Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't Want To Really Get To Know It Better

One of the few bands that I actually pay attention to and try to buy CDs by, when they come out, is an extremely obscure British indie group that I discovered through some form of Internet radio - I can no longer recall if it was Pandora or Live 365. As it happens, about a year and a half ago this group (which is not the point of the entry) actually played a show in the city where I was living, at an indie festival. Naturally, I had to go. I am kind of obsessive about standing near the front at concerts (it wound up being well-worth the obsession at this particular concert), so I was there for all of the bands even though the band I'd come to see was the last to play.

Rather early on in the festival proceedings was a performance by Janelle Monáe. This made an impression on me, for several reasons. First of all, I was surprised to see a black woman performing at an indie festival - one thinks of indie as fairly white and male. Secondly, lots of people came specifically to see her performance, talked about past shows of hers they'd seen, and generally hyped her. Finally, she was undeniably an interesting performer - she comes off a bit cold for my tastes, but she definitely has style.

I wasn't really expecting Janelle Monáe to turn up in my life again, but she's popped up more and more often since that first performance. For one thing, although I'd first seen Janelle perform in a context completely unrelated to of Montreal, I wound up seeing her perform two more times (three in total), because she and Kevin Barnes have become quite good friends, and she often served as an opening act for of Montreal. Kevin talks about her all the time and even recorded a song for her new album - "Make the Bus." Meanwhile, Coffeeandink, whose blog, as I've mentioned in the past, I quite enjoy, has started posting about her quite a bit. I suppose this isn't really surprising, as Janelle is a black woman who writes science fiction, and that's generally what Coffeeandink likes anyway, but it's still interesting in that it's a context completely unrelated to either Kevin Barnes or the indie band I originally mentioned.

So, the thing is, I don't particularly like Janelle Monáe's music. I realize that I've mostly only heard it live, and I rarely like music I hear live, but I still feel like having seen her stage show three times does qualify me to have a sense for whether or not I'm eager to hear more, and I wouldn't say I am, particularly. I barely remember her songs despite having seen the show so many times; they didn't make much of an impression on me. And yet, despite this, I feel as though I kind of have to buy her album. I wasn't going to - after all, all these coincidences aside, it didn't interest me - but I've been listening to "Make the Bus" so much - and I like it! It mentions Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - that I feel I really ought to own it legally, and somehow that's pushed me over the edge. It's a kind of weird situation - everything I've read online makes it quite clear that "Make the Bus" is an of Montreal song with only minor participation by Janelle Monáe, and that it's really out of place on the album, and everyone who loves the album doesn't particularly feel that it fits in. So I really should just purchase the single track "Make the Bus" and let it go. But the fact that I like this song so much - much better than "Coquet Coquette", the first song released from of Montreal's upcoming False Priset - makes me feel like, given the preponderant weight of coincidence on the side of the album, I might as well go the whole hog. I feel as though I am fated to buy this album, taste aside.


Lonin said...

Hey so like... three years later, did you ever end up listening to The Archandroid at all? What do you think of it, if you did...?

Grace Mulligan said...

No, I never did. I have defied fate! Why, have you listened to it?

Lonin said...

No, I haven't listened to it, actually; but recently, like you, I've actually been pretty curious about it -- probably to a large degree, also, because of all the disparate connections she seems to have: Kevin Barnes and OutKast's Big Boi, to name two. ... I went far enough to look the album up on AllMusic, where I discovered that it's apparently a sequel to something -- which kind of turns me off, but still isn't a definite deal-breaker. (Maybe next month, when it comes out, I'll instead preview her second album, which seems to be missing all that nasty continuity.) ... Congratulations on defying fate, anyway -- something I always find myself to have rather a lot of trouble doing!!

Grace Mulligan said...

Ah, I think that EP probably has a lot of the songs that I heard of hers at the concerts I attended! Certainly "Many Moons" and "Sincerely Jane." At any rate, if you do listen to any album of hers, let me know how it is - our tastes in music are not always the same, but not always entirely disparate anyway.

Perhaps you have unintentionally caught my fate! Perhaps I have caught yours (but then, I doubt this is your fate, and that's the album I bought the most recently).