On the DL Vol.5
May 4, 2023
We made it guys, it’s the literal end of the semester and after this everyone can relax(I hope). Whether you have actual exams, just have a bunch of papers due, or a mix of both, I present to you music that can hopefully make your day better. Before we get into my actual pick for Vol.5, if you need music to write a paper to I would recommend the soundtrack of either Interstellar or Succession. They are absolutely amazing and are getting me through writing all my papers.
When I’m not studying to the Succession soundtrack, I was scouring my spotify to listen to something that I hadn’t listened to in a while and that was the album Dirty Computer by Janelle Monàe . Dirty Computer is Janelle Monae expressing their individuality as someone who is marginalized and oppressed. The album spans different genres giving the listener something new every song. Monae wrote Dirty Computer based on their own experiences as black and queer in America. Dirty Computer is not only a personal reflection on their life, it’s also a call to action to face the injustices faced by all marginalized groups in the US, coupled with embracing our emotions and humanity.
Along with the release of the album, Monàe created a 48 minute film to accompany the album that visualizes the meanings of the songs and emphasizes the embrace of humanity, but also the uprising to face injustices. The film is a great way to understand the underlying messages in the songs or to highlight the intense lyrics that are sung over upbeat music.
My favorite track on the album is “Screwed” which features Zoe Kravitz. In “Screwed”, Monàe uses upbeat and up tempo music to highlight the emotions that they were feeling at the time. The song is a perfect example of up tempo music and dark lyrics. It’s one of those songs that when you first listen to it, the tempo and the playful music take over, but then when you listen to it again, the lyrics make you do a double take.
Over the synth and guitar riffs “Screwed” focuses on the emotions that Monàe felt the morning after the 2016 election. Monàe’s lyrics “We’ll put water in your guns/“Hear the siren’s calling, the bombs all falling/we’re screwed” emphasizes the feelings of dread Monàe feels, but also the group of people they feel will spark change. This can be seen in the emotion picture with Monàe and the dancers in the background dance in the face of their potential destruction. “Screwed” focuses on the art of protest and how many times when it comes to organizing and protests, Black women are at the front lines and leading the charge for change. Simply put, the call to protest and injustice that Monàe writes about throughout the album are front and center with the idea that if people in power attempt to break democracy apart, people that are bold will be the ones to put democracy back together. Monàe does all of this on top of a beat that is reminiscent of the windows down on a sunny day.