Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady

Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady is a musical otherworldly experience. This audio space odyssey, crafted by the ArchAndroid and her Wondaland Arts Society, actually does pay homage to Jimi Hendrix in some ways, as the title suggests. But there are also hints of ’60s soul, and even disco and funk. Fans are already familiar with “Q.U.E.E.N.,” her funky ode to rebellion featuring Erykah Badu, and the slow and sexy “Primetime,” featuring Miguel. [SONIC BOOM] The Week’s Hottest Music

What makes this album so good is the musical versatility displayed—from the “Suite V Electric Overture” that almost makes you think of Isaac Hayes’s brilliant Shaft soundtrack, to Monáe’s operatic-style singing on “Look Into My Eyes,” to the easy breezy nature of “Dorothy Dandrige Eyes” (with Esperanza Spalding). Much of the album plays like the soundtrack to an equally hypnotic film about a beautiful heroine who pulls no punches and makes no excuses about living life on her own terms. The Electric Lady is a must in any music aficionado’s collection.

Available at iTunes.

The Weeknd, Kiss Land

The once mysterious musical lothario isn’t as shy lately, just in time for his first traditional major label debut. Kiss Land draws heavily from ’90s R&B, trip-hop and Prince, like his previous work. Also like his previous work, it’s dark, brooding and revolves around drugs and women. This time around, he seems to focus more on the depravity the aforementioned causes him as an artist constantly on the road. This effort from the Canadian singer/songwriter is just okay, but be warned: sonically, the songs start to run into each other after a while (which can get boring).

Available at iTunes.

Tamar Braxton, Love and War

The baby of the Braxton clan is loud, rude and obnoxious, but also very talented, which is why she’s forgiven. Braxton Family Values and Tamar & Vince viewers have witnessed her meltdowns of epic diva proportions, and they almost always involve frustration about her then lack of a singing career and the desire to be as big as Beyoncé. The latter might still be a stretch, but Tamar really came through with Love and War.

The album is good, but it’s comprised mostly of pop friendly hits along the lines of her current singles, “The One” and “Hot Sugar.” Tamar’s pop sound is technically not a bad thing however. A woman with Tamar’s extraordinary vocal ability should embrace becoming a balladeer, so it would have been nice to hear more songs along the lines of “Love and War” and her contemporary gospel tune, “Thank You Lord.” Again, Love and War is a good album, and it’ll keep you up on a road trip. But Tamar, saaaang a little bit more the next time around.

Available at iTunes.

Gyptian, “One More Night” (Video)

Gyptian cupcakes with 2013 Miss Global Jamaica Roshelle McKinley in the romantic new video for “One More Night.” The video, which premiered first on Jamaica television’s ER Entertainment Report, was directed by ASHA and shot in Kingston. It’s a part of a series of music videos that have been released from Gyptian’s forthcoming Sex, Love and Reggae (due October 29). The romantic true-school tune finds Gyptian far away from his boo, so he does what all lovers/rock crooners do best: sing about missing her and yearning for one more night. The visuals are the perfect match to the music as the lovers trade sweet nothings back and forth over the phone in their respective parts of the world.

Watch here.

Starrene Rhett Rocque is a pop culture junky who often fantasizes about becoming a shotgun toting B-movie heroine, and aspires to save the world from the impending #ZombieApocolypse… In reality she’s a freelance entertainment journalist/blogger who muses about music, TV, movies and love. Follow her on Twitter@GangStarrGirl.