I haven’t spent a lot of time with Janelle Monáe yet, but she’s impressive; able to enjoy popularity despite an uncompromising approach. While there are clear antecedents to her use of science fiction concepts in the R&B genre, with Parliament in the 1970s, her psychedelic soul feels fresh and innovative.
‘Locked Inside’ is taken from her debut The ArchAndroid, which continues the story arc started on her debut EP. They tell the story of a Messianic Android, Monáe’s alter-ego Cindi Mayweather, inspired by the 1927 silent film Metropolis.
‘Locked Inside’ is one of the less adventurous songs on The ArchAndroid, a straightforward R&B groove that’s beautifully melodic, and there’s a healthy dollop of 1970s Stevie Wonder in the grooves.
With her ability to sell albums while following an outlandish artistic vision, Monáe’s a fascinating figure – I’m certainly interested in what she does next.