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Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu are face-serving, wings-eating “Q.U.E.E.N.”s

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.

“Q.U.E.E.N. was inspired by private discussions between Erykah and me. It is meant to make you JAM. DANCE. FUNK OUT. and dialogue later…” So tweeted Janelle Monáe following the debut of her new single, “Q.U.E.E.N.,” off of her upcoming follow-up to 2010’s spectacular The ArchAndroid. And yes, “Erykah” is Erykah Badu, because who else would Monáe team up with for a funky, freaky, five-minute-plus song about not giving a shit and looking fierce as hell while doing so? Monáe has always had an epic, conceptual streak to her—The ArchAndroid was a concept album divided into two “suites” that continued the story from an earlier EP—which she tends to temper with a humorous, fun-loving spirit. “Q.U.E.E.N.” is a perfect marriage of those two sides of her personality: Yes, she refers to the song as an “experience” and a “chapter” of a larger book (album), but she also characterizes it first and foremost as an invitation to dance, not to dissect and decode. And really, there’s not that much to decode in “Q.U.E.E.N.,” which is a pretty straightforward diva strut that employs drag-queen lingo like “throwing shade” and “serving face,” and drops some downright hilarious taunts, the pinnacle of which might come from Badu: “They be like ‘Ooh, let them eat cake’ / But we eat wings and throw them bones on the ground.” What more could you want from a Q.U.E.E.N.?


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