And I really want to thank you for dancin’ til the end….

Not that this is the end of this blog, and likely not my last post here of 2013.

For reasons that should be brutally obvious to anyone who doesn’t believe (erroneously, mind) that Soul and R&B stopped being relevant to Mod after 1968, I just love Janelle Monaé and just as much as her music, I’m just fascinated by this retro-futurist ArchAndroid concept / mythology that she’s created with her first EP and two subsequent LPs, the most recent being The Electric Lady. In interviews, she’s said as much as the “android” in this series of (currently five) Suites, being a metaphor for the disenfranchised –people of colour, queers, women, the underclasses, and so on…. And to get the full experience of this, you really need to listen to her music, in its entirety, beginning to end, and watch the videos on YouTube, or as Monae says, you’re only cheating yourself.

  • Paloma

    I love Janelle Monáe and I just about squealed when I saw the cute Mod backup dancers in the QUEEN, but (ignorantly) I never connected her musically with Mod before- probably because the “Mod” music I listen to is predominantly British power pop. I’m seriously loving this article, and I want to ask- are there any Janelle Monáe tracks that you would consider more Mod than others? Clearly from the title of the article, “Dance Apocalyptic”, but anything else?

    • Ruadhán J McElroy

      You know, I really don’t rate my music on a scale of potential Mod (or punk, or glam, etc…) appeal, so I don’t really know how to answer that question. Plus, seriously, depending on who you ask at certain fora, either The Jam is a punk band in suits or one of the most Mod bands that ever existed. Tastes are so varied, and people are so opinionated about them, I’m finding myself getting more in the camp of Dave at ModCulture, who seems to be of recent opinion that “mod band/music’ doesn’t actually exist, just music that appeals to Mods, and I’d also add the second group of “bands composed of people who consider themselves and/or are active in the Mod subculture”. (As an aside, the ModCulture blog is where I first got exposed to the music of Santigold.) That said, you really can’t deny that Mona&eacute’s visual image is like one part Grace Jones and two parts Two Tone. :-)

      If I were to DJ a Mod night again, I’d probably be most-able to get away with “Tightrope” and “Dance Apocalyptic”. Going by what I usually spin, I basically anticipate fewest complaints from those two –there’s always going to be someone who complains about anything played, and I tend to be the DJ on any given night I’ve DJ’d at who deviates from the default list of Soul, Ska, Power Pop, girl groups/ye-ye, and British R&B standards, going for dancable Britpop, punk & New Wave with a more “retro 60s” sound [B-52s, Soft Cell’s cover of “What?”, etc…], Shibuya-kei, Dreampop, funk, glam, anything off the Compact Organisation label, and some of the more contemporary stuff –I do tend to include a lot of British R&B and power Pop, but I just seem to play more “adventerous” sets than most of the other DJs at Mod nights I’ve heard, which also means whoever’s running that night tends to relay more mixed responses from the audience back to me. Probably “Cold War” and “Many Moons” would be next in line.