Review Summary: “Siri, can you clear all my google searches for ‘Dirty Computer’ when I die?”
A pop album such as this one resembles a product to me more than anything else...so a ‘track by track’ fits the bill. I’ll be skipping the interludes, so apologies in that regard. Onwards...
1. Dirty Computer - this title track is little more than an extended intro; lots of ‘baby’s, lots of sub-Flaming Lips swirly FX and harmonies. Brian Wilson gets a writing credit？Did he cough and I missed it？1/10
2. Crazy. Classic. Life - starts with a sample that has nothing to do with any of the lyrics or themes that follow in the song itself, so trend hopping as far as I’m concerned. Lyrics are vacuous platitudes and the tune itself is pedestrian with some Fleetwood Mac style ooh-ah backing vox which are sadly the best feature of the song. Monae finally kills this effort by breaking into her first rap of the album rhyming ‘sandals’ and ‘Rambo’. Probably her best rap on the album. 1.5/10
3. Take a Byte - geddit, take a...byte. Picking up the theme you see. This sounds like an MGMT song, I just can’t remember which one. Weak, disposable trash; Beck dropped a whole album of this rubbish last year, lest we forget god rest my soul. 1/10
4. Screwed - more of a rocker, but only as far as Lenny Kravitz is ‘rock’ so fear not, no one is going to spill their drink. She wants to get screwed at the ‘matinee’, at the ‘festival’, ‘like an animal’...that’s a ‘Downward Spiral’ Janelle. Song is harmless fluff but I'm calling it the best track so far. 3/10
5. Django Jane - ooh, the heavy rap track. It’s terrible, Monae has no talent for this. Karaoke quality. ‘Y’all! Y’all!’ Nah. 0.5/10
6. Pynk - the queen of vapid guff, Grimes, features. Dunno what she really adds, song is just a baby talk slog. The number of ‘baby’ lyrics reaches critical mass at this point in the album. Dull. 1/10
7. Make Me Feel - she’s using horse clip clop noises like you did in first grade...she’s the new Prince! This is so average I haven’t given up the possibility Prince’s corpse could still write a better song in 2018. 5/10
8. I Got the Juice - this is one of those songs with so much ‘featured artist’ influence I don’t get much of ‘Janelle’ from it. ‘I got juice between my thighs - if you try to grab my pussy...cat’. She’s turned into an Austin Powers one-liner. 3/10
9. I Like That - I get some personality from the lyrics more on this song, but the music is so tepid and the vocal melodies are permanently locked in this uninteresting ‘safe zone’. A very uneventful song, if you were feeling kind you could label it ‘chill’ at a real push. 3.5/10
10. Don’t Judge Me - sweet if uninspiring uber-bland soul love song. Twinkly and old school, you wouldn’t kick it out of bed but...again it’s boring, and nothing new. At all.
11. So Afraid - very sing-songy dull tra-la-la vocal melodies with equally wandering guitar melodies and a cheesy chorus of bored sounding backing vocals. It sounds like a certain sort of late album track. The sort where you start thinking ‘what else can I listen to？'. Still, at least it’s not the very last song - that’d be tragic. 2/10
12. Americans - hoo, there’s life in that ‘Dirty Computer’ yet. This song at least tries. Real hard. I mean really hard. Lyrics are so inane in this tune - every political diatribe cliche is wheeled out. A last desperate attempt to apply a theme to this album - sure enough here comes another sample that sounds totally lost in the context of the album as a whole. It’s obvious, it’s a bit tacky, it’s a sentiment that’s hard to disagree with but...what does it add to the album？Not a whole lot. 2.5/10
So there we have it, a polite and insipid pop/soul album with a side order of amateur hour rap verses. As safe and uninspiring an artistic statement as you could possibly attempt to release in 2018.