016 and that he hand given her a helping hand here and there in the early parts of her career. Prince being the prolific songwriter that he was, it’s suspected by many that somewhere in the vaults of Paisley Park Studios, there sits a cache of material of such gobsmacking quality that we mere mortals couldn’t even conceive of it.
That’s borne out by Monae’s new song, which is a Prince original composition that he gifted to the singer from that very vault. Honestly, the fact that such a collection of quality songs exists otherwise untapped to this day is one of the great tragedies of the 21st Century, but I digress. Let’s instead be glad that Monae – and the rest of us, by extention – was the beneficiary of one of his last bits of open generosity.
The song itself reads like a master class on what both Monae and Prince bring to the table – playful, hip-grinding pan-sexuality; lyrical fun; sonic surprises (the tongue clucks that set up the initial beat, for instance). The video, meanwhile, is like one long shout-out to Prince, referencing multiple looks he sported during his too-short career. Let’s count ’em off:
- The glasses Janelle wears as the “performer” in the club
- Her dancers
- Her see-through pants
- Her jewel mail veil-clad guitarist
- The interplay between the female friend with whom she arrives at the club and the male friend she meets there (“Who should I take home, her or him? Let’s make it both!”)
Honestly, it’s almost like seeing something amazing in your kids that you once only associated with a beloved relative who’s since left this mortal coil. Our dear Janelle pays an incredible tribute to someone who served as a mentor for her and as a guide down the path of funk, soul, rock and pop for the rest of us, and it’s frankly wonderful to see.