JANELLE MONAE & ABBEY LINCOLN / “Entrances and Exits Mixtape”
Last week I received an album that wasn’t released. The Audition would have been Janelle’s debut. And yesterday I received the news that Abbey Lincoln had died at 80 years old. Hence the title of this Mixtape. If I have not recently written about Janelle (here), and had not written extensively in the past about Abbey Lincoln (here, here, and here), I would be going deeper into their background stories. Janelle's The Audition album will probably never be released, or at least not officially and not for a long time. The Audition is Janelle pre-android transformation. Call it her Dorothy album—she’s a dreamer from Kansas. You can hear the etymology of everything Janelle morphed into, see where it was coming from, and see too, what she jettisoned in her journey to the outer realms. The Audition had a lot of romantic angst, boy dumps girl, girl anxieties about lost love, etc. A lot. But it also has the blithely delivered lines about not loving, not being hurt again. The Audition also specifically mentions God and praying. Do androids believe in a deity? If they do, you’d never know it from listening to Janelle’s two commercial releases. I never thought I would be writing this but Diddy finally did something significant with his money by signing Monae to his label and underwriting her sophomore release. Prequels always, always give great insights into where the artist was coming from and trying to head to. The Audition is a full blown prequel—strong enough to be an album on its own but not bright enough to eclipse what came after it. I might be among the few who are interested in The Audition. But then again, maybe, I'm not alone. What do you think?
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