Imagining Her Own Future
by Geoffrey Himes
Cindi Mayweather is the central character in Janelle Monáe’s last three recordings: the 2008 EP Metropolis, the 2010 album The ArchAndroid, and this month’s album, The Electric Lady. The songs on all three collections are set in the year 2719 in the city state of Metropolis. But Cindi doesn’t live in the cylindrical gold skyscrapers of the downtown area where the politicians and businessmen live; she lives in Slop City where the androids are ghettoized. The buildings there are older, from the mid-27th century when carbo-plastico facades were all the rage, and are now run-down with sooty streaks on the pitted...