At last weekend’s Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil R&B sensation Janelle Monáe and her band launched through the Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back,” honoring the late Michael Jackson. While Monae usually sticks to her funky, sci-fi influenced prog-pop style, she also unarguably possesses one of the most impressive voices in pop today, giving her the freedom to cover some of the most challenging and beloved songs in the rock songbook.
Hypothesis: Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” is one of those songs you simply can’t not dance to, no matter your personal taste in music. Although not completely new to the scene as individual musicians, recently formed collective Eagle and the Worm prove the aforementioned hypothesis with their upbeat take on Monae’s horn-infused jam.
If you’ve ever attended a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you ever plan on attending a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you have no interest in music festivals whatsoever, you need to wise up…and then you need to know Consequence of Sound. In addition to the site’s regular music news and features, their Festival Outlook has established itself as the premiere source for festival info. From lineup info (which they always seem to know before anyone else) to reviews, their coverage spans ‘em all, from the big boys (Bonnaroo, Coachella) to the underdogs (Ghoulsfest?).
Suffice to say: These guys know their festivals. So as fest season winds down, we checked in with some CoS writers (of whom – full disclosure – I am one) to hear the best festival covers they’ve ever witnessed. Here’s what they offered. Each has a review and a video so you can vicariously experience the insanity.
After you finish here, hop over to CoS’ Friday Mixtape! The covers were chosen by yours truly.
If you’re going to cover a song that’s been performed by Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Diana Ross, and Judy Garland, you better be pretty confident of your vocal prowess. Janelle Monáe has the pipes to back up the swagger and her run through Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” from his classic Modern Times, redefines soaring.
Universal acclaim greeted Monáe’s new album The ArchAndroid when it dropped last month. It melds genres seamlessly, transitioning from funk to electro to pop without you even noticing. It’s one of the best albums of the year so far and her fiery performance on David Letterman proves she’s a talent who’ll stick around.