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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

34 Comments

  1. Slow Learner
    June 30, 2015 @ 9:00 am

    This essay is a fascinating look at Monae's oeuvre good Doctor, and it has finally driven me to actually listen to some of her music (and after reading this it's no surprise that the music is excellent!)
    I came to your blog for Eruditorum, but I stay for writing like this*, so thank you very much and keep up the excellent work.
    *Except Last War in Albion, which I can't seem to get into for some reason, but I find the rest of your work enjoyable and mind-expanding.

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  2. Elizabeth Sandifer
    June 30, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

    I admit, I adore how divisive Last War in Albion is. Perhaps you'll have better luck when the Watchmen chapter starts. 🙂

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  3. jsd
    June 30, 2015 @ 5:22 pm

    I had The ArchAndroid album but never really paid that much attention to it beyond the surface pleasures. Your excellent article has inspired me to revisit it and the rest of JM's discography. Thanks!

    Reply

  4. Kyra Alexandria
    June 30, 2015 @ 7:57 pm

    Brilliant! I love Janelle and this in-depth analysis of yours! Thank you for sharing!!!

    Reply

  5. John Toon
    July 1, 2015 @ 12:41 am

    I think the video for "Cold War" is more interesting than the more polished videos for her other singles. At first I thought she'd fluffed the lip-synching and was trying not to laugh just after the line "I was made to believe there's something wrong with me", but it actually looks like she couldn't get past it without tearing up. It's a great artistic decision to have run with that whole raw take for the video – really adds some extra emotional punch to the defiance in the lyrics.

    Reply

    • Prankster
      July 9, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

      The thing is, the whole video seems to be a deliberate reference to Sinead O’Connor’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 you” which also features a steady, tight, head-on extreme close-up of the singer…and a part where she tears up. So if it’s a deliberate homage, that would make the tear an act…right?

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      • Naomi
        March 13, 2018 @ 3:55 pm

        After the song came out I remember reading that reason she was tearing up was because they she was frustrated with filming. They had done so many takes of the song and she kept messing up, so she started to tear up in this take. Rather than cut filming, they filmed the rest of the take and used it.

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  6. Dugz
    July 1, 2015 @ 4:51 am

    Great analysis

    Reply

  7. arcbeatle
    July 1, 2015 @ 7:37 am

    I really enjoyed this– I'm going to have to get ahold of her albums now.

    The analysis was great, but the music spoke for itself. Wow.

    Reply

  8. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 3, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

    I am not convinced that is an authentic "take" and not a deliberate performance.

    Reply

  9. John Toon
    July 5, 2015 @ 12:50 am

    I didn't like to suggest it… But even if it is deliberate, as cynical as that might be, it'd still be a brilliant artistic choice.

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  10. Daru
    August 15, 2015 @ 3:36 am

    Didn't really matter to me, as I was really blown away by that video.

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  11. Daru
    August 15, 2015 @ 3:39 am

    Haven't listened to Janelle apart from via one of your previous essays (Electric Lady on the "Beauty of Their Weapons" essay), so thanks for this (just catching up with it now after a busy couple of months!)

    “Many Moons" – amazing dancing by her on this video!

    Cold War – wow, just wow.

    Tightrope – bloody beautiful.

    Q.U.E.E.N – On the typewriter near the end: "We will create and destroy ten art movements in ten years."

    Electric Lady – Adore: “all the birds and the bees / dancing with the freaks in the trees.”

    Absolutely going to get her albums on the basis of this essay, great writing and thanks for introducing me to this music.

    Reply

  12. Prankster
    July 9, 2016 @ 8:28 pm

    Very nice!

    Given the references to “cybersouls” I interpreted it as the androids of Metropolis being literal reincarnations–perhaps the souls are literally captured and installed at the factory? This would make her references in the chanting portion of Many Moons to a poor, drug-addicted girl who apparently commits suicide and then seemingly is reborn as an android make a lot of sense…

    Reply

  13. Erica
    May 19, 2017 @ 7:16 pm

    I like the breadth and depth of the article! I just started listening to Monae and I enjoy the musical and theatrical feast!

    Reply

  14. hana
    February 19, 2018 @ 5:41 pm

    A great essay! I really enjoyed it. Now I really hope that you expand it when Janelle releases her new album Dirty Computer!

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  16. Tom
    May 28, 2019 @ 6:44 pm

    ““Come Alive (War of the Roses),” is a full-throated embrace of strangeness and madness (and indeed, one of the few Monáe numbers that one could mount a decent social justice critique of)”

    Could you expand more on what this critique would consist of? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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